According to an article by Salvador Lopez on the Power Your Practice Website, many patients actually see three or more primary care physicians every two years. Why the switching from doctor to doctor? And how do we boost patient retention, or how do we keep patients coming back to the same doctor for care?

These questions are on the minds of every physician who finds that he or she is losing patients. Here are three tips that you can begin to put into practice right now that will help you boost your patient retention rate.

Tip #1: Take advantage of your patient portal

In every other area of your patients’ lives, businesses are moving toward making their products and services more convenient. A doctor’s office should be working toward the same goal. In order to achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use, your EMR software will need to include a patient portal, which allows patients to access their own medical records, schedule their own appointments, and have access to patient education materials. Be sure that you make good use of this portal as soon as it’s available to you. Your patients will be more likely to make appointments when they are able to do it online, which is a feature they will really enjoy.

Tip #2: Change the way you send reminders

In the “old days” it was customary for doctor’s offices to hand off the job of reminder phone calls to the receptionist. These calls were very cumbersome for the staff because they took a long time. They were also not very effective. Most patients aren’t home during the day, and some of them never check voicemail or their answering machines. As a result, appointments are missed. Instead of phone calls, offer an option for your patients to receive text message reminders. Text messages are much more convenient, and they’re also much more effective as far as reaching your patients.

Tip #3: Be active on social media

Many medical professionals don’t think of social media as a way to reach their patients or potential patients. However, social media is an excellent tool for you, and it’s free. Facebook offers a way for you to schedule your status updates, so you don’t have to worry about being online all the time to post them. Also, sites such as FutureTweets can be used to schedule your tweets. You may want to enlist a member of your staff to monitor these sites for activity, as it’s important to engage your patients whenever you can. Posting helpful articles and tips is a great way to draw in more patients and demonstrate your expertise in your field.

When it comes to patient retention, sometimes you have to think outside of the box. Stepping up your efforts in the ways that are working for other businesses is a great way to keep more patients happy, and attract new ones to grow your practice.

For more tips on effective patient retention, join us November 8-10 in Orlando at THE Medical Practice Marketing Event. Mention Priority Code C425BLOG when registering.

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