WHEN WILL YOUR PATIENTS COME BACK?
Laventure surveyed more than 200 North Dakotans online asking for their thoughts on re-engaging with their health care providers and scheduling elective visits and procedures.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
|Have skipped a health care visit or treatment
||Are not yet ready to make appointments with providers
||Every practice type failed to receive 50% recognition as safe to reopen
||The public expects providers to prove and communicate safe practices
The COVID-19 shut down has caused many elective health care providers significant revenue hardship as patients passed up eye or dental appointments, physical therapy sessions, joint replacement, or other procedures. As the economy begins to restart, what will it take to bring those patients (and revenue) back to your practice? Properly preparing your practice and staff, coupled with a thoughtful communications strategy, is imperative in restoring patience confidence.
Recently, Laventure collected data through an online survey from April 24-26 of health care consumers in North Dakota to gauge confidence levels for health care practices as they look to resume normal operations following a nearly two-month shutdown. Some key findings:
- Nearly half (48.2%) of the respondents indicated they postponed or skipped an elective health care procedure because of the pandemic;
- Only 30% of the respondents had confidence that their elective health practitioners were ready to reopen and resume normal operations;
- More alarming, only 29% said they were ready to resume making routine appointments;
- And 34.2% said they weren’t ready to make appointments at all or they will wait to see what measures their providers will take to protect health and safety of patients and employees.
- Approximately 35% or respondents indicated they will take a wait and see approach in the coming months.
These results point to a current lack of patient confidence in elective health care procedures, including dental and vision, physical therapy, orthopedic, psychiatry, and other services. Patients and clients need reassurance from their health care providers to begin resuming normal appointments and ease apprehension of returning to normal visits. Practitioners must overcome an overwhelming amount of misinformation from media sources about the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic – even as our economy restarts.
So what will it take to restore patient confidence for them to make that appointment? In addition to following CDC and State guidelines, it is imperative to communicate to your current and future patients through targeted marketing and specialized messaging. Health care providers should implement a coordinated, sensitive, strategic communication plan as soon as the practice is ready to accept patients.
You are rightfully concerned about what steps to take to gain the trust of your patients or customers. Regardless of what any governing body, local, state or federal, says; it will ultimately be the customer that will dictate how and when your business will recover from the COVID-19 shut down. It’s time to reach current and future patients and communicate your plans for the “new” normal and offer reassurance that you are ready for their visit.
THE NEXT STEPS
- Determine new safe procedures and set the reopen date for your practice
- Engage professionals to reach potential patients near your practice with a digital marketing and communications plan for reopening
- Continue to communicate safe practices and appointment availability with the public after your practice reopens