Medical practices come in all shapes and sizes – from a single practitioner to a full-scale hospital. While most of their problems are unique, there are a few problems that every practice out there faces. For instance, retaining patients is a problem that independent practices and hospitals face alike. Now the question stands, “How can you maximize patient retention?” The short answer is using an engaging patient acquisition and retention strategy with athenahealth EMR system.
I know you might have instantly started thinking about athenahealth EMR’s cost right now. But let’s worry about that part later. For now, let’s talk about what an engaging patient retention strategy is and how it can benefit your practice.
According to a recent study, an engaging patient strategy can improve financial performance and increase positive patient outcomes. On the other hand, a poorly designed engagement strategy can have catastrophic effects. For instance, practices that don’t focus on building an engaging patient strategy are 3 times more likely to have unmet medical needs with patients.
Besides, if you put yourself in your patients’ shoes, would you want a practice that takes care of you, not just treats you? Of course, you would!
Why Should You Care Now?
At the start of this pandemic, most practices experienced a 60% decrease in patient volume and a 55% decrease in revenue. Granted, these aren’t favorable conditions for any practice out there. However, this trend is slowly changing as more and more patients feel comfortable coming into your practice again (with precautions, of course). Yet, if you think that things will go back to what they used to be, I’m afraid all the money in the world can’t turn back the clock, even for a second.
What will follow this pandemic is a different version of healthcare that you and I used to know before the pandemic. With new technologies like telemedicine and telehealth platforms, there will always be patients that prefer having appointments online. A typical example is elderly patients with trouble traveling or patients who live in rural areas with little healthcare accessible.
However, that’s not the problem. The problem is that more and more practices are now competing for fewer patients. Even if you decide not to build an engaging experience in your practice, chances are other practices are doing that.
In fact, programs like MIPS and Medicare are encouraging value-based healthcare instead of traditional volume-based healthcare. How? Easy, through incentives and rewards. The healthcare dynamics are shifting, and patients are coming into the center. So the real choice we have is to grow with the rest and rise or be left behind. I know you might be thinking, “That doesn’t sound like much of a choice”. And you’re absolutely right.
However, that doesn’t change the fact this shift in the healthcare dynamics is happening, and crafting an engaging experience in your practice is crucial now more than ever.
But don’t worry, we won’t leave you hanging. Building an engaging experience that helps maximize patient retention is easy, even if you’re not sure where to start. Just follow our strategies that help you focus more on your patients with the right technologies like athenahealth EMR software.
Strategy #1 Make it Easy for Patients to Come In
The first step in building an engaging experience is simplifying your check-in process. This includes physical check-in and online ones. Let’s talk about what areas does this entails. These include:
- Online scheduling through mobile devices and desktop so patients can schedule appointments anytime.
- Allow patients to choose their desired time and date of their appointment
- Integrate your EMR with your practice management solution to seamlessly manage patient scheduling
- Go for a digital patient check-in process.
Implementing all of these services manually can seem impossible. That’s why we don’t recommend doing them manually. Instead, you can use athenahealth EMR system’s patient check-in module to simplify your check-in process.
Strategy #2 Welcome Returning Patients
A high number of returning patients usually indicates you’ve mastered the first strategy. However, that’s just the first step. After building a simplified check-in process comes creating an environment of engagement for returning patients. Here’s how you can ensure that:
- Communicate each step of treatment to your patients clearly and ensure they understand it. Most patients might not understand medical terms, so you’ll have to break it down for them.
- Programs that encourage patients to aim for better health outside your office are also helpful.
- Build digital footprints for your patients to follow so they come back to you whenever they run into a problem.
If you think that this sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry, you can always streamline patient engagement with athenahealth EMR system.
Strategy #3 Improve Coordination
More than 76% of new patients leave while scheduling their appointment because they’re not sure what to do afterward. This may sound like an exaggeration, but we assure you, it’s not. Here’ how you can minimize this number by improving care coordination:
- Ensure your staff and other physicians are up-to-date with the patient’s information.
- Ensure your patients are aware of the next step at each point of the care journey.
You can also improve coordination with athenahealth’s care coordination.
Strategy #4 Don’t Worry About the Cost
Perhaps one of the most important of all the strategies is the cost. Physicians often care too much about the short-term cost that they end up with higher long-term costs. Make sure you look at the long-term benefits of a solution and how it can help you grow, rather than only focusing on the short-term costs.
Athenahealth EMR’s cost starts from $140/month per provider. Now, if you’re a practice with five physicians, paying $700/month per provider may seem a bit steep. But the benefits of athenahealth EMR system far outweigh the cost.
Athenahealth – Do More With Less Effort
Athenahealth is one of the leading healthcare IT systems providers that focuses on building a value-based approach in your practice. Especially now more than ever because more and more practices are competing for patients. So even if you don’t focus on building an engaging experience, chances are your neighbor is doing it.
So follow our simple strategies with athenahealth EMR systems and build an engaging experience for your patients.