Patient Retention is always an issue in private practice, as is getting patients to follow advice. In medicine, it’s typically dosing compliance. In chiropractic and physical therapy, where patients are typically treated intensively at first, it’s in-office and home care.
But there is a bigger issue. Getting any human being to do anything they don’t want to be futile. This fact drives many people crazy. As Michael Gerber asserted first in the “E-Myth” many years ago, people are basically unmanageable.
The Key to Patient Retention
But what are manageable are results, systems, and processes. They are also measurable. The good news is that just approaching your practice, and indeed your life like this, frees up enormous amounts of emotional energy.
Still, though, we are dealing with people, not hardware. There is one thing that almost every human being responds to in kind, and that is relationships with other humans, based upon trust. Of course in private practice, trust means expertise, experience, and reassurance.
It’s in simply recognizing and fixing this in many offices that builds huge patient bonds, solidifies patient retention, and produces markedly better income, results, and compliance.
So, how do we continuously build trust in our offices?
By making connections on a basic, human level. Primarily through frequent, relevant contact. Multiple avenues. This is also why the social media are all the rage right now.
Let’s take a simple, powerful, approach to building trust.
First, take a look at what the outside world sees and hears first. Start with your phone techniques. When was the last time you called into your own office? Is it warm, friendly and reassuring?
Next, what is actually waiting for people when they show up? A well-lit, clean friendly environment? Inviting but soothing colors, music, etc?
What about your staff conversations? Is everything written out for them, and communicated effectively? Do you rehearse these together on a regular basis?
And all your current patient education tools? Are they simple but effective at getting your message across? And are you really delivering the things society craves right now, like lifestyle and fitness advice, weight management and chronic pain reduction?
Lastly, is everything about your private practice congruent or are patients getting mixed messages?
This is where it’s the easiest to blow it.
Always remember that confusion tends to break trust, and naturally makes people shut down, and far less likely to engage your services.
So, start with a walk around the practice by yourself during quiet times. Next, make a master improvements list. Then devise a strategy to pull everything together into a cohesive whole.
This will be time well spent.
I wish you the best along your journeys!
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Have a great day!