Patient Retention Can Make the Difference Between an Empty Waiting Room, or a Schedule Packed With Patients

Do you remember the last time you had to face a totally empty waiting room? We don’t mean the occasional unoccupied room you might experience between patients. We’re talking about a waiting room that sits empty for hours at time.

Hopefully, you’ve never had to deal with this particular challenge. But most chiropractors do.

We’d like to think that a shortage of patients only occurs early on in a chiropractor’s career. But that’s not always the case.

In fact, chiropractors have the largest student loan default rate of any health care profession. In 1999, chiropractic school graduates accounted for more than 50% of all HEAL (Health Education Assistance Loan) defaults. This is in large part because so many new chiropractic practices fail.

A strong patient retention rate can change all that.

Building your patient base begins by choosing a few effective chiropractic marketing techniques that effectively funnel new chiropractic patients into your practice. Unfortunately, without a high patient retention rate, you’ll find yourself forever chasing new patients and spending hard earned profits (or even worse… borrowed funds) doing so.

The solution to this painful and expensive cycle is obvious—hold on to the patients you have.

How to do that involves taking an unbiased look at your own practice.picture of md-attorney referral toolkit

Of course, it all begins with good service. You, your CA and your office staff, play a vital role in ensuring your new patient is happy with your services and is eager to schedule their next appointment.

Think about your chiropractic practice and answer these questions. When your patient arrives at your office are they greeted warmly and made to feel welcome? Is their wait time minimal? Is your office paperwork streamlined, requiring a minimum of effort? Do they receive the therapies you prescribe in a timely matter? And do you effectively communicate future recommendations to your office staff?

After evaluating your office procedures, you may decide it’s time for additional
CA training or staff coaching.

Many docs begin their new patient care by designing chiropractic treatment plans. These chiropractic treatments plans may be formal, like the type so often recommended by chiropractic colleges, or an informal set of recommendations offered during the patient’s first visit. If the patient follows your prescribed course of treatment, he should experience relief and in most cases, return to his daily activities, better off for the chiropractic adjustments.

But what steps have you taken to ensure patient retention?

At the time of your patient’s visit you can educate him on the benefits of wellness care. You might initiate a multi-pronged approach by using chiropractic hand-outs, patient education videos, newsletters, as well as a strong referral program.

But never forget, you are central to your patient’s decision to call your office the next time they have a problem. The most important way to increase your new patient retention rate is to develop a strong rapport. Be approachable, and down-to-earth. Express an honest interest in your patient’s concerns.

Retaining patients doesn’t have to be hard work. Pick a few strategies and implement them. If necessary, tweak your efforts until you have the right combination of techniques for you and your staff.


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