Patients are the heart of any practice. Every day optometrists work to help patients from young children to the elderly detect early signs of chronic health conditions, see clearly, and look stylish. How you keep connected to patients determines your ability to monitor and meet their needs and their willingness to recommend you to their friends and family. This makes patient engagement central to your success and something that your practice management system should support you with.
Here are 5 ways to increase your patient engagement:
“Practices fill about 70% of their appointments through recalls” says Jeff Wainscott, senior product manager for Eyefinity. Your existing patients are the life blood of your practice. Text based recalls are quickly becoming the most effective way to prompt patients to schedule their routine eye exam. Texts are less evasive than a phone call and have a much higher open rate than email.
Reminding patients of their upcoming appointments are one of the easiest ways to generate a relationship outside of the practice. For the busy individuals out there, getting reminded of an appointment a few days before would be ideal and beneficial. Not only does it make a practice look organized and thoughtful, but also shows the effort a practice puts in to ensure that patients are taken care of for their appointment. Again, texting has emerged as a leading way for a practice to remind patients to show up for their appointment. Texts are typically opened within 6 minutes of being received and can achieve response rates (confirmations) above 40%.
A bulk of a practice’s remaining appointments are generated through their website, social media and advertising. How does one reach patients not in their recall list? Back in the day the yellow pages seemed to do just well, but ever since technology, the art of flipping through pages has evolved into “just Google it.” Online advertisements, pop-up ads, promotions, etc. are plastered all over the internet. Easily accessed by anyone who might be looking for a new optometrist or a simple check-up. Google dominates website searches by generating over 80% of traffic to a website while Facebook pages and Yelp reviews provide patients with content that may ultimately determine whether or not someone walks into a practice. Makes one think twice about starting a new Facebook page huh?
4. Reports (Online Forms)
Options are great! Imagine arriving to the optometrist’s office already having completed and submitted your information online. No printing, no writing, no paper forms. You were able to provide the information online when it was convenient for you. Having the option to make things easier or more accessible shows the adaptation of advancement within a practice.
How would the public know a practice is any good? “All practices must have a review process” says Jeff Wainscott. Going back to number 2, technology is easily accessed by anyone and everyone. Meaning a new patient may come walking in through the door just because of a good review located on the internet. Reviews are everything, Yelp was basically built around them, and to have them allows a practice to build relationships with patients before walking through the door.
Compelling reasons for why your practice management system should be as invested in patient engagement as you are.