Increased Competition in Healthcare means establishing better patient relationships
In our last post we took a look at how increased competition in the healthcare market has the potential to lower the cost of care in a variety of ways (Read the full post here). In this post, we’ll continue on that thread, discussing how this same situation can have another potential positive impact, better quality relationships between patients and healthcare providers.
Increase competition stems directly from an increase in the amount of options patients have when choosing their healthcare provider. Whether you, as a private practice, or a hospital managed practice, are interested in maintaining your current patients, or attracting new, you need to be able to offer these patients value. Essentially, you need to offer them something that they are not currently getting from the other potential providers. We’ve already looked at ways to offer them a decrease in cost, but now let’s talk about how you can offer them an increase in their satisfaction and trust through a better relationship.
You currently have a relationship with your existing patients, and the chances are, that this is a positive one. But now that your patients may have additional options, which they might consider for a number of different reasons, this is a great time to examine that relationship and find ways to potentially improve it.
Why is your relationship with your patients so important?
Patients seek healthcare providers for advice about their health and wellness, as well as the health and wellness of their loved ones. These are often areas they know little about, and they want to feel that they can trust the people from whom they are seeking this advice. If a patient perceives that you are not approachable, that you are focused on treating a number of patients rather than them individually, or a number of other perceptions, they are likely to switch and seek another healthcare provider.
Questions to help take the pulse of your patient relationships:
- Do you currently call, text or email your patients when it’s time for an annual checkup?
- Do you note down important interests, jobs or other notations about your patients, and take the time to ask about them when you see them?
- Do you/does your staff make a follow up call after a visit to check in with your patient?
- Are there multiple ways for your patients to reach you or your staff when they have questions about whether to come in for a visit?
- Through a website
- Through social media
- Through a text service
- Through a direct line to your staff
- Is your front office staff trained to greet and warmly welcome each patient that walks through your doors?
- Is your front office staff trained to expertly and confidently answer questions about health insurance, billing, and technical questions?
- Does your reception/waiting area feel warm, comfortable and inviting?
These are all important ways to inspire confidence and familiarity with your patients and improve the relationship that they have with you. Being accessible, informative, and friendly go a long way toward making a current patient stay with you, and more importantly recommend your practice to other people in their lives. And a referral, is worth its figurative weight in gold.
Main Street Medical Consulting provides our customers with MicroMD, and additional products that together create a powerful suite of tools to help health care providers manage their practices effectively and improve their revenue cycle management. A part of that suite of tools is AutoRemind, a powerful text based reminder service that integrates with MicroMD and number of other Electronic Medical Records that enables doctors to stay in touch with their clients through automated text messages. From appointment reminders, late notifications and missed appointment notifications to birthday wishes, surveys and reviews, this service is completely customizable and easy to use.
Call us today to talk through MicroMD and AutoRemind, and how together we can help you start improving the relationships that you have with your individual patients, helping to retain them as the healthcare landscape grows more competitive.