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Bring Back Former Patients

Question: Several of my regular patients have been slow to return to my practice as a result of economic hardship. To replace some of my practice revenue, I'd like to try to reactivate patients who left my practice before the crisis began. Any advice?

Answer: This approach may make sense because former patients would be familiar with you and your practice. But you’ll need to find out why they left and adapt your approach accordingly.

You can start by reaching out and letting your former patients know that you’re concerned about their well-being, and you’d like to know why they haven’t returned for a while. You may find that these patients discontinued care for financial or insurance reasons. If they are still facing these issues, it may be difficult to bring them back until their situation changes.

Nonetheless, some of these patients may be receptive to receiving any incentives, offers or payment options you’re extending to current patients. Emphasize that you recognize times are tough, and you’re offering several options to make care more affordable. (Make sure to comply with all appropriate laws and rules.)

If you learn that a former patient switched to another provider or believes that chiropractic care isn’t a priority, you can explain how chiropractic care offers long-term benefits that may not be attainable through other types of health care. If you discover that a former patient left because they were dissatisfied with you or some aspect of your practice, try to resolve the problem.

From a risk management perspective, be aware that unhappy patients are more likely to file state licensing board complaints. Therefore, make sure to keep the lines of communication open and address any reasonable concerns.

Additionally, when a former patient returns to your practice after a gap in care, make sure to follow the same protocols you would with a new patient (e.g., history, treatment plan, informed consent and documentation).

Times may be tough for patients and health care providers alike, but your ongoing care, concern and commitment to patients will result in their ongoing support of you and your practice.

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