Top 3 Strategies to Increase Patient Activation and Bring Them Back to the Office

When considering how to increase patient activation, consider that some patients may have more questions than others depending on their condition, and attention to detail goes a long way

From falling schedules to pandemics to simple patient attrition, many chiropractic and healthcare clinics are working diligently to bring patients back to care and figure out how to increase patient activation.

David McNeil, President of PatientPop, is working to help practices thrive in these extraordinary times. McNeil took the time to answer our questions about returning patients, and the following is our interview edited for length and clarity.

For chiropractors, COVID has left them with a number of patients who have stopped coming into the office. What is one of the most important strategies for reactivation?

First, if you don’t already have one, appoint a small crisis response team to help manage your practice’s procedures and communication as the country grapples with the spread of variants. Your patients want information that will help them feel safer when they come to your practice for care. They also want information that will help them make informed decisions about postponing care, if necessary.

Your crisis response team will serve as the primary source of information for your practice and your patients to maintain consistency in your messages about chiropractic care at this time, internally and externally. Even if this team is small, meet frequently to review new information to determine how you want to communicate to your extended team and patients. Communicate with your staff first about any changes in policies, procedures and appointments. Also share the reasons why you made specific decisions and be clear with your staff about what can and cannot be communicated to patients.

Then, communicate frequently with your patients to help them make decisions about their care now. Unfortunately, there is a lot of medical misinformation on the web. Yet, as a healthcare professional, you can fight medical misinformation by sharing information from trusted sources, including your state government’s websites for local news, WHO, AMA or your state chiropractic association. You may also share information from trusted sources known for their accuracy, including The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal.

How can chiropractors manage how to increase patient activation during a pandemic or other health care emergencies?

As a best practice, provide timely and relevant information about variants to your patients via email, your website, social media accounts, and text messages from your practice. Phone calls may also be required; some patients may have more questions than others depending on their condition, and the attention to detail goes a long way.

Finally, when communicating with patients about coming to the practice for an appointment, think about what is most important to them. Put yourself in their shoes; what would you like to know now? Most likely, your patients want to know:

  • Changes in appointment procedures. Are there any changes in the appointment procedures? Since chiropractic care does not lend itself well to virtual appointments, most of your patients will expect to see you in your practice. Will they have to wait in their car before the appointment, instead of your waiting room? Will their temperature be taken on arrival? Are patients allowed to bring anyone? Will the masks be worn for the duration of the appointment by the chiropractor and the patient?
  • Cleaning procedures. Has the office maintained or increased its sanitation efforts with the arrival of the Delta variant? What are the office and treatment room cleaning procedures?
  • Preferred methods of contact and communication. If there are immediate changes in the health and safety of a patient or provider, how will this be communicated? Many patients rely on a patient portal to communicate with their chiropractor, but other options may work better at this time, with changing variables due to COVID-19. Texting and phone calls may be a better option.

How will these strategies make a difference in patient behaviors?

Ideally, you are seen as an expert and a trusted voice in your community. Communicating often with your patients and community helps instill patient confidence and promotes consistent appointment and visit volumes.

For patients, knowing who to contact for reliable information among many options can be overwhelming. Determining the most relevant information to share with patients and the best communication tools is crucial for chiropractors. When considering how to increase patient activation, it is an opportunity to connect with patients, improve patient experience, and build long-term practice loyalty.

What mediums should chiropractors use to spread the word?

Use multiple channels to keep patients informed; you will reach more people. Here are the best communication tools to spread the word:

Your practice site — Keeping your website up to date with COVID-19 and variant information serves two business purposes: First, it improves your chances of appearing and ranking well in search results by answering COVID-19 queries. 19. Second, it positions your chiropractic practice as a vital online information reference for local patients.

If you haven’t already, create a dedicated page (or section) on your practice website for COVID-19 updates, add it to your site’s navigation, and update the content too. often as needed. This makes it easy for patients to find what they need, whether they’re new to your site (that’s the majority) or returning.

For urgent or timely information, consider creating a “sticky” banner that appears at the top of every site page and links directly to your COVID-19 page(s) or online appointment scheduler. If you use SMS reminders, link to these pages in your messages.

Social media – A comprehensive social media strategy allows you to reach patients where they spend a lot of time, especially during the pandemic. Specifically, channels like Facebook and YouTube can be great platforms for sharing information about COVID-19 in an immediate way.

As a community-oriented social media platform, Facebook is great for spreading information about your practice. Use Facebook to share details with your local patients as soon as you have them. Since posts have a timestamp, users can immediately see the latest information.

YouTube is a great choice for archiving information via video and putting your personality and brand front and center with potential patients.

Two-way text messaging with patients – In the 2021 PatientPop survey, two-thirds of patients (66%) prefer text messages when receiving medical appointment reminders. In addition, 59% of patients would also like to receive SMS reminders to book their next appointment.

If you need to remind patients of regular chiropractic care that they may have postponed or avoided, a text message from your practice is ideal. When you text, include direct links to schedule appointments online or call your office in one click from a mobile device. Since the pandemic has increased the frequency of texting and smartphone use, a text message is likely to be seen and elicit a response when assessing how to increase patient activation.

Blog posts — If you have a blog on your practice website, create posts related to the most common COVID-19 questions and concerns you hear from patients. Embed this content in other blog topics as well. A steady stream of blog posts can educate and inform potential patients who ask questions about chiropractic care on Google or other popular search engines and help them find your practice.

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