Patient Engagement: 3 Relationships to Master

Patient engagement, 3 relationships to master

We speak with practices across the US on a daily basis that want to know how best to manage patient engagement.  Patients want easier communications with their doctors and more relevant information about their health.

Today, with more competition than ever before, keeping your existing patients requires a more robust relationship strategy.

Patient engagement occurs in the lifecycle
Engage patients over this life-cycle

3 types of patient relationships

  • Existing good & great patients
    • Immediate financial engine of your practice
  • Patients the practice needs to re-engage with
    • The best way to accelerate off a financial plateau in the near future
  • New & potential patients
    • Growth and practice value in the years to come

Let’s explore each group with what they bring to the practice and how they need to be managed.

1. Existing good & great patients

These patients are the immediate financial engine of a practice; they understand the value the practice has and are willing to pay for it.  Losing a good & great patient is especially painful as it’s a long-term relationship that is walking out of the door.

How to manageWhat they bring
Continue to make it easy to communicate with your practice and quit asking them the same old questionsThese patients are the financial engine of your practice, offer swipe & hold for payments. Build this foundation here
Make sure you know details about the patient’s life and can recall and act on those detailsThese patients will be more accepting of new treatments from you
Give them the tools to make referrals easyThese are the patients you want reviews, referrals and surveys from

2. Existing patients you need to re-engage

Practice growth starts here.

These patients did not buy-in the first time or perhaps the last time they visited (typically more than a year ago).  They still know of you, but need more from you to transition to a good & great patient.  The hard part of this group is re-gaining their attention.  And once you have it, you need to be easy (even easier than before) to make an appointment with.

Success with these patients, that you should already know something about, will lift a practice from a financial plateau or even reverse a decline.

How to manageWhat they bring
Continue to make it easy to communicate with your You must contact this patient, they are not looking for you anymoreNew financial opportunity to the practice with a lower bar than a new patient
You know something about the patient, your communication needs to be personalized around thatIf the patient did not take action months or years ago, the need is more acute
Make it easy for them to come back inThey may tell you what happened last time, listen and respond so that it does not happen again

New & potential patients

Obviously, this is a long-term financial consideration for your practice. Whether these patients are referred by other doctors or they find you from organic marketing activity, you need to manage what they read and see online and make the on-boarding process about them, not your insurance and payment policy.

How to manageWhat they bring
More new patients will utilize online reviews to select a doctor, manage your online reputationThese patients do not know about your old policies and practices
A new patient has no reason to do extra work for a doctor they do not know. Make it easy to get an appointment, or they will go to the next doctor that can this a good & great patient that finds you more convenient that their old doctor? They will fit right in to your communications system
Care about their health and a convenient appointment time, not your payment policy. You do not know if you can help before you even see themSuccess with a new patient means that a troublesome patient can be let go!

Manage these 3 unique patient relations well and your practice will grow.  So often we get stuck thinking about the last problem we just had with a patient and forget that most of our patients are out side of our practice today and do not need our help right now.

The conclusion is that most of the time patients are not face to face with you and need engagement and communication when they are at home, work, school, vacation, etc.  Even when they are face to face, the process that gets patients to that point needs to be smooth and polished.  The next big box practice advertisement may be just minutes away!

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