The term “patient engagement” is used so frequently, it’s almost become cliché. That said, we shouldn’t let its overuse deceive us, as it’s now more important than ever.
First, we must differentiate patient engagement from customer service, as some people use the terms interchangeably. Customer service is a passive and reactive stance, when managers wait for a complaint or an issue to arise and then respond in a positive manner. Patient engagement is a proactive approach, in which patients not only have their issues resolved but also feel like they have a connected partner in their healthcare journey.
As we aspire to engage our patients proactively, we can seek out ideas for improvement. Here are four great ways to impact and boost patient engagement.
Have a Proactive Mindset
Patient engagement has become more important in the digital age. People expect communication to be quick and seamless, almost to the point of being intuitive. They expect to be notified of updates and healthcare results via text or email. A simple digital communication system is the starting point for improving client engagement.
In turn, clinics looking to further enhance engagement should proactively seek feedback instead of waiting for complaints to come in, fulfilling that “intuitive” need that patients expect. Through this type of engagement, we can serve our clients’ needs better and increase satisfaction.
Improve the Bottom Line
Patient engagement strategies can also save money and time. Take digital onboarding, for example. It creates an initial experience for the patient that is quick, painless, and void of dozens of forms. It also improves data quality for the staff and relieves the tedious process of manual data entry. The same is true of a streamlined process for potential issues with insurance, billing, and scheduling. This pleases patients and increases satisfaction while saving time (and stress) for the front-office staff.
Focus on Patient Needs
Various strategies can help engage patients in creative ways. For example, a new technique or therapy might be the perfect fit for some patients, and through patient engagement, we can offer it to a targeted group of clients. This type of service shows a devotion to the proactive mindset. Additionally, providing options for clients based on specific needs, such as adjusting office hours or offering new therapies, shows that the clinic is willing to listen and respond to patients.
But how can a clinic manager know this information? It comes in the form of patient feedback.
Clinics with high levels of patient engagement ask for and act on customer feedback. They often find that the concerns that they hear are also held by others, so by responding to the given feedback, there is a good chance that even more patients will respond favorably. This feedback loop is created through the systemic engagement of clients, tapping into automated processes that naturally create this line of communication from chiropractor to patient and back to chiropractor.
Encourage Loyal Clients
With improved patient engagement comes increased loyalty from clients. This is another benefit of patient feedback. It creates a focus on the relationship between the doctor and the patient. When people feel cared for and listened to by their doctors, they become loyal to them.
This has multiple benefits, but one of the most impactful is the word-of-mouth marketing as patients tell others about the great service. For any chiropractic clinic, feedback from patients should be positive and supportive. Through the use of social media like Google Reviews, clinics can capitalize on this and share stories of how impactful they are. This will bring new patients to the clinic.
It is possible and profitable to increase and improve patient engagement. The tasks involved might seem overwhelming, but there are many excellent tools available to help support chiropractic practices on their journey to better patient engagement.