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Email strategies to re-engage lost patients

Email strategies to re-engage lost patients

Based on a study assessing the experience of patient-centeredness between medical students and their patients: “Patient centered medicine is understood to mean that the doctor addresses the biomedical as well as the psychosocial aspects of the illness. The patient’s own perception of the disease, his or her personal wishes, values and expectations are taken into account. The patient is actively involved in the process of decision making; doctor and patient are equal partners in the decision making process. In the patient centred approach a good doctor–patient relationship is considered to be not just ‘pleasant’ but a fundamental requirement for quality health care. The doctor is aware of his or her impact on the consultation process..

The primary cause of patient loss in a healthcare practice typically revolves around dissatisfaction. The sources of this scenario range from inadequate care, poor communication, or the absence of a personalized healthcare experience. This dissatisfaction is amplified by a lack of patient-centeredness, where healthcare services fail to adequately consider the patient's specific needs, preferences, and values in the decision-making process. 

Patients can be re-engaged by using targeted communication strategies and email campaigns. Healthcare providers can demonstrate a genuine interest in their patients' well-being by using personalized, relevant, HIPAA compliant email content. 


What is a re-engagement strategy? 

A re-engagement strategy is a way for healthcare providers to reconnect with patients who have become disengaged from their healthcare services. It works through personalized communication efforts that address each patient's specific health needs, concerns, and interests. For instance, incorporating the statistic that patients reached through outreach interventions were 2.43 times more likely to book a follow-up appointment than those who had no contact. The purpose of re-engagement strategies is to remind patients of the value of continuous healthcare management and ultimately, to book appointments and follow through with recommended treatments. 

See also: Are re engagement email campaigns HIPAA compliant?


Where to begin

  1. Start by analyzing why patients become disengaged. This could be due to perceived lack of care or personal attention, dissatisfaction with services, or logistical issues such as appointment scheduling difficulties. 
  2. Not all patients disengage for the same reasons, so it's beneficial to segment the patient population based on factors like demographics, health conditions, previous interactions with the healthcare system, and reasons for disengagement.
  3. Examine patient data to identify trends and patterns in behavior. This includes looking at appointment history, communication preferences, feedback provided, and engagement levels with previous outreach efforts. 
  4. Understanding how different patients prefer to be contacted is necessary. Some may respond better to emails, while others prefer text messages, phone calls, or traditional mail. 
  5. The content of the communication must be relevant, personalized, and engaging. It should provide value to the patient, whether through health tips, information about new services, or reminders about the need for regular healthcare management. 
  6. Evaluate the technology and tools available for re-engagement campaigns. This can include email marketing software, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, and automated appointment reminders. 

HIPAA compliant email strategies to re-engage lost patients

  1. Health awareness campaigns: Launch monthly health awareness campaigns related to general topics like heart health, diabetes prevention, or mental wellness. These campaigns can include general tips, latest research findings, and reminders for relevant screenings.
  2. Seasonal health tips: Send emails with health tips tailored to seasonal activities and risks, such as flu prevention tips in the fall or hydration and sun protection advice for summer, to keep content relevant and engaging.
  3. Newsletter sign up promotion: Promote a newsletter that offers general health advice, practice updates, and community health events. Ensure the sign up process complies with HIPAA by securing consent and providing clear opt out options.
  4. Wellness challenge invitations: Invite patients to participate in wellness challenges, such as a "10,000 Steps a Day" challenge or a "Healthy Eating Week," using emails to track progress and motivate participation.
  5. Webinar invitations: Host educational webinars on general health topics and use emails to invite patients. Topics can range from stress management techniques to the necessity of preventive care, providing value without requiring personal health information exchange.
  6. Feedback surveys: Send out satisfaction surveys or polls asking for feedback on your services or suggestions for future health topics they're interested in. Make sure to clarify that responses are anonymous and secure.
  7. Reminder for annual check ups: Without specifying personal health details, remind patients of annual health check ups and encourage them to book their next appointment.

See also: Top 7 HIPAA compliant email marketing services



How often should we send re-engagement emails to avoid being intrusive?

It's generally advisable to limit re-engagement emails to once a month or quarterly. The frequency can be adjusted based on patient feedback and engagement levels.


What if a patient does not respond to any re-engagement emails?

If a patient consistently does not respond, they may have changed their email address or are no longer interested. Consider other outreach methods for information but respect their choice to disengage.


How can we measure the success of our email re-engagement campaign?

Success can be measured by tracking open rates, click through rates on provided links, and the number of patients who book appointments or take the action suggested in the email.

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