In the current business world, adding value is the core of any professional relationship. If you are not enriching your patient relationships, one of your competitors will find a way. In our recent patient-provider relationship study, we found that patients are acting more like traditional consumers and choosing where to invest their healthcare dollars based on quality, cost, and convenience. Communicating with patients in ways that best fit their needs, preferences, and lifestyles is critical to developing strong patient-provider relationships.
As patients seek for better relationships with their providers, practices must expand their communication methods to engage and nurture patients not only during office visits, but outside the practice. Here are five easy ways to engage and nurture patient relationships between office visits.
1. Build your tribe on social media
Patients want to connect. The line between our online and offline lives has begun to blur. Connecting with your healthcare provider is no longer inconceivable, so put yourself in your patient’s shoes for a moment. What value are they getting from connecting with you online? Adding value to their news feed could be as simple as sharing a quick tip or highlighting a patient. Social media can be overwhelming, so start with your patients in mind and check out these ten types of content to share with your patients.
2. Utilize targeted group messages
How many of us have received an email that is completely irrelevant to our current needs? Relevant content sent at the right time can spur patients to action and better health. Making sure the right patient gets the right message is an effortless way to add value to your patient relationships. There is no shortage of messages you could send to patients, but we should all take Benjamin Franklin’s advice to “either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” As you add value by sending the right patients the right message, you will continue to build trust and credibility with your patients.
3. Create educational newsletter tracks
Drip campaigns are typically used to acquire new patients, however, they have special significance in educating current patients. We commonly find that patients don’t remember 80 to 90 percent of the information given to them while in the office. This is detrimental to patient retention and ultimately your patient’s health. The key is to provide resources they can access whenever it’s convenient. Think of a few common procedures or groups of patients that would easily benefit from some follow-up information and create a newsletter track. Read these five ways to improve patient education in you practice to get started.
4. Gather feedback through direct surveys
Surveys have two integral purposes—to gather feedback about specific patient experiences and to help patients understand what they don’t know. The former is rather straightforward, however, the latter might take some explanation. Direct surveys help culture dialogue by allowing patients to interact with you and your content on their own time. Direct surveys can be helpful in determining services or products patients are interested in, educational information they’d like to receive, or general feelings about the practice. These surveys can even be useful in increasing patient engagement by asking fun questions too. You can learn more about increasing patient satisfaction through surveys in this article.
5. Delight patients with birthday messages
When we look at patient retention, it doesn’t require a grandiose act to keep a patient coming back to the office. All it takes is remembering the little things. Automated birthday reminders are one of the little things that make all the difference. A simple text or email wishing your patients a happy birthday may not seem like much, but to many patients, it will make all the difference.
As you continue to delight patients in and out of the office, remember to walk in their shoes and take an honest look at how you are adding value to the patient relationship online and in the office.
For more ways to increase patient satisfaction, check out our guide, ‘Discover the Secret Sauce of Patient Satisfaction’ here.