January 29, 2012

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January 29, 2012

Can Your Patients Fire You?

A Special Three-Part Series

Yes. Your patients have the right to choose their own healthcare provider. They approach their relationship with you as they would with anyone else. With their health on the line, patients find it necessary to select their providers critically. Based on extensive research, we found three main reasons why patients are leaving practices. With that, we’ve created a three-part series of effective solutions to prevent your practice from losing patients:

Part Three of Three: Are You Following Up With Your Patients? 

The last and final issue patients found frustrating was physicians who don’t follow up. Patients do not want to be left waiting to hear back on important lab work or test results. They want to receive their results, next set of instructions or a prescription refill as soon as possible. Read More>>

Sometimes, the physician orders a test but the lab fails to do the test or fails to send back the results. Other times, the lab results are sent back to the practice but becomes lost in the paper shuffle. Unless the staff, or the physician himself asks, “Where are the test results?” the information may never get to patient. Under the privacy guidelines, physicians have to talk to the patient and cannot leave messages or speak to the spouse. Communication is key.

Here are some ways to make following up easier:

  • Confirm a phone number and email address. Before your patient leaves, confirm a number and email where he or she can be reached at any time. Even if you already have it, you should always confirm contact information in case the patient has changed a number or no longer uses that email address.
  • Keep your patients informed. Tell them, “You should expect to get your test results in about…., even if they’re normal.”  This way, if they don’t get the results, they can follow up.
  • Follow up with your staff. Where are the test results? How did the patient respond to that drug? When managing a patient’s care, follow-up is an essential part of the process. If these questions cannot be answered by your staff, there is a chance the patient never received the results.
  • Keep detailed records. Sometimes the patient might be tough to get hold of. In this case, the physician should instruct staff to always document their attempts at contacting the patient, what was said to the patient and the patient’s response.

Discover New Content Ideas to Attract Online Patients

Are you looking for creative ways to attract new (and preferred!) patients to your website and your practice? Do you know what interests your current patients? If not, there are many ways to find out – starting with the easiest…

Asking your current patients

Your current patients are an untapped treasure trove of information. By taking a simple survey from your office, you can learn many of your patients’ interests, including their healthcare information interests.

Now imagine that your online community of current and potential patients is a group of hungry little children. You have a table in front of you covered with ten different snacks and sweets. Those goodies represent your online web and social media content.

By observing which goodies disappear fastest and most often, you will learn what your audience – potential new patients – really wants. And, once you know what they want, that’s exactly what you need to give them on your website, Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube and blog, if you have one. Read More>>

reate an in-office survey

Don’t assume that you know what your online community wants from you. There’s no substitute for asking them directly. What you learn from this reality check might surprise you and put you in a much better position to offer more valuable content.

One simple way to survey your current patients is to create a list of ten topics you believe they want to know more about. Use “yes or no” questions to elicit their opinions. Ask them to rank your topics from one to ten according to their interest, with one being “most interested.” Then ask them to pick their three favorites.

Remember to include a line where they can write in topics of their own choosing. If they go to the trouble of writing in topics, you’ll know how important those topics are to your patients.

Use a free online survey

You, or someone on your staff, can also create a free survey online. Some of the most popular survey sites are SurveyMonkey, Free Online Surveys, Zoomerang and Bzoink.

You can easily add your survey to your website, highlight it in your email or e-newsletter and promote it on Twitter and Facebook.

For additional strategies on both internet and traditional marketing strategies, contact Practice Builders at 800.679.1200, or at