Why do patients leave their doctors? Many medical business owners and managers attribute low patient retention rates to the cost factor. However, as Accenture's research shows, the price is not a significant driver of patients’ decision to change a healthcare services supplier. It’s the negative customer experience and poor expectation management that tip the scale.
Modern patients are becoming increasingly demanding. They seek healthcare services that are convenient, reliable, and easily accessible. Even if you supply high quality of medical or pharmaceutical care, when you fail to meet these expectations, your patients are likely to shift to another provider.
To prevent that from happening, check if your medical facility, pharmacy, or hospital isn’t struggling with one of the following 5 issues. If that’s the case, it’s high time to take action, otherwise, you can soon see some of your patients leave.
You Can’t Keep Up With Patient Appointments
Overlapping appointments, sudden no-shows, long waiting queues for your visits. If that sounds familiar, you may be failing at keeping track of patient appointments. Errors in scheduling not only affect your profit but also bring about customer irritation with your services. And this may lead to increased patient attrition.
A reliable medical answering services provider will take care of your appointments calendar. The medanswering personnel will set, modify, and cancel patient visits and update you on any changes to help you maintain a current schedule. They will also be there for your patients at all times, even when your facility is closed, your staff is busy, or when there’s no one available to take the call.
It’s Impossible to Reach Your Facility By Phone
In the modern world, patients are very time-driven. No one likes having to wait, especially when it comes to health and wellbeing services. Are you asking your patients to call you during office hours only? Did you hear them complain about issues with reaching your facility? You’re probably trying their patience right now.
59 percent of patients want to be able to speak with a knowledgeable person after hours. By providing a 24/7 telephone service, you will demonstrate respect for your patients’ time and respond to their expectations without delay, thus enhancing the patient experience. You will also give your patients a greater sense of control over their health, which is an essential component of high customer retention.
You Rely On a Generic Answering Services Provider
It’s possible that you’ve already liaised with an answering services company. But have you made the best choice? Your patients expect (and deserve) fast and reliable professional assistance. If their calls are answered by a representative who takes food delivery orders just to put on a flight booking agent hat a minute later, their customer experience will suffer, and so will your revenue.
That’s why it’s critical that the call handling personnel is focused solely on the healthcare industry, familiar with the medical terminology, and trained to handle emergency calls. Only a specialty, HIPAA-compliant provider will understand the challenges healthcare professionals face every day and will be able to address your patients’ issues as required.
Customer Feedback Is Deteriorating
When scores in your patient satisfaction surveys run low, it’s the ultimate sign you’re missing out on some important aspects of patient care. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with the quality of medical care your facility delivers. Quite often patients get frustrated and ‘difficult’ as a result of their negative experience on earlier customer touchpoints, including the phone service.
Start from the basics. Make sure your patients can always connect with you when they’re in need, and that their issues will be addressed professionally and with care. Don’t waste their time - they don’t always need to come in person to your office. Many claims and requests may be resolved over the phone by a competent person.
You’re Feeling Stressed Out & Overworked
Have you been taking on too much recently? Studies show that the level of exhaustion and work-related stress among doctors and other healthcare specialists is constantly increasing. An excess of tasks that they assume does not only lead to burnout and brings about health issues but also affects patients. Stressed-out doctors and pharmacists are prone to making inaccurate medical decisions or committing diagnostic omission errors or dispensing errors.
Fortunately, many administrative or basic tasks can be easily automated or assigned to external providers. Call handling is one example of such an activity. However, there are more tasks that you can delegate to others to gain free time and reduce the stress levels. Read more about them here.
Professional Answering Services? Less Expensive Than You Think
Many healthcare providers, especially in small practices and specialty pharmacies, fear the costs of engaging a specialist answering service. Their concern is unjustified.
Actually, phone handling support from medically-trained personnel can get as low as $75 per month, which is by no means comparable to the massive cost of hiring an extra person. With the right plan that is well-suited to your individual needs, you’ll obtain the full scope of services at an affordable price, regardless of your office size.
Would you like to find out more about medical professional answering services? Get in touch with The Doctors Answer or sign up for a 30-day, no-strings-attached trial.