What Happens When Patients Are Not Engaged?

It's Not Me, It's You. Why Patient Engagement Fails and How to Fix It. |  Providertech

Doctors are well aware that they need to engage patients. The competition is tough in the medical industry today. Even with the threats of the coronavirus, patients will easily choose another doctor if they do not feel their primary physician is doing the best for them. Doctors must help patients understand their medical conditions and guide them in making the right critical decisions for their health. Even though doctors are the ones with knowledge about the health condition of their patients, the latter is the one in the driver’s seat. Ultimately, it is their decision whether to choose another provider or continue seeing their present doctors.

That means that the success of a doctor’s practice is in the hands of the patients. They hold in their hands the ability to crash your practice into pieces. Most adults will visit the doctor at least once a year. Look around your reception area. Aside from new patients, the room should be filled with old and familiar faces. If that is not true for your practice, then read on to know why they are not as engaged as they are supposed to be and what happens when they are not engaged.

You Are Not Communicating Enough

There is a reason patient messaging solutions are becoming not only a trend but a must in every healthcare practice. Doctors must continually engage with patients. They must reach out to them even after the consultations. Thankfully, patient messaging software exists to create uniform but customizable messaging templates that will delight patients. Two of the most popular examples of patient messaging are birthday greetings and health campaigns.

With birthday greetings, you can personalize a template to greet your patients. Choose where to send the greeting. If the patients chose email as the form of communication, then send the greeting via mail. If they chose a text message, then send it via SMS. Health campaigns, such as tips on how to reduce diabetes, also work great for reminding patients about your practice. It is nice for patients to know that their doctors remember them.

They Are Going to Look for Another Doctor

It is so easy for patients to look for another provider. There’s plenty of doctors accredited by their insurance company. In the U.S., there are more than one million active physicians, so the competition is really tough. If you don’t connect with your patients, there’s a good chance they will not return to your clinic. They will just look for a doctor who they think is more competent and whom they feel comfortable with.

If they feel like they can get better services from another physician, then what’s stopping them from going there? The reasons they will leave you vary, though the more popular seems to be the lack of personalized services and the absence of user-friendly engagement tools. It is hard to retain patients, but it is harder to attract them back once you lose them already.

They Are Going to Miss Appointments

When you reach out to patients, they’re more likely to be concerned about their health. They will be in tune with what they need. In turn, they won’t miss doctor’s appointments and laboratory services. They will manage those chronic conditions with their doctors instead of trying to deny that they exist.

Don’t be contented with new patients. You have to keep them, too. The average American spends almost $11,000 on health care every year. If you don’t engage patients, you won’t reach your revenue goals.

Your Administrative Staff Is Going to Have a Hard Time

It is hard enough for your administrative staff to have to answer inquiries, manage complaints, and keep up with the schedules of the doctors. Imagine how much harder it will be for them if the practice keeps on losing patients. They will feel responsible for not reaching out and engaging more. But if you are to take the necessary steps to automate patient engagement strategies, then your administrative staff will not have to do this manually. They can focus on their core tasks and leave patient engagement to the system.

You have to be concerned about patient satisfaction, especially if you are a doctor who runs their own clinic. Retaining patients is a bit like retaining retail customers. You have to wow and interest them so that they will stay or even come back. They need to have an extraordinary and positive experience in your shop—in your clinic in this case—or they will not return at all. Some people are eager to be active participants in their health care, but others need a bit of a push. Patient engagement is about that push. As practitioners, you need to be at the center of patient engagement strategies. Only then will you ensure the success of your practice.

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Reed Hamilton

Mason Reed Hamilton: Mason, a political analyst, provides insights on U.S. politics, election coverage, and policy analysis.