How your tech contributes to retaining long-standing patients
WITH GROWING CONCERNS ABOUT A LOOMING ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, many chiropractic practices will be impacted by factors outside their control as consumers tighten their belts and look at places they can save money. While you know your patients need their chiropractic care, some may be forgoing or pulling back on visits to cut costs — something you likely have already seen in your practice.
In a recent study,1 43% of patients said they have delayed treatment or care in the last year due to affordability or cost concerns. It’s imperative now more than ever for clinics to adjust their business model to keep their schedule full and revenue flowing. But how does a small or locally-owned practice prepare for a potential recession when they themselves may need to raise prices to keep up with increased costs in the business? The key is excellent patient experience and investment in new technology for the long term.
Providing enhanced patient experiences
Often overlooked by large health care corporations, personalized patient experience is the key differentiator that separates small clinics from their bigger competitors. Patients want to feel heard by their practitioners and develop lasting relationships. But due to an array of factors, 62% of patients indicate they have felt rushed, not heard or not paid attention to by a health care provider in the past 12 months.
Growing tension between patients and providers — exacerbated by the economic downturn — could lead to many clinics losing patients to “budget” competitors that might offer less-expensive options for care. When patient experience falls to the wayside and is no longer a priority in your practice, you lack the very thing that set you apart in the first place. Continuing to provide the best patient experience, even though your clinic might be facing budget cuts and staffing shortages, will help you keep patients loyal while also attracting patients looking for a new provider who delivers value. But just how can you prioritize the patient experience when having to navigate all the other complexities that come with running a chiropractic clinic?
Investing in your clinic
Investing in provider-patient care and satisfaction should be your first priority as a small chiropractic practice. But second to this is investing in the technology you use daily and providing more streamlined ways for your patients to schedule appointments, communicate with their provider and easily manage payments and bills they receive. In the digital age, everyone — not just chiropractic patients — can become frustrated when having to deal with outdated systems and tedious administrative tasks. Despite 98% of health care providers claiming technology is important to providing a great patient experience, 46% of health care offices across the country have not updated their office technology in over two years — creating more paperwork and headaches for staff and patients alike.
While it might seem contradictory to invest in new technology at a time when your business should be trying to cut costs, consolidating multiple software that doesn’t integrate into an all-in-one solution can create efficiency in the practice, help you retain staff and keep your practice competitive. For example, if scheduling an appointment with your practice requires a lengthy phone call or waiting on hold, patients might start looking for a quicker option. Easy-to-use scheduling and communication software is vital to the health of any appointment-based business. A patient is far more likely to have a better experience scheduling an appointment online at their own convenience than waiting on hold for the next available staff member.
Investing in new office technology will also help keep your staff happy. With staffing shortages affecting every facet of the health care industry, health care professionals feel bogged down with administrative tasks that keep them from nurturing relationships with their patients. Tools like appointment reminders and online scheduling save time during the day and allow staff to focus on patient care. In a recent study, 65% of health care providers said having the latest tech makes it easier to retain good employees, and 26% admit they’ve had a team member quit in the last year due to frustration with bad technology or lack of technology in the clinic.
Recession-proofing is on everyone’s mind. While you may never know how an economic downturn will impact your practice, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to maximize your business’s chances of survival. Small things can make all the difference at a small clinic, especially when it comes to patient experience. Prioritizing patient care and making a lasting impact on someone’s health not only improves the chances of that patient returning time and time again but also increases the chances they will share this positive experience with friends or colleagues. The easiest way to achieve this is to cut unnecessary work out of your staff’s day so they can spend that extra time with a patient. Without having to complete mountains of paperwork, your staff will get to practice what they love, which is providing excellent chiropractic care.
BRANDEN NEISH is the chief product and technology officer at Weave. He has a proven track record of driving business growth through product management, design and engineering. Adopting a customer-centric approach, he has consistently added significant value to various businesses in multiple leadership roles throughout his career. To learn more, go to getweave.com.