MNT Provider - August 2012

MNT Provider Creating return customers: How to keep them coming back for more

Your source for practice management news

Inside: Creating return customers: How to keep them coming back for more......1 MNT Reader Survey results and drawing winner...................................1 Important message for providers who are not receiving Electronic Remittance Advices from Medicare . ...................................3

Adding a new patient to your practice can be significantly more costly than retaining an existing one. You can therefore improve your bottom line by retaining your existing patient base, but how do you get a patient to return after an initial visit? How do you engage patients so they want to come back and so they also promote your services to their friends and family? Interactions before, during and after the initial visit can mean the difference between a one-time encounter and a long and fruitful relationship. Here are a few tips to get your patients back in the office after the first visit. Before the visit Preparation is essential. By taking the time to complete a a couple of simple steps before every visit, you can shape patient perception and improve your rate of retention. Confirm the appointment in advance . When you remind people the day before an appointment, you send the message that you respect their schedule and that the appointment is important. If the reminder results in a cancellation, reschedule the appoint- ment. A last-minute change is vastly

better than a disappearing patient. Prepare to start on time . By staying on schedule, or close to it, you inspire a sense of trust and indicate that you’re organized, responsible and in control of your time. Long wait times convey “indifference.” During the visit A patient’s decision to return for the next appointment can be influenced by some of the fundamental things you do during the visit. Make a strong first impression . The way you dress and conduct yourself at the first visit says a great deal about you to your patients. Think of your initial meeting as a “first date” and put your best foot forward. Treat patients with respect . Suc- cessful practices maintain a constant culture of respect, leaving no room for patients or family members to feel that they are an intrusion upon or interrup- tion to the busy office environment. Merge business skills with clinical skills and treat your clients as customers as well as patients. Make your patients feel welcome by using their names. Don’t make assumptions . Talk to your patient and ask questions. our readers. Based on your responses, we will continue to produce the MNT Provider as a four page monthly elec- tronic publication. You can also look for enhanced coverage of Medicare news and coverage, coding and cover- age changes under health care reform and private insurance news and cover- age in this and future issues. Congratulations to Teresa Pickford,

Question Corner................................... 3

Going to the Academy’s Food & Nutrition Conference in Philadelphia, October 6 through 9?..........................4

Nutrition consultant and owner of Reignite4wellness, Emma Fogt, MBA, MS, RD, LDN, suggests that registered dietitians (RDs) “get to the heart of why your patient is there to see you. You may uncover potential road blocks to success that can be addressed upfront.” Explain the treatment plan . Educate your patients on their disease pro- cesses and care plans. Openly discuss why everything can’t be tackled in one or two sessions. Share the structure of

See Return customer , page 2

MNT Reader Survey results and drawing winner

Thank you to everyone who completed our MNT Reader Survey. Your valued

RD, winner of the MNT Reader Survey drawing. Teresa will be receiving a free copy of the book Making Nutrition Your Business: Private Practice and Beyond , by Faye Berger Mitchell, RD, LD, and Ann M. Silver, MS, RD, CDE, CDN. Didn’t win but still want to purchase your own copy? To place your order, visit www. (Catalog Number: 4408), or call 800/877-1600, ext. 5000.

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MNT Provider | Volume 11, Number 4 | August 2012

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