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Bringing Your Patients Back

Reopening Your Practice: Getting Patients to Return & Attracting New Patients

You’ve put up sanitization stations in every room, rearranged your lobby, and trained your staff on social distancing protocols. Your practice is ready to welcome patients back into the office.

But they may not be coming back, at least not yet. As long as COVID-19 is part of our daily lives, simply “building” a safe environment won’t be enough to bring your patient volume up to pre-COVID levels. You will need to proactively reach out to patients, as well.  

Why aren’t patients returning? 

For weeks we’ve been told to stay home as much as possible. It’s understandable that people are still hesitant to venture out more than absolutely necessary, even to receive medical care. Many are avoiding the doctor’s office in particular because they fear it is a breeding ground for the coronavirus. A Gallup poll in April found that 83% of patients are moderately to very concerned about exposure to COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or hospital. 

As a result, patients are choosing to forgo medical treatment and manage their health issues on their own, with mixed results.  

Engage to reassure 

Delaying medical care can lead to serious problems later down the road. For the benefit of your practice and your patients, take the initiative and invite your patients back, especially those with chronic conditions or who have delayed elective or preventive procedures. 
 

  • Engage one-on-one: Reach out by phone and email to individual patients to check up on how they’re doing and to schedule appointments as needed. 
     

  • Mass communications: Be active online. This includes everything from updating your website to posting on social media. Anything you post online reminds the digital world you’re open for business.  
     

Keep patients in the loop 

If you want patients to feel comfortable returning, you need to tell them what you’re doing to protect everyone from COVID-19. Part of your reopening strategy should include communicating your plan—in multiple formats. Consider sending a mass email out to everyone in your database detailing your plan, and be sure to update your website too. You might want to create a short phone recording for after hours as well. 

Your communications don’t have to be strictly related to COVID-19. Keep patients up to date on anything that’s happening at your practice. 

Embrace virtual tools 

Technology kept us connected when most of the country was shut down, and it will continue to be a valuable resource.  
 

  • Providers started using telehealth in droves when the pandemic hit, and the patient response to this type of visit is very positive. So offer telehealth as an option to those who don’t require a face-to-face visit, especially high-risk individuals. 

  • Other parts of a visit can be completed online as well. You can send charges to patients before a telehealth visit using LinkPay, and patients can pay you online at anytime at MyProviderLink.com.  

  • Automate what can be automated. Set up automatic payments or a payment plan for patients who are interested. This gives them one less thing to worry about and ensures you receive timely payments. 
     

COVID-19 has forced healthcare organizations to update many out-of-date process, especially how billing & payments are handled. This is a win-win for your practice, however. Patients are eager for the option to pay their bills online, and you will be paid much faster. 

Watch your efforts pay off 
 

It may take longer than you would like to fill your office with patients, but gradually they will come back. Ramping up your engagement with patients now will pay off and help your practice settle into a more secure place financially. 
 

To learn more about how you can manage your patient billing & payments online, contact us at Sales@BillFlash.com or 435-940-9123.

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Connecting with patients during a pandemic

  • Let patients know what’s happening at your practice—keep them informed. Patients want answers. 

  • Increase marketing efforts 

  • Use appointment reminders as an education tool 

Decreasing no-show patients: 

  • Automated appointment reminders (patients prefer this over a phone call) 

  • Can reduce no-shows by up to 25% 

  • Use reminders to educate patients on what you’re doing to keep patients safe 

Why patients are putting off care:

  • Limit exposure to COVID 

  • Puts them at risk for more serious complications in the long run 

  • COVID phobia 

  • Believe doctor’s offices are unsafe/breeding ground for the virus. 

  • This has created a new spike in the number of non-Covid deaths 

  • 34% drop nationwide in 911 calls as patients try to deal with symptoms on their own, which typically doesn’t turn out well for the patient 

  • Drop in seeking emergency care leads to upswing in related deaths

How to help “lost patients”

  • Reach out by phone or email 

  • See how they’re doing, especially your chronically ill patients 

  • Billable for you, and encourages patients to seek care for non-covid issues 

  • Remind them you’re available virtually 

  • Reassure them of your response plan that protects staff and patients from covid 

  • Be proactive—don’t just wait for them to come to you 

Tout high satisfaction with telehealth

  • Some patients don’t know telehealth is an option for them 

  • If you’re using it but don’t have high adoption rates, make sure your patients are aware of it 

  • Demand will not decrease after Covid 

  • Gov. may make relaxed regulations permanent 

NexTrust offers integrated BillFlash Patient Billing & Payments Services to help you get paid. 

For more information or to see a demonstration, contact NexTrust at 

 

435-940-9123

sales@billflash.com

www.billflash.com