Running a successful medical practice relies not only on acquiring new patients but also on retaining and reactivating patients that already exist. According to a Forbes article, statistics show that acquiring a new customer is five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. However, many medical practices struggle with effective patient reactivation, resulting in missed opportunities and a decline in patient engagement.
Let’s discuss in depth the three key reasons why your patient reactivation process may be broken:
1) You can’t easily identify patients based on their medical needs
When retaining and reactivating patients, how do you identify which patients need outreach, their care needs, and when is the right time to message them? Some practices still use a laborious manual front desk workflow and run reports from their practice management system to designate who is due for follow-up appointments, preventive screenings, or other care. Staff members then need to call each patient to remind them to book an appointment. If the patient can’t be reached, then more phone calls need to be made. Relying on this inefficient, time-consuming front desk workflow or sending postcards by mail to communicate with your patients about appointments is both hard to scale and also subject to human error. It also increases the likelihood of missing out on reaching a substantial portion of your patient base.
Implementing patient communication technology can help improve an ineffective patient reactivation process. Technology such as Vital Interaction’s Smart List Engine can constantly scan your patient database using specific criteria like appointment, clinical, and billing data. It can then generate automated, customizable campaigns for targeted patient outreach, recall, and reactivation. Instead of phone calls and postcards, patients receive automated recall and reactivation messaging in their preferred communication channel, increasing the likelihood of a response. Another benefit of this improved front desk workflow is that staff members can save time during their workday and focus on more important tasks such as patient care.
2) Impersonal messaging results in unengaged patients
Another reason why patient reactivation efforts often fail is a medical practice lacks proactive personalized patient engagement initiatives. Many practices only reach out and send reminder messages to patients when it’s time for a routine check-up or follow-up appointment. This passive approach can lead to patients slipping through the cracks, forgetting to schedule necessary visits, and eventually seeking care elsewhere. Patients who don’t feel that their doctor cares enough to consistently communicate with them also are more likely to find another provider.
A lack of personalization can also contribute to a broken patient reactivation process. A study on the impact of personalized communication shows this type of outreach helps to lower no-show rates since patients are more likely to remember their appointments if they receive personalized messages using their name and addressing their specific needs.
In today’s digital age, patients expect convenient communication options from their providers just like they experience in their daily lives. According to a Journal of Medical Internet Research study, patients who received messaging through multiple communication channels, such as email, text messages, and phone calls, were more likely to attend their appointments than those who received messages through a single channel. The study found that “Regular care and informational support are helpful in improving disease-related health outcomes. Communication technologies can help in providing such care and support.”
To improve your patient reactivation process, adopt a multichannel, personalized patient communication strategy that includes email, text messaging, and phone calls. By diversifying your communication channels, you can reach patients through their preferred methods and increase the likelihood of a response. Implementing proactive outreach programs such as automated messaging and personalized patient engagement communication can result in higher patient reactivation rates and more patient satisfaction.
3) Your practice doesn’t prioritize patient reactivation
Many practices prioritize patient acquisition over patent retention yet research by Bain & Company shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% also increases profits by 25% to 95%. If your staff is not adequately trained to handle patient reactivation efforts, patients may fall through the cracks, resulting in poor patient outcomes and lost revenue. Prioritizing patient reactivation as a key business practice along with staff buy-in play a crucial role in improving patient reactivation rates.
Train your staff on best practices for patient engagement, communication, and educate them to prioritize proactive patient follow-up initiatives. Implement patient communication technology with built-in patient recall and reactivation functionalities to streamline the process and ensure accurate patient data. This will also ensure that your staff can efficiently follow up with patients and still have time to do their other tasks especially if you have a small practice or limited staff resources. After administrating this new front desk workflow, don’t forget to track your patient reactivation efforts so you can see what’s working and what’s not. This will also help you to make necessary adjustments to your process.
Retaining and reactivating patients is essential for any medical practice in order to thrive. By embracing multichannel communication, utilizing proactive, personalized patient engagement strategies, and investing in patient communication technology, you can improve your patient reactivation rates. These strategies have been proven by various studies and research articles to be effective in increasing patient engagement, appointment attendance, and overall patient satisfaction.
Patient reactivation is an ongoing effort that requires staff commitment, continuous monitoring, evaluation, and improvement. Regularly assess your patient reactivation process, analyze patient engagement metrics, and identify areas for enhancement. By adopting a patient-centric approach and leveraging technology, you can boost your patient reactivation rates, leading to practice growth and improved patient outcomes.