In addition to dealing with MACRA Regulations, hospitals also have to deal with the issue of patient retention. Like every business, hospitals prefer to maintain a good number of people using their services and these patients returning for continued treatment if needed. But also like every other business, hospitals sometimes loose patients to other healthcare organization. A way to increase patient retention is to understand why patients leave in the first place.
Understanding Why Patients Leave
Inconvenience: Inconvenience is one of the reasons why patients switch medical practitioners. Some of these inconveniences have to do with personal issues on the patient’s side due to personal reasons but a lot of times it has to do with the healthcare organization and how they make thing difficult for patients. Some healthcare organizations only take appointments by a phone call and this becomes an inconvenience for patients who don’t like to call or patients who are too busy to call. Some healthcare organizations also have stringent cancelation or rescheduling policies that are a turn-off to patients. Inconveniences can kill a patients loyalty and cause them to seek more convenient options. One way to solve this is to have online scheduling with an easy human interface that patients can use and navigate freely. That way, patients can make appointments online and reschedule or cancel when the need arises.
Long Wait Times
When the waiting room of a hospital is always crowded or the wait time is always long, then patients might start to seek other options and other healthcare organizations. Also if the administrative staff is not properly trained and they do not know how to attend to patients or manage a waiting room properly, patients will start to get fed up and irritated and stop going to that healthcare facility. A lot of these are common customer service rules that can be followed. However, with healthcare organizations, they are dealing with a more delicate customer base. Delicate because patients are usually in pain, distressed, or need emergency attention.
When a healthcare organization does not communicate properly and regularly with their patients, then the patients might forget about them or be lured to new healthcare organizations. Healthcare organizations should contact their patients regularly (but not too regularly that they pester the patients) and remind them to come in for checkups, take flu shots, and any other important information and reminders. With this, they start to build a good relationship with their patients due to regular communication and a developed relationship. organizations could also send birthday wishes to patients, Christmas messages and other festive seasons. This also leads to patients feeling heard and seen and this is an important feeling for something as delicate as healthcare.
Sometimes there is only so much a healthcare organization can do to keep their patients. But if the patients have an offer to receive better care somewhere else or cheaper care (if finance is a huge concern for them) then the patient would leave to take advantage of these better offers. If a place has negative reviews or of patient shave bad experiences with them, eventually word will spread and patients will avoid that practice. If doctors or nurses have bad bedside manner, overcharge patients, or have terrible customer service, patients will soon be fed up and switch to other options.
It doesn’t matter if such healthcare organizations the MACRA Regulations, the patients will not care and would steal switch to other places. With the increased use of technology and social media, bad news flies even faster. Patients look up reviews and online doctor profiles before they decide to visit. If there are positive reviews, then they will have more patients visit them and if there are negative reviews and complaints then patients will stay away. A way to get ahead of this is to ask for feedback from patients and ask them about their experience and if they have any complaints. That way, patients can complain about what went wrong and the healthcare organization can work towards improving those areas that need improvement.
Sometimes, a patient has to switch doctors for personal reasons. If the patient moves to a different city or a further location they would need to switch doctors. Also if a patient decides to switch for other reasons they do not want to share, there is not much a healthcare organization could do to change their mind. They could ask patients for feedback but sometimes patients prefer not to give feedback or have any further conversations with the healthcare organization when they decide to move on. In cases like this, it is best the healthcare organization respects the patients’ wishes and leave them in peace and do not disturb their privacy. Continued persistence for feedback might come across as irritating to the patients and cause them to give a negative feedback or it might leave them in bad faith with the healthcare organization.