Why Patient Engagement Matters
Communication is an important part of any relationship, be it family, friends, or even physical therapist and patient. Some physical therapist may think that the interaction that takes place in the office is the only relevant form of patient engagement that matters. The reality is, as helpful and necessary as that engagement is at helping your patients get back to a normal life following an injury, there needs to be additional engagement.
Why Does It Matter?
If you are a physical therapist, you might ask yourself why patient engagement matters. The answer to that is a simple one. Patients that feel well cared for, listened to, and do not feel as though they are just another source of income are more inclined to continue to use your PT service and more importantly, recommend you to family and friends.
By paying special attention to patient engagement, you will create a positive bond of loyal patients that will think of you if they ever need to seek out a physical therapist. If, even in your patient engagements during therapy sessions you are very disconnected, or even callous, your patients may become disloyal and seek out the services of your competitors. One patient choosing another PT clinic may not seem like a lot but if you establish a negative pattern the word will get out through word of mouth and/or on different social media sites.
What Does It Mean?
Patient engagement has nothing to do with the actions most associate with the word. It has nothing to do with developing a romantic relationship with your patients. Patient engagement is more to do with getting past the necessary small talk that occurs during an office visit and a therapy session.
Patient engagement is a means of communicating with your patients in all communication formats. This includes talking to them in person, via emails, social media, and over the telephone. Patient engagement starts with the first interaction the two of you have until the day you declare them healthy enough to no longer need your services for that particular issue.
Understanding and Tracking Patient Engagement
Now that you understand you need to have better patient engagement, how can you determine if what you are doing is making a difference? Aside from patients verbally telling you how they feel about you, coming to you for their needs, and referring others to you, there are means for tracking engagement to gain a better picture of how you are doing.
Some of these methods for tracking your interactions include the following:
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Lifetime Value (LTV)
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Here is a bit of information related to Lifetime Value (LTV). This particular tracking marker deals with two distinct variables, which are patient, or customer, retention and price. Price, for the most part is a constant across the industry. The only way to raise prices on your services would be if you ran a clinic that only accepted cash. On the other hand, it is very easy to influence patient retention.
One aspect to your clinic needing monitoring to increase patient retention is phone calls. By monitoring how long it takes to answer calls, how long patients wait, and the amount of time spent doing tasks such as filing claims and billing patients you can improve patient retention. Patients that spend excessive time on the phone are more apt to associate your clinic with poor patient service.
Other ways to improve patient retention is interacting with them outside of the office. This means interactions on social media, online reviews, and even interaction on the clinic website. By taking time to devote that extra attention to your patients, you can vastly improve your patient engagement and in turn your clinic.
Here at PatientSites.com we can help you to track your engagement through NPS surveys and other tools. Take a look at our wealth of features and see for yourself how much we have to offer.