Improving the bottom line is a top priority for all businesses, no matter the industry. However, this metric takes a different shape in healthcare. Healthcare facilities are often paid through reimbursements, so it’s no longer a simple exchange of money for services. Instead, patient loyalty plays a crucial role in an organization’s net earnings.
Patient Loyalty & The Bottom Line
It’s all too easy for healthcare professionals to discount loyalty and its effect on their overall earnings. In reality, though, loyalty plays a crucial role in an organization’s bottom line.
As of 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that individual healthcare consumers have an average lifetime value of $1.4 million. A family of four, on the other hand, has an average lifetime value of $4.3 million. While it’s impossible for any practice to earn the entirety of a patient’s lifetime value, it’s clear that keeping patients for as long as possible will improve a facility’s earnings.
When it comes to choosing a provider or where to get treated, patients have plenty of options to choose from, so how do you maintain their business? You offer a superior level of care both inside and outside of the examination room.
Patient Loyalty & The Power of Experience
Patients who have exceptional experiences are five times more likely to return. A negative experience, on the other hand, will likely drive a patient away, even if they’ve been going to a particular practice for years. A study by The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions showed that high patient-reported experience scores correlated with higher profitability. Highly rated hospitals also earned disproportionately more than they spent, compared to lower-ranked hospitals.
Providing patients with positive experiences is the best way to increase loyalty. Having loyal patients will then improve your bottom line as well as continuity of care. There’s another outcome, though. Patients who are deeply loyal to a particular provider are quick to recommend them to friends and family. Simply put, they become promoters.
What Is a Net Promoter Score?
A net promoter score (NPS) comes from a simple calculation that determines how many patients are promoters of your brand.
Ask them one question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this practice to someone in your network?” The score they give will classify them as a promoter (9-10), passive (7-8), or detractor (0-6). To calculate your NPS, subtract the percentage of patients who are detractors from the percentage who are promoters. The higher the NPS, the more loyal the patients are likely to be and the better your bottom line.
Improving Your Net Promoter Score
If your NPS is less than ideal, there are a few ways to increase it. First, collect feedback from your patients and, then, pass that feedback along to the staff or physicians who need to hear it. If you make changes based on the feedback you receive, you can improve your score. A small increase in NPS can have a major impact on your bottom line, but it can be hard to get patients to give feedback. One way to increase your chances of receiving feedback is to leverage psychographic data.
The psychographic segmentation model used by PatientBond puts healthcare consumers into one of five segments based on their attitudes, lifestyle and preferences. This knowledge can help you understand your patients’ feelings toward healthcare so you can tailor your services to their unique needs and ensure they have a positive experience. Remember: positive experiences increase patient loyalty which, in turn, increases the bottom line.
Psychographic segmentation can also reveal your patients’ preferred methods of communication. Do they prefer emails over texts? Or are they more responsive to a phone call? When you ask them for feedback through these channels, you’re more likely to get a response and improve your organization’s NPS.
PatientBond’s engagement platform was designed to help healthcare organizations communicate with patients in the best way possible for the patient. It begins by recommending channels that match a patient’s segment. As the patient responds and interacts, the platform further tailors communications to align with their unique preferences.
For example, say your patient is a Direction Taker, which sees their doctor as the best source out there, and you’re a primary care physician looking to follow-up with them after their visit. Based on the 2018 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, they are statistically more likely to prefer to communicate via live phone call, so you determine that your optimal approach is that option. If that doesn’t appeal to them personally, the platform will tailor their communication preferences based on the other channels they prefer, so they may get an email or a text the next time around.
No matter what, you’re on the right path to connecting with your patients the most effective way possible. By appealing to their psychographics and narrowing down their preferred ways to engage with you, your patients become more loyal.
By emphasizing patient experience and patient loyalty, healthcare facilities can improve their bottom line. Not only can you count on consistent patients, but you can create a group of promoters who are eagerly recommending you to their network.
For more ways to increase patient loyalty, download our case study.