As 2016 approaches, you'll likely look for ways to get rid of patients. Unfortunately, some healthcare consumers are stubborn and they won't willingly leave the healthcare organizations they've grown accustomed to visiting.
Ok, you're not really trying to lose patients. But, you likely will if you continue to use some of the same outdated or ineffective strategies you have in the past. Time to look toward the future.
Your organization has spent considerable time and effort to build up your patient base. But in 2016, there's no reason to keep laboring with healthcare consumers who always pay their bills, are polite, and recommend your service to friends. These types of patients make your staff's job easier and contribute to the overall financial health of your organization. Understandably, you'll want to come up with ways to get rid of these patients--and fast.
If you really want to hurt your patient retention strategies, follow the advice below for the top 3 ways to lose patients in 2016.
Top 3 Ways to Get Rid of Good Patients
1. Train staff to be as least transparent as possible.
If your staff would just stop being so helpful and communicating with patients, they'd be sure to leave. Train staff not to discuss patient bills with them ahead of time.
Staff should never verify eligibility ahead of time as a convenience to patients who want to budget their healthcare services.
Staff should never work with patients to use technology, check-in to their appointments, or better understand their coverage and treatment. The less you help your patients in their healthcare journey, the more likely they are to leave you in 2016.
2. Don't offer any convenient technology.
Patient-facing technology that offers a level of convenience should be avoided at all costs if you want to lose patients this year. Patient web portals, mobile apps, and check-in kiosks all deliver a level of convenience which is detrimental to your efforts to lose patients. If your healthcare organization offers less convenience, patients are sure to leave. Here are some ideas that will make you less helpful:
- Get rid of web portals and make patients come in to get hard copies of their files.
- Make patients call the office by phone to schedule appointments, and make sure not to answer.
- Make billing statements as difficult to understand as possible and offer to only take payments via cashier's check.
The harder it is to accomplish the various tasks associated with a patient’s visit, the less likely it is that these patients will return.
3. Be a security liability to reduce confidence.
Today’s healthcare consumers are savvy; they are educated and empowered and know what to expect from their healthcare providers. One of these expectations is security. Patients want to be assured that their information is safe and secure, from health to financial information. If you want to lose patients quickly, do not reassure them that your organization has strict security standards.
What healthcare organization is actually looking to lose patients in 2016? Probably not many. The point of this article is to make you think about what you are doing today that might be turning patients off.
The 3 ways to lose patients outlined here should serve as a guide of what to NOT do in 2016. Healthcare consumers expect convenience, transparency, and a sense of confidence that their physical and financial health is in good hands with your organization. So if you DON’T want to lose patients, make sure you do everything you can to meet these expectations.