Beyond the Network: Building a Culture of Patient Loyalty

March 1, 2016

How can you encourage patients’ loyalty so they stay within your ACO or care network? Focus on a culture that builds bridges.

Patient loyalty

Under value-based payments, your organization needs to provide the best care at the lowest appropriate acuity and cost. That often means less care, not more. At the same time, you don’t want to lose patients to competitors when they do need more invasive or advanced care. You want them to remain under your umbrella of care. Four bridges can help you build patient loyalty:

Bridge #1: Make High-Quality Care Your Primary Focus: Consumers believe that quality care should be an assumed baseline in their choice of healthcare providers. Not meeting that expectation will have a negative effect on patient retention.

Bridge #2: Understand Patient Choice Drivers: Consumers today prioritize convenience and value, meaning a balance of quality and cost for appropriate care. They want great service at a reasonable price, and they need it to fit within their busy schedule. A network of care that can provide those critical aspects will be a top choice for consumers.

Bridge #3: Educate Your Clinical Team: Why should your physicians refer internally, rather than to an outside specialist? Communicate the advantages of keeping patients within your care network. Maintaining continuity of care promotes a more robust and holistic picture of each patient, empowering your clinicians to provide the right care.

Bridge #4: Internalize Patient-Centered Care: All of these bridges crumble if patients suspect that efforts to keep them within your organization’s system of care are primarily to benefit you, not them. Health Affairs recently warned that consolidation doesn’t equate to integration, and patients know the difference. Patient-centered care is dependent on your entire clinical and administrative team. Coach every member on how to put patients first.

Patient loyalty depends on building bridges. Understanding how to engage patients and earn their trust will help your organization build a resilient network of care.

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