How often does a patient visit your facility for an initial assessment, only for you to never see them again? This story is all too common in the outpatient rehabilitation industry. But the truth is that most patients won’t recognize the importance of their treatment without a little bit of help—and in this article, we’re going to give you 5 ways to ensure that your patients rebook after their initial assessment.
1) Make an outstanding first impression
First impressions are made within the first seven seconds of meeting someone. This means it is critical for your staff, be it your front desk person or your assistant therapists, to be friendly and approachable. But a patient’s first impression of your clinic won’t just be based on your staff’s friendliness alone—they’ll also be looking at the overall presentation of your clinic.
How comfortable are the chairs in the waiting room? How is the clinic decorated? Does it look modern? Did you offer them a drink when they arrived? A mint when they left? These are seemingly small things, but they play an important role in establishing a positive first impression.
2) Establish a personal connection with your patients
In many cases, the only reason a person will choose your facility over the rehab centre down the street is because of their personal connection to you and your staff. If not, they’re just going to go with the clinic that’s closest to their home, or the one that their friend recommended. To truly establish a connection with your patients, you’ll need to connect with them on a deeper level.
Take an interest in your patients and not just their injury. Instead of only talking to them about their diagnosis or your treatment plan, try inquiring about their hobbies and interests, too. Learn more about what you have in common. Ask them about their weekend plans, or find out what their kids are up to. Above all, don’t let the conversation revolve around their reason for being there. Doing this will help you to be seen not only as a service provider, but also as a trusted friend.
3) Portray yourself as an expert
Contrary to the above point, you’ll need to strike a balance between personal and professional. And on the professional side of things, it’s important to establish yourself as the expert. You want the patients to feel confident in your ability to restore them to working order.
Good ways to portray yourself as an expert (without coming off as a know-it-all) include: displaying your certifications in the office, sharing anecdotes about other patients you’ve helped recover from similar injuries, and giving them simple tips on how to cope with their injury.
4) Demonstrate the results of your treatment
The old adage “seeing is believing” is true—especially when it comes to rehabilitation therapy. Some patients have become so accustomed to living with pain that they can’t imagine a life without it. This disposition can present a hurdle when it comes to their treatment. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with this, such as demonstrating the results of your treatment.
The goal is to have the patient leave your facility feeling better than they did when they first arrived. Whether it’s something simple like a stretch, or something a little more complex like a physical manipulation, the patient will feel more inclined to return to your facility if they are able to see the results of your treatment for themselves.
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5) Schedule their next appointment before they leave
Best practices indicate that you shouldn’t let your patients leave your clinic before they schedule their next appointment! Instruct your front desk people to prompt them to schedule their next appointment before they leave. If they choose not to, or give some other kind of excuse, it’s best to follow-up with them after a week or two and see how they’re doing.
Hint: Did you know that Practice Perfect features a ‘Patient Fall-Off’ report? This report highlights all of the patients who have yet to schedule a new appointment following their initial evaluation. Contact support today to learn more.