When it comes to customer loyalty, many examples might come to mind: your go-to grocery store, the place you get coffee every week, or your favorite place to buy clothes. Few people might think specifically of patient loyalty in the healthcare industry, and for those that work in the space, this would be a huge missed opportunity.
That’s because patient loyalty is a crucial factor in driving the success of your organization. However, due to a variety of factors such as coverage challenges, changing patient expectations, and rising costs, it’s hard for patients to stay loyal to a single healthcare provider. Smooth processes and a seamless patient experience, however, can make a huge difference. Keep reading to learn how to get started with five critical factors for increasing patient loyalty.
1. Appointment Reminders
Gone are the days of mailing out appointment reminders or sending people home with a paper note—patients these days want reminders that work with their preferences, whether that’s through text, voice, or email. Automating your reminders is low-hanging fruit in creating a positive experience for your patients. It not only stops all of the back and forth associated with scheduling but also helps reduce no-shows. After all, how can you improve patient loyalty if first-time patients aren’t showing up or you don’t even have the opportunity to provide a positive experience?
2. Completing Paperwork In advance
The adoption of more digital tools, especially with the pandemic, has undoubtedly influenced consumers to want more convenience and control over their own experiences. Even veterinary practices have begun offering digital experiences for their patients so they can complete electronic paperwork ahead of appointments. As with automated appointment reminders, this digital option not only saves time with manual processing on your end but also allows patients to fill out paperwork at their convenience. Receiving high-quality healthcare can be filled with so many barriers—don’t let a lengthy or complex paperwork process be one of them.
3. Waiting room experience
When it comes to the ideal waiting room experience, it’s likely that many people would say that it doesn’t last long. No one wants to spend a long time waiting for their appointment and feeling like their time is being wasted. That’s why providing digital and convenient options such as electronic paperwork can make a huge impact on reducing waiting times and creating a smoother patient experience. Try adopting other tech-enabled processes such as digital check-ins to create an even more positive experience.
In addition to these digital options, there are several other ways you can improve the waiting room experience. For starters, maintaining a clean and organizing waiting room makes a positive first impression and builds confidence in the quality of healthcare they are about to receive. Providing educational resources on a variety of common health problems and financial resources can also go a long way with patients in making them feel truly cared for.
Data from the AMA’s latest Physician Practice Benchmark Survey reveals that telehealth use by physicians shot up from 25% in 2018 to nearly 80% in 2020—and for good reason. Telehealth provides patients with healthcare through digital channels such as videoconferencing, remote monitoring, virtual consultations, and wireless communications. During the pandemic, this provided healthcare providers with a lifeline to continue their business while protecting medical personnel and patients.
Beyond the pandemic, however, telehealth remains a crucial form of healthcare that increases access to physicians so patients can receive the care they need when they need it. This can help those living in senior living communities who may be high-risk or people in low-income communities who have limited resources to travel to receive healthcare. Consider adding telehealth to your offerings so you can leverage the benefits of this delivery system.
5. Bedside manner
We would be remiss if we didn’t discuss the importance of the doctor-patient relationship in driving patient loyalty. Good bedside manner, a doctor’s approach or attitude toward a patient, should encourage trust and healing for patients. It’s important for providers to put themselves in the shoes of their patients and consider that they are coming to them during a stressful time. That’s why it’s crucial, from the moment they receive care to the moment they check out, that the patient experience is smooth, engaging, and free from stress.
Here are a few tips on how healthcare providers can achieve this:
- Introduce yourself to the patient and their family every time. Patients meet so many new personnel in a short period of time
- Use and maintain eye contact when talking
- Recognize a patient’s educational, social, and cultural background and use words the patient can easily understand—not medical jargon
- Practice open and honest body language
- Ask permission before performing any type of exam or making physical contact
- Clearly explain and reiterate any care instructions so they can recover well
Leverage a More Convenient Process
We’ve outlined five simple ways that healthcare providers can tackle increasing patient loyalty. No matter which tactics you decide to run with, it’s important to keep in mind that in addition to providing a personalized, smooth experience, it’s by providing digital capabilities that will truly separate your organization from your competition. Patients want to conveniently control their own healthcare experiences and treatment, and numerous healthcare providers have already responded to this change by enabling patients to digitally book appointments, fill out the paperwork online, get automatic reminders, and even receive care from the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
An effective file transfer system is the logical next step for healthcare providers to take so they can better attract and retain patients. All organizations need to ensure that their exchange or delivery of data is secure, compliant, and efficient, and a file transfer is simply the process in which one computer system transmits a computer file through a communication channel to another computer system.
When choosing a file transfer solution, beware of inefficient ones that can create significant amounts of friction during a transaction. For instance, if your patient needs to create an account with a username and password, receive and enter a pin, and then answer security questions just in order to fill out new patient paperwork, they may be discouraged and consider other providers with easier processes. That’s why an ideal file transfer solution streamlines the entire patient experience by reducing unneeded or complicated touchpoints while also working on a variety of interfaces such as mobile, browser, and email.
The Botdoc Way
Botdoc is the first-ever easy, remote, and secure file transport service that works via text messaging and email with end-to-end encryption. With Botdoc, you’ll onboard patients and complete paperwork at least 50% faster with no pins, no passwords, no logins, no accounts, no apps, and no software to download. And keep an eye out for exciting updates from us: Botdoc will soon have our API integrated into EPIC, allowing the processing of paperwork and patient interfacing to be even more seamless.
Let’s schedule a demo today and discuss how the secure “FedEx” of data can help you better manage your bottom line.