Patient retention is a vital component of healthcare sustainability. Studies show that keeping patients is much more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.

Providing patients with information is one of the best ways to improve retention. Medical practices can ensure that their offices are stocked with patient handouts and pamphlets, hang essential explanations on the walls, and make their appointment availability clear.

Patient Experience

Retaining patients is critical to achieving financial sustainability in healthcare. Whether the services your practice offers match or exceed what patients expect from your marketing materials, it is essential to keep these expectations high so that patients return and recommend you to others.

Having an attentive staff is also essential for patient retention. Successful medical practices maintain a culture of respect from the moment patients walk into their doors and show patients that they are valued. This may include using the patient’s first name, reducing boredom in waiting rooms, and displaying office information such as appointment availability on walls or doorways.

Streamlining payment processes is another way to increase patient retention. This includes having various payment options, minimizing medical jargon, making payments easy to understand, and ensuring maximum transparency in itemized statements. 

The ART program has been able to implement various mechanisms that are associated with better and improving current retention in care, including multi-disciplinary teams that involve clinicians, adherence counselors, and pharmacists at the health facility level and catchment area meetings (which bring together health facilities located in one geographical area).

Patient Education

Getting patients to your medical practice is one thing, but keeping them loyal is another. This aspect of patient retention requires the efforts of those marketing your business and those treating patients to complement each other.

For example, using a patient’s first name in communications, not leaving them waiting for long periods, and ensuring the staff is polite and efficient are all simple ways to increase customer satisfaction. These are not expensive actions and can make a huge impact.

Similarly, an EHR system that can log feedback and other metrics to identify opportunities to improve the patient experience could also help with the patient education aspect of sustainability in healthcare. 

As could a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that can be used to keep track of patient loyalty. By incorporating these tools, healthcare organizations can provide an unrivaled patient experience and ensure the sustainability of their programs.

Patient Loyalty

Patient loyalty is one of the most underrated aspects of patient retention. A loyal customer is a crucial asset, and healthcare organizations should strive to maintain this relationship as much as possible. Loyal patients are less likely to switch doctors when they experience bad service and are more likely to return to the organization for other services such as cytology, vaccines, and other preventative health services. 

In addition, the patient retention rate reflects the percentage of patients a healthcare provider or facility successfully retains over a specified period, indicating patient satisfaction and ongoing engagement with the services offered.

Developing strategies to build patient loyalty can help improve patient retention and increase a healthcare business’s profits. For example, using a patient’s first name in communications and offering extended office hours are small gestures that can make a huge difference.

Creating loyal patients can also benefit healthcare organizations by reducing their marketing costs. Unlike new customers, loyal customers do not have to be actively sought out and recruited. Loyal customers will continue to visit their healthcare providers even when price increases, new options emerge, or other changes occur.

Patient Engagement

Patient engagement is active involvement in their health and healthcare choices. This leads to better health outcomes, fewer ER visits, and lower costs.

It also leads to a stronger relationship between the physician and the patient. Physicians clearly understand the patient’s needs, concerns, and preferences, so it is less likely that critical details slip through the cracks or that superfluous appointments are required.

For the healthcare system, patient engagement allows for a more complete data set that can be used to improve patient outcomes and care delivery. It can track a patient’s progress, communicate with multiple specialists, and promote more collaborative care.

Patient engagement is not just about patient interactions; it is about the entire experience from a patient’s first phone call until they walk out of your door for the last time. Achieving this level of engagement requires a commitment to be transparent and patient-centric. This is where the best healthcare organizations excel.