Cultivating Patient Loyalty for Sustainable Success in Healthcare

July 28, 2023 • 4 minute read

In 2022, Accenture published a research report shedding light on a concerning trend: an alarming number of patients are switching healthcare providers. The survey, conducted on 21,000 respondents, showed that 30% of patients opted for a new provider in 2021, with a staggering 80% attributing their decision to ease of access and overall patient experience […]

In 2022, Accenture published a research report shedding light on a concerning trend: an alarming number of patients are switching healthcare providers. The survey, conducted on 21,000 respondents, showed that 30% of patients opted for a new provider in 2021, with a staggering 80% attributing their decision to ease of access and overall patient experience offered by the new providers.

As consumerism takes hold of the healthcare industry, experts report that it is becoming extremely crucial for practices to focus on providing a seamless patient experience if they hope weather this incredibly competitive landscape. Though repeat business is not a direct goal of health consumerism as it is in the mainstream, providers should still strive to be the preferred choice if their patient requires future medical attention or wishes to refer their loved ones (word of mouth referrals are still considered to be one of the most powerful tools in healthcare marketing).

The Accenture survey goes on to reveal that patients value appointment availability, convenience, top-notch customer service and the ability to connect with providers through their preferred channels. Therefore to attract and retain clients, providers must ensure they achieve high patient satisfaction levels in all aspects of their operations.

How Can You Build Patient Loyalty in Your Practice?

Here are 5 actionable steps that you can take to increase patient loyalty:

  • Prioritise Clinical Quality

At the core of every practitioner’s work, providing the highest quality of care remains paramount. 

Patients’ perceptions of the treatment they receive greatly influence their decision to seek ongoing support from practitioners who have delivered positive outcomes. One study in paediatrics emphasised that quality of care surpases all other factors and should always be prioritised. Additionally, a separate study on private hospitals revealed that patients who perceived their medical care as exceptional were notably more inclined to return to the same hospital for their future healthcare needs.

Outstanding clinical quality acts as a powerful driver for both attracting new patients and fostering long-term retention. By consistently upholding the highest standards of care and delivering positive outcomes, healthcare providers can build a foundation of trust with their patients, leading to unwavering loyalty.

  • Patient Experience is Everything

Much like an ordinary consumer, a patient’s experience in your practice significantly influences their loyalty. When patients receive top-notch medical treatment, post-care support and easy access to services, they are more likely to develop a sense of trust and connection with their healthcare providers. 

Personalised care, a welcoming environment, smooth payment processes, and involvement in shared decision-making further enhance the patient experience. Wait times, a factor that may be overlooked by some practitioners, holds significant importance for new patients. This report indicates that 84% of patients consider wait time when evaluating their overall experience after a visit at the doctor’s.

While it may seem like a lot to manage, adopting a practice management software like Meddbase can simplify the process. Meddbase helps practices track metrics, manage resource allotment and enhance service delivery, reducing the likelihood of patients seeking alternatives outside your system.

  • Develop a Digital Engagement Strategy

A well-crafted digital strategy enables providers to enhance patient engagement, streamline communication, and deliver personalised experiences that resonate with patients. Having a digital footprint is so essential that 60% of millennials say that they would switch providers if it meant better online access. 

Implementing a patient portal for instance, that provides personalised health information, reminders for follow-ups, and educational resources can empower patients to take a proactive role in managing their health, making them likely to remain loyal. Social media platforms can also be a valuable tool to engage with patients, address their queries, and showcase transparency in your practice. 

Efforts like these increase your accessibility and make you easy to work with, which boosts your credibility and legitimises your commitment to your patients over time.

  • Adopt a Patient-Centric Approach

Placing patients at the centre of healthcare decisions has been shown to have an all-round positive impact on patients and their providers. For patients with heart failure, patient centred care (PCC) was found to shorten the length of hospital stays and reduce chances of readmission. Since it also simplified coordination of care, patients were also reported to switch providers less often. 

For the bottom line, PCC in the US is linked to improvements in patient experience, patient loyalty and staff engagement, which in turn increases inbound revenue and minimises the providers’ efforts to keep patients in-network.

  • Maintain Good Patient-Physician Relationships

How patients receive their treatment significantly influences their decision to return to a healthcare provider. Key factors such as the ability of healthcare professionals to actively listen, demonstrate care, instil trust, and convey hope play a critical role in patient loyalty. Additionally, effective communication, compassion, and empathy exhibited by caregivers contribute to patients’ sense of being valued and heard. Collaboration among members of the healthcare team further strengthens patient loyalty, as it demonstrates a genuine concern for the patient’s well-being, resulting in higher patient retention rates. 

Even simple gestures of courtesy and respect hold great importance, with 97% of patients recommending a facility when providers were respectful and 70% basing their choice of provider on their most recent healthcare experience.

Measuring Patient Loyalty

Patient loyalty is a crucial factor in the success of any healthcare practice, so much so that a mere 5% increase in loyalty can translate to a remarkable 25% boost in revenue. 

Measuring the impact of implementing patient loyalty strategies becomes more effective when practices can receive and incorporate feedback from patients based on their experiences. 

At Meddbase, we prioritise delivering exceptional patient experiences for our clients, which is why we have partnered with Doctify, UK’s leading patient review platform to support GPs, specialists, and other healthcare practitioners to gain valuable insights from patient reviews. This will go a long way in ensuring accountability, transparency and will spur continuous improvement for all practices that work with us. 

In addition, this partnership will empower patients to find providers that best meet their requirements while enabling practitioners to streamline their referral processes.

Together, Meddbase and Doctify are committed to driving patient-centric care and enhancing the overall healthcare landscape.


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