A brief overview of empathy as a patient growth strategy

January 18, 2020
Madeleine Barbera
A growth strategy with empathy at the heart of every decision means you and your staff truthfully understand every patient's unique needs when they are looking for care you provide. A great starting point is writing down and separating your financial needs as a practice and their health needs as a patient. That starting point exercise allows you to remove components of your strategy that prospective patients may obviously see as greed.

Potential patients need to be able to find you

Your practice doesn’t and can’t survive in a vacuum. Just as children grow more socially stable through positive interaction with the world around them, your practice also needs to spread its arms to the community. But this seems pretty simple right? Just advertise. 

Well, it is a bit more complicated than that. It means meeting and engaging with your patients on their platforms. Are you targeting families? Busy professionals? Younger students? All of these groups of patients have different social circles and communities. Once you tap into those communities, you have a captured audience. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t sell family care to a geriatric facility right? Advertise to your patients where they are and your brand image will do the rest. It is easier for potential patients to remember and recognize branded advertisements that are already associated with the communities that they participate in.

Potential patients need to be able to book an appointment

So, you’ve created an amazing advertising campaign with lots of interest and potential customers. How do you convert them to actual patients? Should they all call the secretary? What if it is after hours or on the weekend?

People have busy lives and often forget to call and schedule their appointment. It is your job to make it easy for potential patients to book an appointment. Don’t put up some artificial barrier between them and you. They want to see you and you want them to come in. 

Why not have a system in place that allows them to make an appointment online? The ease and utility of online scheduling will only benefit your practice. This will allow you to grow your patient base in the evenings and on the weekends when people tend to think about scheduling an appointment and can focus on their lives outside of nine to five.

It helps to remind patients of visits and follow-ups

A patient has booked their appointment or follow up. Again, people lead busy lives and sometimes they forget about appointments they made weeks or months ago. 

Do reminder cards for refrigerator doors still work these days to keep patients on time and diligent? Sure, they are a great tangible reminder for people to hold on to when going about their lives. However, in today’s digital age people are more often relying on reminders that come from their phones rather than their refrigerators. This is just the nature of a changing society.

The focus of the attention shifts with the available technology, and simple appointment reminders have shifted with this technology. 

Currently patients are being actively reminded of appointments on discrete intervals say 48 hours and 24 hours before the appointment through SMS (text messaging) and email reminders. Since your clients will most likely always have their phones on them it is significantly easier for patients to remember the appointments, be on time, and call ahead if there is a scheduling conflict. These reminders can also be set up to remind patients about follow up care and follow up visits. The easier it is for your patients to stay healthy the more likely they will continue to use your services.

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Written by
Madeleine Barbera
Content Lead