Healthcare organizations are businesses – the goal is to attract and keep customers (patients). But that can be much easier said than done, as any business can attest to these days. For healthcare organizations, there is a litany of reasons why patients might be moving out of the primary and secondary areas and into the welcoming arms of your competition.
But why, though? If the care and the outcomes are essentially the same, what would cause certain patients to look elsewhere?
Long wait times: Everyone seems to be busier today than ever before. In our continuous on-the-go society, things are needed to be done yesterday, so sitting in a waiting area for 30 minutes to an hour isn’t going to fly with patients. They want to get in, get their questions answered and move on to the next item on their agenda.
Limited access: This can be defined in many ways – either directly created by an organization or indirectly by some other variable. Limited access can be caused by lack of patient transportation, limited or no health insurance, language barriers, limited appointment availability, office hours and many others.
Slow technology adoption: It can be nerve-racking to upend a standard practice model, but not providing telehealth and other new technology trends could cause people to move to another provider. Telehealth enables providers to take care of patients when and where they need it to minimize the impact to their lives.
Other factors: Of course, there could be other reasons for patients leaving. They could be moving to another area of town or somewhere else within the state or across country. Younger adults are less “brand loyal” and may choose to look elsewhere if the experience wasn’t pleasant the first time.
These younger adults (think Millennials) are disrupting the entire healthcare model as well. More than 20 percent of those say they are not satisfied with the current state of healthcare as well as being limited financially to regularly see doctors. Add to the fact that this generation seeks alternative options like chiropractic, acupuncture and actively seek mental health.
Patient migration is a consistently hot topic in the industry. While there will always be patient changeover to some degree, there are many things organizations can look at to help stem the tide of potentially big changes.