Build Relationships with Your Patients through Automated Texts and Emails

Building patient relationships through texts and emails sounds like an oxymoron if you’re a baby boomer, but to a Millennial or Gen Zer communicating using these technologies is a no-brainer. They grew up with technology, and they have discovered its advantages.  Consider that texts are convenient and phone calls are disruptive. When the phone rings, the caller expects you to answer immediately, and you are suddenly on the spot. If the caller is a salesperson, you have to decide whether to listen to the pitch and then decide to if you will take the next step. If a friend calls, you have to interrupt your shopping or TV show to engage in a conversation. With texts, you enjoy the immediacy of the message, but you don’t have to respond immediately. You can think about your response and wait for a convenient time to text back.  Thanks to the conveniences of texting and emails, most baby boomers have also bought into these technological means of [...]

2022-08-30T18:18:19+00:00August 29th, 2022|

Communicate the Way Your Patients Prefer and Will Respond

Your practice has likely automated its patient communications, taking advantage of texting and emails, because these are usually effective and are much cheaper in staff time and postage than mailing post cards and making phone calls. These methods are popular, especially with Millennials and Generation Zers, 75 percent of whom prefer texting almost exclusively. But have you considered whether all your patients’ prefer these methods of communication, and, more importantly, are they the most effective?  Understand Preferences Versus Effectiveness More than 95 percent of U.S. adults own a cell phone, and 64 percent of those are smart phones. ((https://www.physicianspractice.com/view/texting-patients-is-now-an-expectation)) Most of these people have become dependent on their phones for nearly all communications, including talking, texting and emailing. They have especially become accustomed to texting and, in fact, respond to texts twice as often as they do to phone calls. One of the advantages of texts is that people don’t have to interrupt whatever they are doing and respond immediately, but they do read [...]

2022-08-22T19:56:05+00:00August 18th, 2022|

Build Your Patient Relationships on Trust

The most important relationship in your practice is between the doctor and the patient. And the foundation of that patient relationship is trust. The patient must trust their doctor to diagnose their conditions and provide the best possible care. The doctor must trust that the patient provides honest and complete explanations and is open to the doctor’s recommendations. Without trust, patients will change doctors.  Interpersonal trust is a belief that both people in the relationship will act in both party’s common interests. Trust is an emotion, where patients are comforted by their doctor’s caring attitude and thus willingly depend on the care giver’s intentions. ((https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311259557_The_Role_of_Trust_in_Doctor-Patient_Relationship_Qualitative_Evaluation_of_Online_Feedback_from_Polish_Patients)) Patients’ trust in doctors is confidence that the doctor will act in their best interest. Trust includes communication, compassion, privacy and confidentiality, reliability, and competence. ((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495476/)) According to research from George Washington University, patients say they trust doctors who listen to them, are compassionate, and who patiently explain everything the patient wants to know. ((https://www.dignityhealth.org/articles/how-to-build-patient-trust-to-improve-the-doctor-patient-relationship)) Listen and Demonstrate Empathy [...]

2022-08-22T19:47:18+00:00August 2nd, 2022|

Four Ways You Can Make Your Patients More Comfortable

Many people—up to 25 percent—avoid medical care because they are uncomfortable visiting their healthcare provider. They might be anxious about their physical pain, they don’t fully trust that their caregiver is committed or capable of dealing with their condition, or the medical odors and stark surroundings distress them.  Ensuring you provide comfort to patients is important for two reasons. First, to convince patients to visit your office for important healthcare, they need to feel comfortable. Second, patient comfort is essential to the healing process. When patients are anxious, their cortisol increases, and they recover more slowly. One study showed that patients with moderate stress experienced 17 percent more postoperative complications and a readmission rate that was 20 percent higher. Another study showed that patients who considered themselves to be in excellent health also rated their medical care very high. ((https://etactics.com/blog/importance-of-patient-comfort)) Consider that patients need to feel comfortable in three areas. Your office atmosphere, including the décor and your staff’s attitude, contribute to comfortable surroundings. [...]

2022-08-22T19:49:39+00:00July 22nd, 2022|

Answer Your Phones to Keep Patients Coming Back

Your phone is the lifeline between your patients and your practice. Despite the move to automated systems such as texting and email for scheduling appointments and sending reminders, the telephone is the tool of choice when a patient contacts your office for the first time, and it is the primary means of getting answers to insurance, billing and other inquiries, where the patient has a specific question and wants an immediate answer.  Answering the phone is also one of the most disruptive activities in the office. How you manage your phones is thus a two-edged sword. How successful your office etiquette is can make or break the efficiency and effectiveness of your office with patients. Use the tips below to build an optimal plan for handling your phones.  Test Your Current System Start by evaluating your current phone system. Put yourself in your patients’ shoes and call your office as the patient might. Call before hours, call after hours, call at peak times, ask [...]

2022-08-22T19:42:05+00:00July 7th, 2022|

The 4 Ways Technology Is Helping With Patient Retention

Acquiring new patients requires spending $26 to $125 in marketing to generate one lead. You then need to invest time and staff energy into turning that lead into a scheduled patient. Then , while you are investing to bring patients in the front door, you are losing many of those same patients through attrition. You could be retaining many of those patients for five to 25 times less cost than you are spending to find the new ones. Retaining patients is easier than you might think. Your patients’ experience in your office as they interact with office staff and caregivers is the most important factor in patient retention. Next is communication, and it is here that you have a number of technology tools to boost your patient interactions and increase retention. Employ Email Marketing Send a newsletter and promotional emails to your patients to stay in touch between visits. Use these communications to inform patients about upcoming specials, events or changes in your [...]

2022-09-15T16:01:05+00:00June 15th, 2022|

4 Ways To Ease Patient’s Back Into In-Person Visits

Telemedicine became essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it continues to play an important role in some doctor-patient interactions. However, many patients are returning to in-person visits for a number of reasons. Many are more comfortable meeting with their caregiver in person, some insurers are reconsidering how they cover telemedicine visits, and states that relaxed their interstate licensing rules during the pandemic are reinstating those rules, which means doctors cannot see patients who live just over a state border unless the doctor is licensed in the state where the patient lives. ((https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/what-happens-telemedicine-after-covid-19)) Easing patients back into your practice takes some thought and effort. Although healthcare workers have always practiced proper hygiene, patients are now hypersensitive to germs in the office and need assurances that they are safe. Other issues such as office hours were disrupted by the pandemic, and patients need to be aware how to negotiate your current practices. 1. Stay Open, Stay Clean, and Keep Your Staff Informed The Centers for Disease [...]

2022-09-15T15:52:03+00:00June 12th, 2022|

4 Tips for Decreasing No-shows at Your Practice

No-shows are the bane of every medical practice. On average, 23 percent of appointments end up as no-shows. Each one costs practices between $150 and $500 and often requires more extensive or emergency care in the future. The good news is that you can employ four techniques to reduce your no-shows. Before you start making plans, though, understand the risk factors for no-shows. The highest-risk patients are unmarried, recently widowed or divorced; are younger than 35; are on Medicaid or have no insurance; have chronic conditions; or live more than 60 miles from your practice. Keep these demographics in mind as you undertake your no-show reduction measures. The other important factors to consider are why these demographics become no-shows. Forgetfulness is the number one reason. Schedule conflicts, costs and fear are close behind, with a variety of issues from language barriers to lack of transportation also being reasons. Notice that neglect and irresponsibility are not on the list. That means you can take [...]

2022-09-15T15:56:22+00:00June 10th, 2022|

Four Reasons You Lose Patients. You Can Avoid These Missteps.

The average practice has 1,000 to 2,000 inactive patients per provider who need care but haven’t responded to recalls, and the office has stopped reaching out to them. This group comprises a range of patients, from individuals who require only routine exams to those with more serious conditions. Understanding why patients go inactive is important to knowing how to bring them back for the care they need and to avoid the liability your practice could incur.  One: Patients Ignore Recalls The biggest reason patients go missing is because they ignore their recall notices. Tracking recall response rates is difficult, thus most practices don’t know the percentage of their patients who respond. A recent study found that the typical conversion rate for a single round of recalls was 25 to 40 percent.((Gerlach B, Muhlestein T. Recalls, revisited. Administrative Eyecare. 2006;19-23.)) This means that more than half of your patients likely don’t respond to their recall notice. Two: Offices Give Up Too Easily In a separate [...]

2022-06-08T14:44:34+00:00June 6th, 2022|

Three Ways to Combat Inflation in Your Medical Practice

Your practice is not immune to the effects of inflation. McKinsey expects profit margins for providers to shrink by as much as 2.8 percent due to increasing labor and supply costs while adjustments to reimbursements will lag by up to three years.[i] You are probably already feeling some of the effects, especially as COVID-related burnout is pushing health care workers to leave the workforce through retirement or career changes. This is pushing your costs to retain or replace workers up dramatically, while your reimbursements are stagnant. You don’t’ have control over the workforce, but you can steel your practice financially to deal with your rising costs without sacrificing your profit margins or the care you provide. Understand Your Practice Finances Intimately When the economy is humming along, your calendar is full and reimbursements are flowing in, you might not be too concerned about some of the intricacies of your finances. But if this scenario ever described your practice, the day has come to [...]

2022-09-15T15:41:42+00:00June 5th, 2022|
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