Healthcare providers know that regular exams, treatments, and tests are highly important for patients’ long-term health. And yet, many patients will only visit their physicians when they are sick or have urgent medical needs. Specialists who offer aesthetic services can also struggle to get patients to come as often as recommended, which can negatively affect treatment results and patient satisfaction.
The good news is there are ways healthcare providers can encourage patients to book regular appointments. Read on to learn more.
1. Schedule Appointments at Checkout
Patients are most likely to think about follow-up visits immediately following their initial appointments. Therefore, there’s no better time to encourage patients to book their next visit than before they leave your practice.
Always instruct your patients to speak to a front desk representative before leaving — even if they don’t owe any payment. Doing so will increase the chances they will book right away.
If patients have received a treatment that works best when repeated at certain intervals — like laser hair removal — be sure your front desk can clearly explain the importance of scheduling follow-up appointments. Reminding patients they’ll likely see better results if they visit consistently can be key in turning them into regulars.
2. Send Reminder Emails
For whatever reason, some patients will not want to schedule appointments before they leave a practice. For these types of patients, the burden lies with healthcare providers to remind them when they are due for a visit.
Always keep track of when patients are next due at your practice. As the date approaches, send reminder emails that encourage them to book. If your practice offers online scheduling, ensure the email includes a hyperlink to your website so patients can schedule appointments in just a few clicks. If you do not offer online scheduling, include your phone number so patients can call to schedule.
If you have not collected patient email addresses, you can send reminder postcards through the mail. Some healthcare providers have patients fill out their information on reminder postcards while waiting for appointments to start or before leaving the practice. If your front office is already overwhelmed with tasks and can’t take on a mailing project without help, this could be a strategy to borrow.
3. Educate Patients About the Importance of Regular Appointments
Healthy adults — particularly healthy young adults — often do not see the value in regular visits with their doctors. To draw these types of patients in, you need to educate them about the importance of regular appointments.
There are a variety of ways you can share educational materials with your patients. If you have collected patient emails, for example, you can send a monthly or quarterly newsletter that features information from reputable healthcare sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the American Public Health Association (APHA) about the importance of checkups. You can also do this on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
If you have a blog on your website, you can post information detailing why consistency is key for specific treatments your practice offers.
4. Use Discounts and Promotions
If your practice offers aesthetic treatments, then you should consider using discounts and promotions to encourage patient visits. Patients can get treatments like Botox and chemical peels just about anywhere, so you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure patients stick with your practice.
Discount programs might include offering 10% off if the patient books their next appointment at checkout, or offering 15% off when a patient who has not booked in a year schedules an appointment.
Promotions might include selling out-of-pocket services in pre-paid packages. For example, patients can purchase five laser hair removal sessions for the price of four. You can use other marketing tools, such as email and social media, to advertise your promotions to relevant patients.
For more tips on drawing patients in, check out the blog “How Healthcare Providers Can Win Back Lost Patients in 3 Steps.”