Patient loyalty is key to continued practice success in terms of both recurring and new revenue. As patients keep returning to your practice, it maintains revenue stability and as patients refer their friends and family, your practice billing collections grow. In terms of profitability, new patient acquisition is by an order of magnitude more expensive than loyalty maintenance for an existing patient.
Time delay is a major problem of eroding patient loyalty. By the time you discover that you have a patient loyalty problem, it is typically too late to do anything about the patients who already left. Patients typical desert without saying “good bye, ” and your only way to discover patient attrition is by observing lower collections and more free time on your appointment scheduler.
Frequent patient communication is the only effective way to reduce such time delay and increase the likelihood of timely loyalty problem identification and resolution. Such patient communications can revolve around any of the practice management components, starting with patient scheduling, to SOAP notes, to special health care literature, to medical billing, insurance payments, copays, and deductibles.
Patient Identification for Targeted Communications
It's convenient to view targeted communications from the patient visit perspective:
- Patients due for scheduled appointment or owe you payments need a reminder.
- Patients that recently had an appointment need results, interpretation, prescriptions, and follow up.
- Patients with prescriptions that are about to expire may need to schedule a visit
- Patients that have not had an appointment for long time need a reminder to schedule a checkup. A screening procedure schedule should be generated using specific combinations of procedures (CPT) and diagnoses (ICD) codes.
- Patients with chronic conditions or permanent injuries need literature about recent progress in treating their conditions
- Patients that have had a long series of appointments need progress reports
- Patients that receive good progress reports need to be solicited for referrals
- Patients with bad progress reports need special literature and special appointments
- Patients waiting in reception area need access to custom information about their specific condition.
To generate such lists of patients, your systems must combine scheduling, medical notes, and billing data in a single database.
Patient Communications Venue
While traditional phone and conventional mail systems are still in use, Internet is the most obvious choice for communicating with patients. A custom, HIPAA-compliant patient portal is the least expensive way to allow your patients interact with their doctor outside the clinic at their convenience and privacy. Patients can
- Review reminders and schedule appointments.
- Review visit results.
- Ask you clarifying questions.
- Request prescriptions.
- Read special literature and progress reports you sent them.
- Send you referrals.
- Review medical bills and pay invoices
- Track their medical costs
Active patient loyalty management based on selective patient identification for targeted communications at the patient's convenience is one of the most effective way to improve practice profitability.
Yuval Lirov, PhD, author of "Mission Critical Systems Management" (Prentice Hall), inventor of patents in Artificial intelligence and Computer Security, and CEO of Vericle.net Billing Technologies and Services. Vericle® unites hundreds of billing services across the nation. Its electronic medical billing software tracks payer performance from a single point of control and shares compliance rules globally. Yuval invites you to register to the next webinar on audit risk at BillingPrecision.com