The shifting health care landscape and changes in consumer behavior have helped make patient retention the foundation for hospital success. Is your hospital using innovative and cost-effective strategies to improve patient retention?
A Shifting Health Care Landscape
In the business world, retaining current customers is much more attractive than enticing new ones because it is not only easier, but also cheaper. Not surprisingly, the health care industry reflects the same principle. For the average hospital, it costs 90% less to retain current patients than to attract new ones.
Though hospital leaders understand that patient retention is a significant business concern, it is a much more complex issue than it appears at first glance. Major shifts in the health care industry have moved patient retention, or “patient volume leakage,” to the forefront of hospital business challenges – playing a greater role in the financial success of a hospital than in previous eras.
Government and commercial payers are tightening reimbursements and squeezing hospital margins —making every patient (and every patient lost) count. Ruthless competition in the commercial payer world is leading to additional strain on reimbursement agreements with hospitals and provider networks. The continued shift to value-based care heightens this strain as the financial impact of patient satisfaction gains a second dimension.
The Patient as Consumer
Patients, with more options and more of their own money at stake, through high-deductible health plans, are demanding a more patient-friendly experience. These empowered consumers now access unlimited information anytime, anywhere. Similar to the research they do on a daily basis in other areas of their consumer lives, patients now seek out objective metrics and readily switch allegiances. They’re heavily influenced by HCAHPS scores, patient review websites, third-party ratings, etc. As a result, they’re acutely aware of what to expect and are more critical than ever about where they choose to seek care.
Hospitals have always worried about patients leaving, but now, value-based care puts a greater-than-ever expectation to deliver consistent, outstanding care to patients during each and every visit or stay. Hospitals can no longer afford to view patient care as purely episodic, it must be viewed as a long-term continuum of care. As a result, when a patient chooses to receive care elsewhere, the continuum is broken and hospitals lose revenue. These facilities bear the responsibility of poorer outcomes and value-based reimbursement penalties, resulting in lower payments.
Even still, the end goal always remains the same: deliver better patient experiences. But now, the question is how? What are innovative and cost-effective strategies for patient retention? With no time to lose, what quick-win opportunities exist to drive immediate improvements in the patient experience?
These questions are being by asked by health care leaders across the country. While there is no ‘magic bullet’ to solve for the challenge of patient retention, there is a new E-book which explores strategies that hospitals are investing in to improve their patient experience and increase patient retention and satisfaction.
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