Whether you work in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology or any other discipline, good patient relationship management (PRM) is key to ensure loyalty, satisfaction, and repeat visits from your clients.
Good clinic management software can be a powerful way to focus on patient relationship management and to see real, measurable results for the work you put into building relationships with your patients.
If you’re on your own, you may be able to maintain strong relationships without additional software. But for growing clinics, a robust patient management solution is a must.
What is patient relationship management?
Patient relationship management helps attract new patients to your pediatric therapy practice while preventing dropout and delivering better outcomes for every client who walks through your doors. Establishing a PRM is an important part of your clinic’s business strategy.
In pediatric therapy, your relationship with the caregiver can be just as important as your relationship with your patient. In almost all cases, the caregiver is the one who will be making the decision about whether or not to continue seeing you for treatment.
What is PRM software?
PRM software enables larger clinics to track patients through their entire journeys. It is the system that will allow you to shepherd a brand-new referral through to becoming a loyal, satisfied patient and caregiver who bring in referrals themselves.
However, it’s important to note that patient relationship management is different from patient engagement. The term “patient engagement” is used to refer to how interested a patient is throughout their journey with you, along with their participation and buy-in. Meanwhile, patient relationship management is focused on nurturing patient engagement through meaningful interactions.
What are the benefits of good patient relationship management?
No matter what size your clinic (and whether or not you choose to invest in PRM software) there are many reasons to instill good PRM practices throughout your clinic from your front desk staff to your therapists.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll realize after strengthening your PRM processes.
You’ll keep your cash flow stable.
Typically, most practitioners look to bring in new clients when they think about increasing revenue. However, while new referrals will certainly play a role in your practice’s income, repeat business from your current clients plays an even bigger role.
The cost of acquiring new clients constantly is substantially more expensive than keeping a current client on-board and returning to use your services. Your clinic’s referral rate will fluctuate, and that will cause instability if you depend too heavily on new referrals for your primary source of income.
On the other hand, getting current patients to consistently come to their appointments makes for a much more reliable income stream.
Your patients and their caregivers will be more loyal.
You can also leverage your PRM system to cultivate evangelists. Those are the loyal clients who will praise your clinic whenever someone is willing to listen. A PRM helps to create these evangelists organically, which in turn leads to significantly more referrals. The number of referrals you receive will continue to snowball as more referrals turn into loyal clients thanks to your PRM.
Patients will take on a more active role in their treatment.
Many providers struggle to motivate and engage their patients to take on a more active role with their therapeutic care. A PRM will help to engage them by sending targeted messages to your patients. These messages will contain information relevant to the patient’s treatment plan or their specific condition, which will help educate them.
These messages will also work to re-emphasize how important it is that they are actively participating in their therapy plan. By giving them the resources and tools they need to be an active participant (i.e., an interactive exercise plan they can do at home), you can promote improved outcomes for your patients.
Patients will enjoy working with you more.
You are far from your patient’s only option when it comes to therapeutic care. That means, if they decide at any point that they aren’t happy with an experience they have had with your clinic, they can walk away and find someone else to assist them. Many clinics think this is unlikely.
However, according to a survey by the Altarum Institute, nearly 60% of patients said that they have switched providers in the past because they felt unsatisfied with their service or treatment. By improving your patient engagement through a PRM system, you can increase patient retention through an improved experience that keeps them in-the-loop and actively participating in their treatment.
Many PRM systems will even enable you to survey patients, which will allow you to take informed actions based on their feedback. A survey will also help a patient feel like they are being heard, and it can identify communication issues or other problems that are lowering the client’s satisfaction.
Get a better grip on your reputation.
With surveys and other information constantly being collected about your clients through your patient management system, you will have critical data at your fingertips that you can leverage to identify your top patients and then reach out to them for additional feedback.
This is helpful because your most loyal clients are going to be the people most willing to provide referrals and share a positive testimonial for your clinic. This will help you build your clinic’s reputation and it will also help improve your visibility in SERPs (search engine results pages).
This will, in turn, help you attract new patients to your practice. In one survey, Software Advice found that a staggering 82% of patients will read online reviews to research a new healthcare providers before reaching out to them.
In other words, being able to manage and improve your online reputation through a patient management system will help you increase revenue while producing more satisfied clients.
Maintain Good Relationships At Your Clinic
Your clinic needs to track and assist clients throughout their journey with you. Not only will it help you know whether or not clients are satisfied, it’ll also help you boost satisfaction and improve patient outcomes across the board.
Don’t neglect this important aspect of clinic’s success!