Losing patients is every doctor's worst nightmare.
It can lead to less income, fewer resources for your practice, and a lot of wasted time and effort.
Not to mention, it's often hard to determine what the cause may be, and even harder to correct the problem.
So, how do you diagnose this problem?
These 6 causes are some of the most common reasons why most doctors are losing patients. By understanding these reasons, you can take steps to correct them and improve your patient retention rates.
1. Lack of digital convenience
Did you stop using telehealth after lockdown? Maybe you never hopped on the bandwagon at all. Regardless, not allowing for virtual healthcare creates a huge gap between you and the competition and is less convenient for your patients.
Your digital experience is highly valued by current and potential customers. In fact, one study conducted in 2020 showed that over 1/4 of Americans were willing to leave their current provider for a better digital experience.
However, this does not mean you should switch solely to telehealth. It's important to keep the option open, as some patients are overwhelmed and distrusting of technology and prefer an in-person visit.
2. Patients have lost trust
The doctor-patient relationship is built on trust. If your patients feel like they can't trust you, they're likely to go elsewhere.
There are a number of reasons why this might happen:
You may have been too quick to prescribe medication or order tests without fully understanding the problem.
Maybe you didn't take the time to get to know your patient and build that rapport.
There could be a communication breakdown where the patient feels like you're not listening to them or taking their concerns seriously.
Lack of transparency can also be an issue. If your patients don't feel like they understand what's going on, or if they feel like you're withholding information, that will damage the trust between you.
Whatever the reason, it's important to take the time to build trust with each and every one of your patients. If they feel like they can rely on you, they're much more likely to stay with you.
You can do this by being more transparent with your patients, spending more time getting to know them, and being more thorough in your explanations.
It's also necessary to remember that trust is built over time. So even if you've made a mistake, by showing that you're committed to regaining their trust, you can slowly but surely win it back.
3. Staffing shortages
This one might seem a bit out of your control, but it's important to remember that your staff is a reflection of you.
If you have a high turnover rate or constantly seem to be short-staffed, that reflects poorly on your practice. It can make patients feel like you're not organized or that you don't care about them.
It's important to do what you can to improve your staff retention rates. This includes things like offering competitive salaries and benefits, investing in training and development, and creating a positive work environment.
Happy employees will lead to happy patients, which will ultimately lead to better retention rates.
You should also make sure that your staff is properly trained on how to deal with patients. They should be friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. If your patients don't feel like they're being taken care of, they're much more likely to go somewhere else.
Investing in your staff is investing in your practice. By taking steps to improve retention and training, you can improve the overall patient experience and stop losing patients.
4. Poor patient experience
It's no secret that the patient experience is a vital component in your retention rates.
There are a number of factors that go into creating a good patient experience. This includes things like convenient appointment times, short wait times, and helpful staff.
If your patients are constantly having to wait a long time for their appointments, or if they feel like they're not being heard, they're going to start looking for a new provider.
It's important to regularly assess the patient experience and see where there might be room for improvement. An easy way to do this is by surveying your patients.
Making even small changes can have a big impact on their experience. By taking steps to improve it, you can increase patient satisfaction and retention.
It's also important to keep in mind that the patient experience starts from the moment they hear about you. From the way they perceive you before booking an appointment to the way you say goodbye, each interaction matters.
You should make sure that every patient feels valued and respected. If they don't feel like they matter to you, they're much more likely to go somewhere else.
5. Lack of flexible touchpoints
In today's world, patients want to be able to interact with you on their terms.
This means having a variety of easy and flexible touchpoints that they can use to reach you, including a website, social media, email, phone, and text.
But this is more than just having an online presence. It means offering the newest and most efficient technology that's easy to navigate. The harder it is for a current or potential patient to get in touch with you or reach the patient portal, the more frustrated they'll become, and the likelihood that they seek help elsewhere increases.
6. Unreliable marketing team
Your marketing team is not only responsible for bringing in new patients to your practice, but also retaining current patients. If they're not doing their job properly, you're going to start losing patients.
There are a number of ways to tell if your marketing team is underperforming.
This includes things like a decline in new patient numbers, an increase in the cost per acquisition, or a decrease in the quality of leads.
If you notice any of these red flags, it may be time to hire a fractional chief marketing officer (CMO).
A fractional CMO or chief marketing strategist can turn your medical practice vision into an actionable and executable strategy.
At Bizzuka, our fractional CMOs will work to rapidly scale your practice, plugging the holes that are causing you to lose patients and kicking off a marketing plan to help you bring more people in the door–-without the cost of a full-time CMO or new marketing team.
Schedule a free 45-minute marketing diagnostic consultation with us today to capitalize on your growth and learn where you may be falling short with your current strategy.