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May 4, 2021

Patient retention, once a pre-COVID issue, can now be an overwhelming challenge for GI practices and centers. The decline in elective GI procedures over the past year is alarming as the delay will inevitably cause problems in long-term care outcomes. There are simple aspects of patient recall strategy you should be implementing today to effectively increase procedure rates and provide the GI care your community needs.

Pre-Planning

Before beginning to engage with patients, always determine a formal outreach strategy. Assess current efforts and identify key opportunities that can easily build from the things your staff already do regularly.

In the retention strategy planning phase, there are some questions to consider:

  • What patient outreach touchpoints are currently used?
  • What additional touchpoints could be added?
  • What factors should influence the strategy?
    • e. patient demographics, budget, competitor strategy
  • How will the success of these patient retention efforts be measured?

Maximize Touchpoints

Maintaining communication with patients across maximum touchpoints is the key to all patient retention strategies. Regular communication builds trust and loyalty, whether from a practice visit to a procedure at your center, or decades-long appointments with your practice.

No matter the medium of communication, remember to sustain consistent messaging and tone. Consider reaching patients at all of these touchpoints:

  • Text messaging: Use a platform such as Dialog Health to send appointment reminders.
  • Email: Email messages allow for more details, and room for a solid call-to-action.
  • Phone: The value in direct phone conversations isn’t going away. Phone calls instill trust.
  • Telehealth: Telehealth appointments are a cost-effective tool delivering the quality of patient appointments from the comfort of their home.
  • Patient Letters: Reinforce information through direct letters to patients.
  • PCP Letters: While communicating with primary care physicians is not a direct touchpoint to patients, it can be a valuable asset to reinforce your messages.
  • Social media: Social media is both a tool to attract new patients and a hub of current patients. Encourage patients to join your online community for relevant updates.

Diving into the Data

If you are putting in the work to retain patients, remember to track your efforts. Consistently record and measure data so that you can accurately evaluate your patient retention efforts. Save time by setting up a dashboard of metrics that can be updated on a regular cadence.

If you are unsure which metrics to start capturing, try to record these areas:

  • Text message confirmation responses
  • Email open rates
  • Social media following growth

And, of course, you will also want to compare these metrics with:

  • Practice and center patient retention rates
  • Overall appointment confirmation rates
  • Overall appointment cancellation rates

What Partners Are For

Implementing these strategies may be overwhelming for practice or center, particularly during times when resources are already slim post-COVID. This is exactly what corporate partners, like PE GI Solutions, are for. At PE, we work closely with our practice and center partners to ensure they have the tools in place to execute a patient retention strategy that works best for them.

Interested in PE Partnerships? Visit pegisolutions.com.