Keep the patients you have and allow your relationships with your patients be the motivating factor for word of mouth advertising. Get your whole team involved from Practice Managers, to Physicians, to RNs, and even your medical billing staff. One of the most common ways for a patient to find a good doctor is to ask for a referral from their neighbors and friends. By maintaining a good relationship with your patients, they’ll easily and happily refer you to anyone they know in need of physician.
Tactics for improving patient relationships:
1.Keep it personal.
Send a thank you note to your patient when a new patient tells you a current patient sent them to you.
2. Be appreciative.
These simple efforts carry a lot of value to patients who feel remembered and important. Even better is if instead of preprinted cards, you actually remember something small and thoughtful about the patient. A physician at one of the medical practices we work with says she writes notes during the office visit and asks the patient later about the prior events to maintain that connection.
3.Be upfront about uncomfortable parts of the visit.
This is where your bedside manner really kicks in and is crucial. Little things, like warming up your stethoscope and telling the patient what you’re doing and what you’re seeing allows them to feel more at ease and comfortable at their visit, all the while feeling safe, trusting, and therefore more likely to want to share that experience with their friends. When patients and doctors build a trusting, mutually respectful relationship, it helps patients follow your advice, be more consistent with taking their medications, come to a follow up appointment, and overall they receive better health care. They will also be more inclined to pay your medical bill on time saving you money on medical billing costs.
4. Honor their time.
One of the most critical referring questions patients have is, “How long will I be waiting in the waiting room?” If your office tends to double book patients, be sure to track how long they wait to be seen. Be aware of when patients were actually scheduled versus when you actually saw them, and if you’re running late, be upfront and apologetic. If the system doesn’t work, change it. It’s not worth losing patients over.
5. Be financially involved.
When you recommend a treatment or a medicine, knowing what it costs and having the resources to quickly determine how much their insurance might cover will not only go a long way in patient compliance, but in overall patient satisfaction. Knowing their options before they leave your office and head to the pharmacy reduces stress and will show you care about them.