With so much focus on marketing and new patient generation, we can sometimes lose sight on the importance of patient engagement and retention. How can you be sure that you are getting the most out of your current patients and that they are happy? Are they truly sticking to their home exercise program? What services would they like to see added to better their post treatment experience? Answering these questions can increase the likelihood of your patients returning in the future, and providing the ever important word of mouth referral. It’s time to switch our mindset and understand that your current and past patients are the best source for fueling a profitable practice.
What is “patient engagement” and how can it help your physical therapy practice grow? Although not a new term, patient engagement is something that is widely searched as physical therapy practices explore how to invest more in their existing business. It is simply the connection or loyalty that the patient has to your practice and their treatment. Their connection will lead to improved health outcomes. It also can increase the number of average visit per patient, which in turn increases cash flow. Patients are taking time out of their busy schedules to visit you and invest in themselves, so it is safe to assume they WANT to be engaged. So how can you improve your patient engagement to provide better customer service and improve your cash flow?
The short answer is technology. We are living in a connected and engaged society and technology allows us to be in the palm of our patient’s hand at all times. Technology can be used to stay connected to your patients when they are not being treated. Below are a few statistics from Google and the Pew Research Center that further support the impact technology is having on patient engagement:
- 4.7 Billion daily Google searches. And 1 in 20 Google searches is for health-related information
- 80% of Internet users seek online health information
- 77% of patients used a search prior to booking an appointment
- 66% of Internet users look online for information about a specific disease or medical problem
- 44% percent of Internet users look online for information about doctors or other health professionals
How Can I Stay Connected?
So with the knowledge of these statistics, you may be asking yourself how you can use new technology to improve your practice’s patient engagement? Well it’s actually easier than you might think. There is a growing list of patient engagement software products available that offer apps and online patient portals that make patient engagement and retention easy. They offer easy tools that allows your clinic to send automated outreach to patients, provide online accessible exercise programs, the ability to track workouts and monitor progress, and distribute customer satisfaction surveys. From start to finish, these tools are meant to enhance your patients experience and keep them more closely linked to your practice and their own treatment.
We all know, a happy client is a loyal one. Adding patient engagement software to your practice can extend the life of each patient’s treatment, improve outcomes, and provide vital feedback on customer satisfaction to help set your practice apart from the competition.