Essential steps to getting and keeping happy patients

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Just read a few reviews online or ask your friends…it’s clear that perceptions on the patient experience are both wide and varied. One person swears you’re the best in the field. Another can’t WAIT to find another practice…and to tell everyone about it.

The truth is, not every patient will stick with you for the long haul. But there are key missteps that you can avoid to increase your patient-retention rates.

Here are easy steps to help keep your patients smiling…and coming back:

First impressions: Leveraging your online presence

How — and how often — you’re visible on the internet matters now more than ever. While people do still choose certain services because they’re conveniently located near their home or workplace, many searches for a medical professional begin online.

In fact, according to about 80% of Americans used the internet to conduct a healthcare-related search in 2018. Due to the pandemic and people’s growing familiarity with using the web, that percentage has now climbed to 90%.

For many patients, your website will be their first impression of you. As such, it’s important that your site is clear, compelling and easy for them to navigate. Establishing trust at this phase makes patients feel more engaged with you before they even reach your actual front door. 

Getting and using patient feedback 

Patient feedback is critical in building rapport, particularly with new patients. Make short customer feedback forms and surveys highly visible as part of the patient experience. Include them as part of your post-visit automatic communications, thanking them for their visit, reminding them of their next appointment, and asking for their quick input via a link to the survey tool. This makes it easier for them, and better for us to review and, whenever possible, act on any suggestions…both from them and across our patient population. 

Since very few practices or clinics are open 24/7, by using intakeQ’s online scheduling, patients can schedule at their convenience. This means that if they have five minutes between meetings or they realize Sunday night how much they need an appointment to deal with the bronchitis that presented itself over the weekend, they can make the appointment right then, and you don’t have to bank on them remembering to call later. 

Focus on great communication

Communication is key to any healthy relationship. In your case, you want your patient’s journey to be seamless and positive from intake to appointment and beyond. This saves patients and staff alike precious time, so you can focus on providing high-quality, prompt, efficient care. 

Most patients lead busy lives filled with many distractions every day. Meetings, phone calls, precious time with family and friends…everything’s all packed in there. It’s often hard to remember what’s next. Your patients typically feel the same, so you need to give them various convenient ways to easily connect with your office. Remember: some people prefer online forms, others want texts or emails. Give them options.

Speaking of which…across virtually all disciplines, patients are increasingly preferring the use of text messages. With intakeQ, you can send intake or follow-up forms via HIPAA-compliant text messages so they don’t have to sift through their email inbox when they’re on the go. 

Automatic appointment reminders

We’ve already covered the importance of offering online booking. Through intakeQ, you can now create automatic appointment reminders as well. 

Since routine care is often booked well in advance, issuing reminders to your patients about upcoming dates is key. Automated appointments and reminders reduce no-shows and free up time for hands-on care and help your administrative staff run your office smoothly. 

But do all reminders look the same? Nope…and they should not. Customization gives you freedom to determine how your practice works. practiceQ, intakeQ’s practice-management solution, enables you to dictate when appointment reminders are sent out (for example, 1 or 2 days before their appointment), and whether or not patients will also receive same-day reminders. 

Customization also enables you — and, typically, your patients — to choose what avenue your patients will receive messages (such as by text, email or automated phone call). You can also allow patients themselves to choose their preferred method for receiving reminders. 

Offer online intake forms

You know how easy it is to get off schedule when you’re waiting for a patient — who’s already 10 minutes late — to fill out their forms. That can domino and significally impact your schedule, and your patient satisfaction, for the rest of the day.

Long wait times have been reported as one of the number-one reasons people seek a new medical practice. 

Having a user-friendly electronic online intake form is one of the best things you can do to level up your patient on-boarding process. With this type of system you can send secure electronic forms directly to your patients. They fill them in and you get them back before their appointment even starts. How’s that for efficiency?!

intakeQ’s straightforward, electronic intake forms enable you to pre-validate insurance information before the patient’s appointment. Forms are customizable, so you’re only getting the data you need. Information your patients have already provided via the forms is automatically migrated, so they don’t have to fill out the same thing multiple times. 

Always follow up

So the appointment’s over and everyone’s happy. That’s that, right? Not necessarily. It’s just like when a football (or insert your sport of choice) has concluded, even the winners start planning immediately for the next season. 

Advanced online services such as intakeQ’s provide a seamless system to engage with your patients. You can schedule emails or texts after an appointment to provide follow-up instructions, links for scheduling appointments, or to seek patient feedback. 

Let’s say you’re a family practitioner or chiropractor who’s seen someone for an initial appointment. You can schedule an automatic email for three days after that appointment to check in, including a patient survey and a link to schedule a follow-up. Or, for example, if you’re a lactation consultant, you can easily schedule a follow-up email that shares an informative article and a referral incentive. 

In the healthcare industry, little personal touches, which also improve your productivity, reduce process logjams and frustrations and will help keep your patients satisfied and coming back.

Schedule a free demo to learn how intakeQ and our solutions can transform your office. Or if you’re ready to jump in, sign up for our free trial of intakeQ and practiceQ. This lasts for 14 days and doesn’t require a credit card to participate. You can convert your existing forms, and can cancel at any time. It’s as simple as a click away!

intakeQ can truly transform how you interact with your patients for the better. 

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