What Is Patient Loyalty And How You Can Achieve It

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Patient Loyalty

When discussing patient care, much focus has been directed toward their relationship with their attending physician, or their satisfaction with the medical care that they received. This is because patient satisfaction has always been acknowledged as important not only to the patient’s recovery process but also to the physician’s medical practice.

Most of the time, the conversation stops there. What most practitioners fail to realize is the value of pushing the effort a bit further in order to achieve patient loyalty. And during these times when it has become easier to switch from one provider to another because of online appointments and consultations, patient loyalty could make a lot of difference in the growth of your medical practice.

A recent report has shown that healthcare providers who can adjust to meet the new expectations of patients and generate loyalty have the potential to increase their revenue by as much as 10% from their pre-Covid performance. But the standards are also higher as people have been exposed to more healthcare choices during this period.

Even so, there are certain strategies that you can take to help build patient loyalty over time. A properly executed loyalty strategy will be able to create a personalized experience for each patient, enabling you to develop life-long and positive relationships.

What Is Patient Loyalty

Loyalty is a new concept in healthcare, but it can be likened to how brands develop loyalty in the consumer industry wherein it becomes a compelling reason for the consumer to choose a specific brand instead of its competitors. In the same vein, patient loyalty helps a patient decide which healthcare provider to choose among many others in the industry.

Patient loyalty takes time to develop, and it should be based on a strong foundation from the healthcare provider. Along with a properly executed loyalty strategy, it can be achieved through a combination of good healthcare service, positive patient experience, and high satisfaction ratings.

The bottom line is that patient loyalty is largely built on trust. Patients know what to expect when they go to see you, and this is the kind of standard that they are looking for in a healthcare provider. And the key to achieving loyalty is by delivering this standard consistently and efficiently.

Because of this trust, patients will find it less attractive to transfer to other service providers as long as they keep receiving the treatment quality that they have come to expect. Compared to the risk of finding a new provider who may not be able to meet their needs, it is an easy choice to decide to stay with the familiar and safe.

This patronage can also extend to their family, friends, and colleagues, as a loyal patient is likely to talk about you to people that they know. That translates to word-of-mouth referrals and more new patients down the line. If you are a small practitioner and do not have the resources or manpower to promote your services, this kind of support would provide immeasurable value to you at no extra cost.

How To Build Patient Loyalty

Patients’ priorities have changed along with the times. In a survey of more than 200,000 healthcare consumers, more than 50% have stated that convenience is the top reason for their choice of a healthcare provider along with access to care. At third place is the behavior of the medical practitioner, followed by brand reputation and quality of care.

As everything around the world is speeding up, patients are likewise demanding for fast and easy healthcare processes. Gone are the days of waiting for hours before a doctor arrives for an appointment, or sudden cancellations with no prior notice. This has also led to the expansion of retail clinics which grew by more than 500% since 2006.

Adapt your practice to meet these new demands. Leverage on technology and give your patients the same courtesy you would expect as a VIP customer in any industry. Send a text message if you need to change a schedule, or you can’t make it to a consultation. Make medication dispensing more accessible, saving them the time and effort of going around to look for the medicines that you prescribed.

Ask your patients if they had any difficulties during their treatment process and find ways to improve your service in the future. This includes the end-to-end process from finding your information, setting an appointment, going through with the treatment, and the post-treatment care.

The whole journey has to be seamless, where each step of the treatment is already integrated in a single-stream user experience. Keep them updated about developments in your service so that you are always top of mind when they need medical care. When patients perceive quality in their care as well as good cooperation with their healthcare provider, they begin to develop loyalty.

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