Engaging patients is a balancing act. Too little engagement might lead patients to believe that they are not cared for or that their needs are not a priority. Too much engagement can be overwhelming or even annoying. When patients leave, it is often because one of these factors is imbalanced.
If you want to fix this and create the correct balance between too little contact and too much, effective patient engagement strategies should be in place at your practice. Implementation will take time, but effective chiropractic practices will be able to execute them efficiently and improve patient retention rates.
Here are six high-leverage patient engagement strategies to help your practice maintain a perfect balance.
1. Articulate a philosophy of engagement.
Every practice should have a goal regarding employee engagement. Creating a unified vision for success is important and should already be a part of the office’s culture. Sometimes, staff might challenge making a change and ask, “Why focus on this? Why use new tools?” This is why a philosophy statement is so critical. If you want your staff to make changes in the practice, they need to know why you are asking them to do so.
2. Train staff on communication and engagement.
Engagement starts with listening. Many good employees possess a natural skill in this area, but some might require extra support, and additional professional learning might be necessary. This will also be true of the technology tools used to support patient engagement. Continuing education for staff flows naturally from the vision that has been created: support (training) and accountability (expectations) will be the two key factors that drive change and achieve that vision.
3. Leverage technology to engage patients.
There are specific software options to help find the right balance of patient engagement. Automated systems can help support consistent engagement. Instead of relying on a person (human) who might be too busy to remember to follow up, reschedule, or check for satisfaction, the technology can do that for you.
4. Text your patients.
This step can be hard or easy. Some people might feel like the personal touch is lost when texting, but there are actually huge advantages. Many young people prefer it as a means of communication. It’s quick, doesn’t cause an unwanted interruption (like a phone call does), and is efficient. An effective practice needs a text communication system to engage all patients in a way that meets their needs.
5. Engage through feedback.
Creating a feedback loop for patients is a crucial patient engagement strategy. It’s how everyone in the practice can know if the vision, set at the onset, is being actualized. With the use of online reviews, like Google Reviews, there is a systematic, engaging way to collect this feedback. The information might need a bit of context when shared with staff, however, because managers might be wary of how the data is used as it is collected. That said, this is an essential feedback loop for the staff and a great marketing tool for engaging future patients.
6. Never lose the personal touch.
While certain automated tasks can create better engagement for patients, there is always value in personalizing the experience through human interaction. Once an automated system is put in place, staff who once had to use their time to take care of scheduling and calendar reminders can now focus on personal interactions with patients. This fulfills the vision of patient engagement because it meets all the various communication needs of a diverse cross-section of patients.
These six patient engagement strategies can help any practice improve its patient experience. It’s about finding the perfect balance of communication while suiting the modern lifestyle. If you create a vision and meet the needs of all patients, your engagement with patients will be better than ever before.