Whether you’re a private practice, running a hospital, or participating in a specialty healthcare setting, your facility will only be successful if you have a regular stream of patients who trust your work. Whether people want to talk about it or not, the healthcare industry is very much a business that requires marketing.

If you take a look at the digital best practices of businesses in other sectors, you would likely see them trying to balance effectively reaching a target audience while also improving customer loyalty and retention.

While it’s important to attract new patients to your practice, retaining them might be even more essential. Patients who trust your facility, your staff, and your message are more likely to become brand ambassadors for you. They’ll also end up costing you less money when it comes to your marketing efforts.

Thankfully, in today’s tech-forward society, you can leverage digital tools and techniques to enhance patient retention.

Build Trust With Better Cybersecurity Practices

You can’t jump into digital marketing practices without first making sure you’re prioritizing patient and practice safety. That starts by ensuring your team is well-versed on how to keep important data safe. Data security is essential in every industry, but it’s especially important in the healthcare sector since people are trusting your practice with extremely private and personal information. Common threats within the medical field include:

  • Phishing scams;
  • Malware;
  • Ransomware.

Now that more practices are offering telehealth services, cybersecurity has become even more important, since hackers are always looking for ways to tap into patient portals and steal crucial data.

Invest in cybersecurity training for your employees that will pass on peace of mind to your patients. Some of the best practices for cybersecurity training include understanding the risks of security breaches, understanding different threats, and having a plan in place to respond quickly if there is a data breach.

Tailor your training courses to your practice and to different employees. Your front desk receptionist might need to know different things than a medical intern, since they’ll utilize technology differently every day. Most importantly, make sure everyone’s training is up-to-date. Technology changes and evolves at a rapid rate, and cybercriminals are working around the clock to stay ahead of those changes. You need to do the same, which requires ongoing training and refresher courses.

Use Automation to Keep Patients Engaged

When your patients know their information is safe, they’re more likely to engage with the technology you offer as a practice. But, you might not have the manpower or the staff skills to practice online engagement around the clock. Short of hiring a marketing team with the sole purpose of monitoring digital engagement, there aren’t many options that will make your patients feel seen, heard, and valued 24/7 – except automation.

Automation is currently being utilized in just about every industry, from aerospace to agriculture. The healthcare industry can take advantage of it in a variety of ways, including patient engagement. Some marketing tasks require human effort, while others are more routine and can be handled by software programs. Automation will set your practice at a faster pace than your competitors and it will help you stay in touch with your existing patients more frequently. That helps to build relationships and trust while improving retention.

Some of the best ways to utilize automation when it comes to improving patient retention include:

  • Creating patient personas;
  • Collecting data;
  • Managing contacts;
  • Sending emails;
  • Scheduling newsletters;
  • Scheduling reminders.

By staying consistently engaged with your patients and encouraging regular interaction, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with you and your practice and are less likely to drift elsewhere when they feel like you’re looking out for them.

Collect Data – and Use It

Speaking of how your patients feel about your practice – do you know? One of the best ways to find out is through data collection. Data can be used to increase the profitability of your practice as it gives you a larger handle on how your business is performing at large. It’s also a great way to determine whether or not you are meeting or exceeding your patient’s expectations. The more accurate data you collect from patients, the easier it will be to organize and analyze it, so you can make effective changes that really speak to your patients’ needs.

Some of the easiest and most effective ways to collect patient data for retention purposes include surveys and questionnaires, email blasts, feedback sections on your website and social media, and follow-up reviews that allow your patients to rate you after a visit. Encourage comments and constructive criticism. What do your patients appreciate, and what could you be doing better?

Data collection is a fantastic way to make sure your practice is running optimally. But, it also allows you to implement suggestions from your patients, even in non-digital settings. For example, a practice can improve patient retention by making things more convenient and comfortable, by showing more empathy, and by having a top-notch front desk crew that sets the tone for your practice. If your patients have suggested they want more of a connection with your team, make sure you’re putting that (and other) suggestions in place. Everyone wants to feel heard and valued.

Using technology to your advantage, you can go far beyond simply attracting new patients to your practice. You can build lasting, healthy relationships with your existing patients, helping to ensure they’ll keep returning for all of their healthcare needs for years to come.

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