4 ways to retain your patients

Waiting room
To keep patients, make your office comfortable and keep wait times at a minimum.

The longer patients stay with a doctor, the more likely they won’t jump ship and abandon the long-term relationship for another physician.

However, there are times when patients are compelled to switch providers, according to Medical Economics. A recent study (PDF) from Weatherby Healthcare offered insight into why patients make a change. Here are some tips on how to keep your patients:

Have a positive attitude. The study found a quarter of patients are likely to switch doctors if they find a physician with a more positive attitude. The two highest impact moments in interacting with your patients are the first and last, according to the article, so pay particular attention to when you first meet your patient and in your parting comments.

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Don’t keep patients waiting too long. Another big reasons for patient dissatisfaction is time wasted in the waiting room, Bill Heller, Weatherby president, told the publication. So be careful about overbooking and try to reduce wait times.

Make your office comfortable. Almost 80% of survey respondents said design and lack of comfort of a facility is a reason people leave a doctor. Just as hotels do, update your facility periodically.

RELATED: Communicate empathetically with patients for better satisfaction scores, researchers say

Ensure good communication. About a third of all patients in the study were unhappy with the communication they were receiving from their doctors. Researchers seeking the "secret" to patient satisfaction may have unearthed it: Effective, empathetic communication with patients makes them much more satisfied with their care experience. Researchers at Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas, recently delved into patient experience surveys and found that patients who rated their surgeons highly for empathy were likely to have an overall positive view of them.

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