To ensure that you get your share of new patients (and then some), you should plan all aspects of their patient experience, from their first contact with your office to their first patient visit. Think of this as the New Patient Experience—a carefully planned, step-by-step process that lays the foundation for a strong, lasting, and productive relationship between the patient and your practice.
Here are the 3 essential steps you can take right now to ensure your patients have a positive patient experience.
1. The Initial New Patient Call
When the phone rings and the front desk coordinator realizes, the caller is a prospective new patient, he/she should launch immediately into a carefully scripted interaction. His/her objective is not only to appoint the caller (within 7 days) but also to accomplish much more:
- Display an enthusiastic, welcoming attitude that will make the patient feel comfortable about joining the practice.
- Collect the usual new patient information as well as other personal details that will serve as the basis for relationship building.
- Portray the doctor and practice in a positive manner to convey the value of joining the practice.
- Inform the patient that a coordinator will give a courtesy call 48 hours before an appointment to confirm.
2. The New Patient Orientation
Like the first call, the first visit to your office will help shape the patient-practice relationship for years to come. You should prep your staff in new patient orientation as part of your daily business meeting. We recommend that on the day of the first appointment, everyone welcome the new patient warmly by name. After introducing the amenities available in the reception area, the front desk coordinator should hand off the patient to the technician, who will continue the “tour” of the office.
3. The Comprehensive New Patient Exam
After you are introduced to the new patient, spend several minutes getting acquainted with the patient, drawing from the personal facts gathered in the first phone call. Then ask about the patient’s medical history and current condition before beginning the examination. Once you have established a person-to-person connection, showing your professionalism and caring attitude, conduct a comprehensive exam. Then use your findings to create an equally comprehensive treatment plan. This ideal treatment plan can then serve as a blueprint for need-based and elective, short-term and long-term services you can provide the patient for years to come.
By carefully planning the New Patient Experience, defining how you and your team treat each prospective new patient every step of the way, you will earn both loyalty and greater production.