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The Importance of Patient Follow-Up

Posted in Business Practices, Marketing | March 16,2021

A few years ago, my son’s pediatrician retired, and I took him to see a new one for the routine physical he needed to play football at school. After this appointment, the new doctor personally made a follow-up phone call to see if everything met our expectations in the first visit. What?!

I mean, my son wasn’t ill or prescribed any medication at this appointment. He hadn’t even gotten any vaccinations. But this doctor called us just to make sure everything was a-okay. Though the call lasted less than a minute, I was so surprised that she took the time to follow-up that I must have told a dozen people about it—and now I’m telling the whole world!

With regard to “patient experience,” this was a gold star move. We are now patients for life. And I often recommend this doctor to friends and family. Isn’t that the goal for any medical practice?

Make Following Up a Part of Your Plan

Every healthcare provider situation—from hospitals to private practices—can take a lesson from this pediatrician about the importance of “the follow-up.” It’s an easy tool for keeping in touch and a vital step in a comprehensive medical practice marketing program.

How many ways can you use the follow-up step in appointments, new patients, elective surgery pre- and post-op visits, bariatric surgery, LASIK and cataract procedures?

A Timely Call Back Can Be the Difference-Maker with Prospects

The follow-up call is where the relationship with your prospect begins.

Let’s run through a somewhat common scenario: a potential patient calls your office to inquire about LASIK, but the “LASIK person” is at lunch/not in today/on a call with another patient.

How quickly is this call returned? If at all possible, within 30 minutes, and within five minutes is even better. Why the rush? Your prospect called because they had the time and were in inquiry mode. That can change within minutes as they move on to another task, or worse, another practice. Get there first!

5 Ways To Follow-Up With Current Patients at Any Time

We understand that in a busy practice, each doctor may not have the time to keep in touch personally with each patient after each visit or procedure. But that doesn’t mean a meaningful touch-point can’t happen.

Here are five proven ways to follow-up with patients and build a reputation for amazing service as part of your overall marketing plan:

  • Send a thank-you email when they complete their visit.
  • Send an email reminder before their next appointment.
  • Send an email asking for feedback in a brief satisfaction survey.
  • Send a periodic email newsletter with tips, promotions, events and other practice-related information.
  • Have your front office team call new patients to ask if their first appointment met or even exceeded their expectations.

Not Sure Where to Start?

At Miller Public Relations, we love to train our client’s teams in how to deliver the very best customer service and overall patient experience. It’s among our favorite things to do! If your practice could use a tune-up or just a practical refresher in these areas, we’d be delighted to help! Let’s talk.