In a presentation at this year’s virtual ASDS meeting, Sarah Nielson and June McKernan highlight ways to create the ultimate patient experience and perks of patient loyalty programs.
Creating a positive patient experience is essential to having a successful practice. Although every practice is different and has its own way of making patients feel welcome, there are overarching services and approaches that can be put into place to create the ultimate experience for patients and keep them coming back time after time.
In a presentation at the recent American Society of Dermatological Surgery (ASDS) virtual meeting, Practice management experts Sarah Nielson, CPC, CPPM, and June McKernan, highlighted specific ways to create inviting office environments and the perks of implementing patient loyalty programs.
To create an environment that feels warm and inviting, look to the culture of the practice. Creating a positive culture in the practice with a team that understands the vision, values, and mission of the company translates to how the patient perceives their experience.
To understand how your patients see the practice, Nielson recommends taking a look at the office from their point of view, take note of anything you would dislike if you were a patient, then correct the issues.
But the patient experience starts well before they step foot into the office, according to Nielson. It starts with how easy it is to find the practice’s website online. If it’s hard to find or difficult to navigate, potential patients may have already decided to not go any further.
Once patients call the practice and interact with the reception staff, having engaging, inviting, and friendly staff can be one of the reasons a person chooses to visit your practice over a rival’s.
Along with having a friendly and organized receptionist and medical staff, communication becomes the foundation of building long-lasting relationships with patients.
Communicating with patients in a way that is easy to understand and makes them feel heard and understood builds trust in medical staff and the practice as a whole. Gaining that trust then builds loyalty, says Nielson.
Once you’ve secured practice loyalty, patient loyalty programs become a great way to promote usage of the company’s services, give the practice a master list of VIP patients, and offer patients additional perks and services.
According to McKernan, implementing a patient loyalty program doesn’t have to be difficult.
Simplicity is actually favorable when designing a program that fits your practice.
Patient loyalty programs could look like:
Having programs that patients willingly sign up for also creates additional opportunities to contact them more frequently, and patients who enroll in these types of loyalty programs tend to spend 25% more in the practice and visit the practice 35% more often, says McKernan.
Before beginning a patient loyalty program, she recommends running your financial numbers to make sure that implementation will continue to being profit into the practice, consider limiting the number of members in each program to create exclusivity and limit costs, educate your patients on the benefits of becoming a member, train your staff, and work with your vendors.