The goal of seeing new patients is to make them feel better in the least amount of time possible. Your patients should feel welcome and comfortable coming to your practice any time they need to. They should know that they came to the right place whenever they have a problem.
Now, there are times patients never come back for a myriad of reasons. Let’s take a look, though, at how to prevent your patients from drifting away.
One of the major reasons patients tend to leave and not come back is they don’t feel their problem is resolving quickly enough. Another is the belief that it’s too expensive to keep coming back. You can take measures to correct these problems at the time of the patient visit.
First, you need to explain the problem thoroughly and give your patients a reasonable timeframe of how long it will take for them to get better. Explain to your patients that while they may have been suffering with this particular problem for a long time and you are confident that you can get them better, it is going to take several visits. I am not suggesting you tell them the exact number of visits – just give them your game plan. Try to do as much as you can possibly do per visit to get them better as fast as possible. Patients who are well-educated are less likely to drift away, especially since the number one complaint patients have about their doctors is they don’t communicate well.
Besides being a better communicator in the office, I recommend you to call all your new patients the next day. They might have some questions they forgot to ask. This gives them the opportunity to ask you, plus it shows you care.
Another reason patients might drift away is office appearance. Make sure your office is clean and presentable, and definitely get rid of any furniture that is old and falling apart or was built at the turn of the century (unless it is a valuable antique). Make the office look homey.
One last major reason why patients leave your office and never return is staff. Your staff is a reflection of you. You could be the best doctor since Dr. Welby, but if your staff is rude, the patients will leave. You can’t change people’s personalities, so make sure you do a great job interviewing and vetting potential staff members.
If you have great staff and communicate well with your patients, you will see less of them drifting away.