How to Leverage Patient Data to Communicate Better and Reduce Patient Churn


August 14th, 2020

Your patient data is a valuable asset. You can easily leverage it to drive relevant communications and marketing messages to reduce patient churn.

patient churn

Healthcare organizations often have an untapped resource—their patient data. It can provide you many opportunities to engage or re-engage them. You have to think of patients in the same way that brands think of customers. The reality is that patient churn is happening. Leveraging your patient data can help you create better bonds, proactively taking on churn. 

What Is Patient Churn?

Providers of all kinds—doctors, dentists, and pharmacists—all experience patient churn. Patient churn describes the percentage of patients who leave your care. You can measure it with this equation:

Churn Rate = Expected Visit Count – Actual Visit Count/Expected Visit Count x 100

It’s about comparing your expectations based on previous data to the actual number of patients you assist.

What Causes Patient Churn?

The loss of patients can happen for many reasons. Some of which are outside of your control. People move, find cures, and lose their insurance. But that probably represents a small portion of your churn. 

By digging deep into your data, you may find patterns that explain attrition. For example, you may find that you lost patients because you no longer accept an insurance plan. There may have reasons for dropping that plan, but there will always be consequences. 

So, you can’t correct course on these things. But again, you may find that when you look at patient data, much of the churn is unknown. You can run a report of patients you haven’t seen in the last six months or some other time period. Those with higher frequency patient visits can adjust. For example, pharmacies typically see patients once a month. A practice that cares for chronic disease patients may expect to see them every three months. 

It’s still a puzzle, but now you have some parameters. And you can use this to develop better communication and marketing practices.

Communicating Better

Connecting with patients doesn’t happen only when you see them. Communication should be on-going. The good thing is you have all their contact information, so you have channels, including mail and email. 

Patient communication can include many different messages, including:

  • Visit follow-ups that go over instructions 
  • Promotions (i.e., coupons for the pharmacy, discounts for cosmetic procedures)
  • Public health information, such as COVID-19 updates
  • Happenings at your practice or pharmacy (i.e., new staff, new procedures)

Your patients would likely find value in any of this information. These communications are also a perfect way to re-engage. That’ has a lot to do with segmenting.

Segmenting Patient Data

patient churn letter

Earlier, we discussed pulling reports to try to discern churn. There are many other things you can do with your data through analysis. You may find patterns that seem to indicate churn like a history of rescheduling appointments or other behaviors. 

Just as any brand assesses the behaviors of customers, healthcare needs to do the same. Every patient is a customer. They have options. Failure to deliver great care and service could be the root of your churn. 

Targeted communications can help. Suppose you group patients into buckets based on their behaviors and activities. In that case, you can personalize your message to them. 

Here’s a scenario. Let’s say you’re a pharmacy, and you want to re-engage patients that haven’t returned in six months but take at least one daily medicine for a chronic disease. In those six months, you haven’t received a transfer request, either. Patients in this bucket are high-risk. You should immediately send them a letter that expresses concern and incentivizes them to return. 

Reduce Patient Churn with a Strategy of Communications

Consistent and meaningful communication with patients is a strategic solution to reducing patient churn. It’s not an easy endeavor. It requires time which you probably don’t have. You’re also probably not a data expert. And that’s okay because we are. 

We can provide you with data analytics relating to your patient data and deploy direct print solutions. First-class envelopes arrive in your patient’s mailbox, standing out against junk mail. Letters like these can be extremely valuable in curtailing churn!

Learn more about how we help pharmacists, doctors, and dentists be better marketers!

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