1. Treat the person, not the problem
No patient wants to feel like just another number in your database. While your main goal is to help your patients recover from their injury, their goal is to get back to doing what they love. Actively listen to what they’re telling you, and take notes about the conversations you have so you can follow up on the things that matter to them personally.
39% of customers admit that they won't spend money on a business that doesn't provide a personalized experience (Source: Hubspot).
Also, share stories about yourself so they can get to know you better. This goes a long way in developing the trust that’s critical in any successful relationship and makes it far more likely they will want to see you again.
Tip: Come prepared for the conversation by making a list of ice-breaking questions, trending topics, and conversation starters that will help patients open up.
2. Set clear goals, milestones, and expectations (i.e. a treatment plan!)
Recovery is rarely a linear journey. Setting clear expectations is paramount in building a successful patient-therapist relationship. A treatment plan not only outlines a realistic timeline for recovery but also breaks down ambitious goals into manageable steps. These milestones provide patients with a sense of progress and enable practitioners to adapt the plan as needed. With aligned expectations and informed patients, the journey to recovery becomes a collaborative and empowering experience for everyone involved.
3. Schedule the patient’s next appointment before they leave
Patients who rebook on the day of their appointment make an average of 30% to 50% more visits per year than patients who don’t (Source: Yocale).
Consider booking the patient's next treatment yourself or taking the extra minute to walk patients to the front of the clinic to book their next appointment with your office staff. You can even suggest the patient come in at the same time every week or month to help build a routine. With the right scheduling software, you can then have your admin staff set up recurring appointments in advance which cuts down administrative work and helps boost your rebooking rate.
4. Don’t be afraid to text them
It’s been a week since your patient's last appointment and still no follow-up appointment has been booked—it’s time to reach out personally. It can be as simple as a quick text with an open-ended question like ‘How are you doing, John?’. A personal message helps open up dialogue to better understand what may be holding your patient back from rebooking. As their practitioner, you know their case best and can respond thoughtfully to any questions or concerns they raise.
Why should you send a text? Texts are less invasive than a phone call, more direct than an email, and have an exceptionally high response rate with 90% being opened and read within 3 minutes! Plus, depending on your clinic software, texts can be sent directly from your EMR. Juvonno’s Practitioner Dashboard, for example, allows practitioners to send a text right from their app so correspondence is tracked, organized, and easy to send.
5. Maximize your time with automated messaging
Incorporating automated follow-up emails and texts saves you time and ensures you’re consistently reaching out at critical points in the patient's journey. This helps you learn where in the patient experience your patients are most often dropping off so that you can implement new processes to prevent it.
Your automated emails should provide a clear reason for reaching out, and ideally, speak to the patient’s specific needs (think blogs, videos, promotions etc.) and of course a link to your online booking page. With an EMR-integrated tool like JComm, your personalized messages will send instantly once patients meet the parameters you’ve set. For example, parameters could be to send your message to patients whose last visit was more than 30 days ago and who do not have a future visit booked. This type of highly targeted messaging is proven to have far higher engagement. In fact, 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging, according to Smarter HQ.
Consider creating a drop-off communication plan that outlines the series of highly targeted messages you will send at each stage of the patient experience. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this 3-Stage Communication Plan for Reducing Patient Patient Drop-offs
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Authors: Patty Romeo and Derek Siddron from Juvonno