In just about any business, it costs more to attract new customers than it does to retain existing ones.1 This concept also applies to running a pulmonology practice, which means keeping your patients happy is imperative. We offer 6 ways to increase patient retention.
1. Stay on schedule
Having to wait too long to be seen for a scheduled appointment is a common complaint among patients, so do your best to stay on schedule. Doing so signals to your patients that you respect their time. If you’re constantly falling behind, track the flow of patients in and out of your practice for a few weeks. This information can help you determine if you’re at or over capacity, identify the busiest days of the week, and allot appropriate time slots.
2. Get to know your patients
Your patients don’t want to be treated like a medical record number, so show them you’re interested in who they are. You can ask them about their hobbies, career, or even their family life. These conversations can go a long way toward putting them at ease and building rapport.
3. Let them know something about you
In addition to showing an interest in their lives, it’s beneficial to give your patients a glimpse into who you are outside of your practice. Refrain from divulging personal information that might jeopardize the professional relationship, but it’s worth mentioning if you like to travel or have a favorite sports team.
4. Create an online presence
A website can do more than help you reach new patients: it’s also a valuable tool for keeping existing patients in the loop. There you can list important information including operating hours, staff member profiles, qualifications, and directions. You can even create a blog and social media profiles to keep everyone up-to-date on what’s happening at your practice.
5. Make it easy to book an appointment
A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that most medical practices that offer online scheduling experience a reduction in no-shows and patient waiting time.2 Be sure to offer a way to schedule appointments on your website. Your patients and your staff will appreciate the convenience.
6. Follow up
If patients present with significant symptoms or undergo testing, carve out time to follow up with them to see how they’re doing. This conveys to your patients that you’re genuinely concerned about their health and didn’t forget them the moment they walked out the door.
- Gallo A. The value of keeping the right customers. Harvard Business Review. October 29, 2014. Accessed January 10, 2020.
- Zhao P, Yoo I, Lavoie J, Lavoie BJ, Simoes E. Web-based medical appointment systems: a systematic review. J Med Internet Res. 2017;19(4):e134.