[Case Study] Midwest Clinic Improves Appointment Show Rates By 43%

Administrative tasks like working with discharged patients to avoid 30-day readmissions, and other patient engagement activities are extremely important but they are also an overhead. 

A clinic with 6 centers in Illinois and Indiana was struggling with a similar problem in 2017.

Among the major problems faced by the clinic was a low patient retention rate of about 25-30% and high operating costs. 

Their average social media ratings across the 6 centers languished around 4 out 5 stars. So patients researching the clinic on social media would not be confident about contacting the clinic for a consultation. 

However, by 2018, they had increased their patient retention rate, their social media ratings were bringing them more patients, and they had saved almost $75,000 in operating expenses. They did it all by custom developing a patient engagement solution – without forcing the customers or offering heavy discounts or using any other shady tactics.

Setting Up Goals

To help improve operating margins, patient retention, and staff productivity, the Midwest Express Clinic set four key goals:

  1. Improve social media ratings This would assure social media searchers about the quality of care offered by the clinic’s 6 centers.
  2. Improve appointment show rates – This would help physicians and staff attain and maintain positive care outcomes.
  3. Improve patient retention – Here, patient retention is in the context of building trust between the patient and the clinic staff. This was done to improve adherence to follow-up reminders.
  4. Reduce operating expenses – The money saved would be redirected toward staff facilities, patient facilities, and business goals.

The Solution

To reduce patient drop-off and prevent time wastage, the clinic decided to revamp its patient outreach plan. They custom-developed a patient engagement solution (PES) with psychographic capabilities. This tool helped them understand and classify motivations and preferences better. 

By understanding patients at the level of their personality, the clinic could then send personalized reminders which patients could relate to and respond with enthusiasm. This would build trust between the clinic and patients, further setting up the clinic for better reviews and improved adherence to follow-up reminders.

The patient engagement solution was used to send automated and personalized messages for the following purposes:

  1. Appointment reminders
  2. Follow-up messages
  3. Payment reminders

The solution also helped them conduct patient surveys which gave them insights about various other ways to improve the patient experience. The survey can also be used as a diagnostic questionnaire to help physicians save time. 

For example, patients can answer health inquiry questions while they wait in the lobby. This would allow the doctor to save time by conducting preliminary diagnostic checks for several patients in parallel. The doctor then has more context when talking to the patient directly. Based on the history of the patient’s physical condition and allergies, the doctor can recommend the next diagnosis steps or medication quickly.

Finally, the system also enabled on-demand messaging between the patient and his/her physician. For immobile patients or those who cannot travel to the clinic. this direct connect is a real boon. It can be used to administer immediate care remotely in case of a catastrophic medical event. 

Results From The Patient Engagement Solution

The patient engagement solution helped the Midwest Clinic improve efficiency and revenue while simultaneously improving patient care standards.

In 2017 (before the deployment of a PES), the patient retention rate was in the range of 25% to 30%. The follow-up system was manual and intrusive in the patient’s lives. The patient had to be ready and willing to provide feedback. 

After the PES was deployed, patients were happy to receive automated reminders instead of manual calls. The new system blended well with the patients’ lives. The clinics aligned their administrative practices with the preferences of their patients. As a result:

  1. Appointment show rates improved 43%, and
  2. Patient loyalty jumped to 40% in 2018. 

Patient feedback was previously shared publicly on social media review pages, which affected the clinic reputation and the patients’ trust in the clinic. The clinic capitalized on the functionalities of the PES and employed feedback surveys to get direct feedback from patients and their families. Because of improved experience from the automated system, existing patients began leaving positive reviews on social media.

Average social media ratings, which had languished around 4 stars, soared to 4.66 stars across 6 centers of the clinic. 

After the PES took over patient health feedback and follow-ups, the staff was no longer worried about finishing the day’s calls before their shift ends. One of the intangible benefits of the PES was a reduction in stress levels among the clinic staff. They can now focus on resolving real health issues and learning from and implementing patient feedback. 

Without the PES, the staff would lose 2-3 hours per day per clinic in follow-ups. The clinics were losing more in operating expenses because of the staff overtime.

Because of the automated patient engagement solution, the clinic saved almost $75,000 over the course of the year.

A patient engagement solution can transform a healthcare practice with a smarter administrative workflow and time-saving patient-doctor (and patient-clinic) communication protocols. 

They can also help keep patients motivated by sharing engaging educational content as they pursue a greater role in their self-care.

If you’re looking to build a patient engagement solution for your organization, get in touch with us for a free consultation and quote. We’ve helped healthcare organizations build HIPAA compliant websites and apps such as telemedicine platforms, surgical workflow platform, EHR, clinical management system, remote patient monitoring, and care application, among others.