It is no secret that for a physical therapy clinic to thrive or even exist, these clinics need a regular inflow of patients. According to the statistics, a substantial percentage of new patients are old customers or previous patients. Landing new patients is equally important.
But acquiring new patients is time-consuming. Thus our therapy clinics can not exhaust all their existing resources on finding patients. That is why the healthcare industry & especially physical therapy clinics prefer to focus on retaining their patients.
Newer patients are usually full of doubts & apprehensive while receiving the first few sessions of therapy. There are patient review websites & ratings provided by unknown third-party influence these patients. Only a few of them have any reliable second-hand reviews & are likely to show faith in the therapist’s practice. It takes time & patience to develop trust & confidence in the therapy.
Patients who have received therapy before at the same clinic are more likely to come again in the future. These patients have first-hand experience with your services. Then the goal of many physical therapy clinics becomes finding ways to increase patient retention.
What is Patient Retention?
Patient Retention refers to the means employed by a clinic or doctor to help them keep their patients. The fact that the patient returns for their next or many visits indicate that the clinic has successfully retained its patients.
A doctor must increase patient retention. The measure of success of medical treatment & that of a doctor is how they increase patient retention.
The reasons behind low Patient Retention:
Patients may hesitate to return to continue their treatment or consult the same doctor for a different issue. There could be several reasons behind this situation. We will look at the most common ones here:
- The main reason why patients leave consultation is that look for a second opinion from another doctor.
- The opinion presented by the first doctor did not seem hopeful to the patient or the family of the patient.
- The cost of the treatment is more than the patient & their family can afford. The patient usually has no way but to opt for a cheaper treatment.
- If the doctor or the clinic staff does not treat the patient with kindness, it can affect the course of the treatment on a psychological level.
- The waitlist for the treatment by a doctor or a clinic is too long. In such cases, patients refer to a clinic or a doctor who treats them as a priority.
- Many patients complain about the number of forms they have to fill out during the intake process. & among those forms, they have to fill in the same information many times.
- If the website of physical therapy clinics is malfunctioning or the website does not exist. The patients will not be able to see whether or not the concerned doctor is sitting in the clinic today. It also poses the problem of the inability to book appointments online during emergency & rush hour.
Why is Patient Retention necessary for your Physical Therapy Clinic?
Physical Therapy or Physiotherapy clinics deal with relieving pain & improving the ability to move again. They conduct an hour or two of therapy sessions ranging from a few days a week over the next few months or a year.
50-70% of the patients in a physical therapy clinic are the ones returning to continue their sessions. The direct result of their successful treatment is the relief to the patient & monetary profit to their physiotherapist.
But the indirect benefit will be the word-of-the-mouth publicity of a happy & healthy patient. Any other person who knows the patient & dealing with the same illness might ask for reviews & suggestions about where they received their treatment. This fraction of people makes up a vital percentage of new patients.
Usually, the treatment for a medical ailment takes time. It needs the patient to follow through with the complete course of their treatment before they can drop the treatment & discharged.
Treatment requires the patient to pay several visits to the doctor’s clinic over the next few months or years. Any break in therapy or authorized visits to the clinic will mean that the patient will have to start the course of the treatment.
A patient returning to the doctor for their next visit during treatment shows faith in the therapy methods opted for by that doctor. It is a direct manifestation of the competency of that doctor & their experience dealing with such situations.
The yardstick to measure the success of a doctor’s practice is by looking at the number of patients a doctor receives & how successful was the therapy session. After all, the patient will only return if they can see a noticeable improvement in their condition. & if their previous course of treatment was a success.
Doctors want to increase patient retention in their clinics because it is profitable not only in monetary terms but for their practice also. If they want to keep their medical license, they must keep practicing. For that, they have to bring in new patients & increase patient retention percentage.
Also, it takes a lot more energy, time, & resources to find new patients than to focus on retaining existing or previous patients. If you are a physiotherapy clinic owner & looking for ways to increase patient retention, we have some practical tips that can help you.
How to increase Patient Retention for your Physical Therapy Clinic?
Physical therapy clinics can increase patient retention by aiming to reduce their shortcomings & improving upon them. When patients are already under stress, they do not want any more pain during their therapy.
- A clinic that can ease its journey toward improved health can ensure a continuous inflow of both new & recurring patients. Along with the proper treatment, the patient wants hope & wishes that the clinic staff treats them with compassion.
You can make a lasting impression on a patient & their family with your soft skills. Interpersonal skills include tolerance, patience, empathy, ability to build bonds with patients from various backgrounds.
Every appointment with the patient & their family counts. When patients worry & are in pain, they will remember how you & your staff treated them. Their physical & psychological recovery depends on it.
- The long course of treatment towards a full recovery can demotivate people even if there is a perceptible improvement in health. The reason could be that after lengthy treatment, people want a quick recovery that they can see & feel.
Clinics can prepare weekly reports with visuals that can help patients understand & visualize their recovery progress. These reports can provide some motivation to continue with their treatment.
- Introducing the physical therapy billing software could prove a game-changer. A clean billing process builds trust & assists you as you increase patient retention.
Within a single session, a patient could be receiving several different treatments. Given the equipment involved in these treatments, these are costly sessions. There are zero scopes of any mistake in the billing.
Physical therapy billing software is the software used to automate the process of billing healthcare. This software reduces the hassle of manually keeping track of every prescription & therapy. This automated software streamlines & improves the revenue & increases the reimbursement percentage.
Physical therapy billing software applications provide smooth solutions to submission claims & billing workflow. Some billing software also provides billing support specialists who can guide you while setting up billing modules.
- The physical therapy clinics can provide the option to avail of home visits for their therapy sessions by a team of physiotherapists. Home sessions can prove beneficial for the patients dealing with travel issues. & patients will be less likely to leave their treatment mid-way.
Physical Therapy treatment at home ensures personal care & connection. The therapist & their team can better supervise the sessions & progress.
- Feedback provided by the patients can prove gold if physical therapy clinics review them diligently. The patients are telling you directly how you can improve their experience so that they come again.
The clinics can offer a patient review or survey form to every patient & their families after their authorized visit. The survey form can include questions on staff service, clinic interface, billing process & others.
As a committee, you can decide to bring an improvement when you see the same feedback in multiple survey forms. The patient can see that their therapist values their opinion. These patients will come back & are likely to leave favorable reviews on the patient review websites.
- Physical therapy clinics can invest in training their office staff to deal with varied situations during patient service. These are a few points where your staff can improve:
- Phone & communication skills- this includes how they have to answer any distress or query call.
- Emotional skills- along with therapists, empathy or indifference by staff members towards patients can make a difference.
- Staying on schedule- staff members themselves have to be on schedule. They have to take into account any missed appointments & reschedule.
These are some of the ways by which physical therapy clinics can increase patient retention. But the improvement which guarantees patients is automating most of the hospital processes, including billing & making & canceling appointments.