I talk to a lot of clinic owners and when I ask them what their biggest challenge is, they often tell me it's their patient engagement.
According to Strive Labs, 20% of patients drop out in 3 visits and never come back again. That's a lot of new patients who self discharged and never came back to your clinic.
I’ve previously written quite a number of blogs on this topic:
- Why do patients self discharge and what to do about it
- How to measure patient satisfaction and boost referrals
- How to boost patient compliance that drive repeat visits
These blogs also have the highest open and click through rates, which just confirms that it’s a topic you may need help with too.
As a clinic owner, you spent a lot of money on marketing or building your brand (aka word of mouth). When a patient comes to your clinic and sees YOU, they stick around and complete their entire plan of care. And they even come back for massage therapy, buy that knee brace you recommended, and give you a 5 star Google review - they are the perfect patient.
Where the problem lies is when the new patients see one of your clinicians. Because your clinic is expanding, you seem to give your practitioners tons of new patients, but for some reason they can't keep them. Your leaky patient funnel is causing these patients to self discharge after the third visit and never come back again. Even worse, they may leave you a bad review which will affect your brand.
What are you to do?
Well, you certainly don’t want to do nothing. As you know, it’s super competitive out there so you can’t afford to lose new patients who come into your clinic. You want to make sure you maximize your marketing dollars and have every patient complete their care plan and keep coming back for more.
So let’s talk about:
- What this metric is and how to use it
- How to make sure your metric works to boost engagement
- How doing this right can double your revenues
Let’s dive in…
Boost Your Patient Engagement With This Metric
You can measure your patient engagement with this metric: “Booked To Prescribed”
I’ll walk you through exactly how to do that in just a moment.
First though, let me just say that this metric is one I used for years when I co-founded a netwwork of 100 clinics throughout Canada. I used this metric to manage my clinicians, to see who was talking about treatment plans with their patients, and to monitor whether patients were following up on their plans.
Start With A Treatment Plan
One of the biggest problems is, most new patients don't have a treatment plan.
When you don't have a treatment plan for the patient, they see you as ‘winging it,’ and it makes them think that they may need to come and see you forever. You haven’t set any clear parameters. And this leaves the patients on uneasy ground.
This is quite the opposite effect that most clinicians want and feel. Typically clinicians are scared to tell patients about treatment plans because they don't want to be held accountable for success (or failure). And they think that by telling the patient HOW MANY treatments it will take, the patients may have objections because they may not have the money.
Here’s the thing, as a clinician, you are NOT your patients financial advisor, you are meant to be their most trusted health advisor. They want and need your recommendations and advice. And that all starts with a treatment plan.
Now, let’s move on to the metric I love to use and how to use it.
Booked to Perscribed Metric
This patient engagement metric measures two aspects:
Booked: How many treatment sessions did this patient booking at the end of the initial assessment
Prescribed: How many treatment sessions did the clinician prescribed in the treatment plan at the end of the initial assessment
In a nutshell, this metrics tells you whether your patient is following your treatment plan.
How to Use This Metric
These are a few things to be aware of when gathering this metric, things you can fix to make sure you boost your patient engagement.
1. No Treatment Plans
If the booked number is 0 or 1, this means your clinician is not recommending any treatment plans for the patient and is ‘winging it.’ Remember, this is NOT what you want!
In most cases, this should be an easy fix because all you have to do is get your clinicians to provide treatment plans on the initial assessment.
You can use this compliance form to make it easier.
2. Patients Don't Trust You and Your Plan
If your booked visits don’t equal your prescribed visits - for example, 8 prescribed and 1 booked - this means you either have a front desk problem (they are not booking), or more likely the patient was not happy with their initial assessment and their treatment program.
If this occurs, you will need to coach and work with your clinicians on how they do their assessment and how they can get the patient engaged and committed to their treatment plan
3. Inadequate Treatment Plans
Look at the number of prescribed treatment plans that are 5 or less.
Only 20% of your patients prescribed should be less than 5. On average, most patients usually have a prescribed treatment plan of 10.
BUT, when initially looking at this data, most clinics will see that 80% of their treatment plans will be 5 or less. If that’s your case, you need to fix this because it means your clinic is under treating or your clinicians are not offering patients a solid treatment plan.
DON'T UNDER TREAT CLIENTS!
When patients come to your clinic, they are usually in pain and have a problem. They have gone to all the effort to seek out someone who can help. So advise them on what to do and aim for a minimum of 10 sessions in the treatment plan.
Over my years in clinic operations, I found that new patients will usually book what the clinicians prescribed. The clinicians have to let go of their stupid fears, stop ‘winging it’ with patients, and give them a solid plan so they completely believe they are in good hands.
What they don’t want is for you to be just like every physiotherapist or chiropractor in the past that has ‘winged it’ the whole way. Because in the past that didn't work for them!
Your goal as a clinic owner is to coach your clinicians and give them the confidence they need to offer solid treatment plans to patients that are going to get results. And more importantly, coaching them how they can communicate that message to patients effectively.
3 Action Steps to Boosting Your Patient Engagement
What are you to do now then?
Follow these 3 steps to put this patient engagement plan into action:
1) You can measure the ‘Booked to Prescribed’ metric by using a new patient registry. Each day you would create a Google spreadsheet and collect this information for every initial assessment.
2) Every clinician should be using a ‘New Patient Compliance’ form.
3) Every week, you want to see how many new patients have a % prescribed of 5 or less.
As I said before, most clinics will have 80%. That means 80% of new patients have a treatment plan prescribed with less than 5 visits for follow up. Look at which clinician is doing the worst and meet with them to provide them with coaching.
Review the patient's file together and review their treatment plans and recommend perscribes.
Track your metrics every week and meet with your worst offenders on a weekly basis and see whether you can change this number.
If you can get your clinicians to double their prescribes from 5 to 10, you would double your revenues without having to add any more new patients. This means if your clinic is doing $500K in revenue, it would go to $1M.
This is possible.
But you have to be active in measuring and tracking the data, and then fixing the leaky patient funnel so you can maximize performance at every clinician/ patient touch point.
With what I've shared above, you now have a system to do that!