How does your practice rate when it comes to first impressions? If your new patient percentage is lower than you’d like, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at the components that influence new patient perceptions.
Where First Impressions Are Created
Most likely, a prospective new patient’s first interaction with your practice will be either a phone call or a visit to your website. For many patients looking for an ECP, location and insurance participation are their first priorities. Often those criteria are met by many practices so other characteristics must be investigated. The search then becomes more subjective, but patients generally value office that appear convenient, modern/technologically-advanced and friendly.
It’s worth your time to critically examine the following items that contribute to the first impressions your new patients are likely to have. Better yet, have an unbiased third party give you feedback on these items as well!
- Confident and Competent Phone Work
Do your employees who answer the phone “with a smile”? Do they exhibit a “can-do” attitude? Are they knowledgeable about typical questions asked by a new patient with respect to insurance, office policies, etc.?
- Current, Attractive Website
Is your website up to date? Are there high quality photos and graphics? Do you offer online patient registration forms and scheduling?
- Accurate Listings
Are your directory listings with search engines accurate with respect to location and hours? Is there a link to your website?
- Helpful and Appreciative Touches
For those patients who do book an appointment, do you offer patient reminders via text and/or email in addition or instead of a phone call? Do you send a thank you after the appointment with a survey?
- Responding to Reviews
Are you doing everything possible to keep any online reviews positive and responding to both positive and negative reviews when appropriate?
Pro Tip: Most modern EHR systems offer options to create online scheduling and online patient registration forms. Patient desire for these conveniences is increasing. If you are not already offering this option on your website, work with your staff on removing the obstacles that stand in the way. Make it a priority to offer this patient convenience before the end of this year.