Investing an hour to prepare a simple communications and engagement plan will help you to bring your patients back. When you are ready to begin:
- Open a new Word document on your computer and create a table of 5 horizontal X 5 vertical columns.
- Down the vertical left-hand side, list your key patient audience groups, especially patients in high risk categories and those who utilise the most profitable services. Add more rows if required.
- In the next horizontal column, identity any concerns each of these groups may have about returning to face-to-face appointments at your practice.
- In the adjourning horizontal column, list the procedures or steps you have already taken or can take to mitigate these concerns. For example, increased sanitation procedures; practice staff wearing PPE; new procedures such as patients waiting outside the practice until called on their mobile phone when the doctor is ready to see them.
- In the next horizontal column, use the information from the previous columns and add any other relevant information to create a brief telephone script of key messages for each audience to address their concerns, with an emphasis on booking an appointment. Some of the messaging may be similar for some audiences.
- Identify which patients haven’t visited the practice for some time including using the doctor’s knowledge or when patients have last been billed. You may consider using any data sources or other ways you have captured patient information.
- Schedule in some time and daily targets to contact patients, based on priority and keeping in mind the most convenient time to contact the patient. Remember a few phone calls a day is better than making none at all.
It is recommended the receptionist or practice nurse (if one is available) contact the patient.
Remember word of mouth is also a powerful way to get your message out there!