Patient Cultivation

How to develop a patient for life.
Patient Cultivation

The statistics speak for themselves—80% of practice revenue comes from 20% of existing patients. It costs five times more—in both budget and resources—to recruit a new patient than to keep an existing one. And when it comes to purchasing procedures, current patients are 65% more likely to have a treatment done versus 20% of new patients. So the obvious question is: How much of your practice’s energy is focused on cultivating relationships with existing patients?

Patient cultivation is an art form made up of meaningful experiences, prioritized care and incentivized rewards. It’s a process that needs to be carefully managed and strategically developed to foster long-term loyalty. Like all significant interactions, the best way to develop patient relationships is through engagement, education and motivation.

Track Your Patients

Every nugget of information your patients share, from their evolving skincare needs to reading about the latest rejuvenating treatments, is a lead for your practice. Keeping track and following up on these points of interest provides your practice with opportunities to engage these patients. A great place to start is a comprehensive skin consultation, which allows you to learn about the patient’s global skin needs and aesthetic habits.

Too often patients book an initial appointment for a specific procedure and the opportunity to expose them to your full scope of services or fully understand their aesthetic concerns is missed. An effective consultation serves as a treatment road map that gives the provider a strong sense of the patient’s options beyond the first series of treatments. For example, a patient may be interested in dermal fillers to correct volume loss, but in the course of the consultation also expresses concern about hyperpigmentation. As a provider, you focus on the primary concern first. However, once the volume loss is corrected, you already know that the next step for patient development is to share information on procedures and products that help to even out skin tone.

Gaining insight into a patient’s aesthetic needs is not only reserved for the consultation. Each patient interaction or touch point allows your practice to learn a little bit more so that you can outline a long-term treatment plan based on their needs and interests. During each appointment, note any relevant discussions or comments, including patient feedback on their care, interest in procedures or skincare products, and skin concerns. This will help you develop an engagement plan for subsequent appointments.

From a marketing standpoint this will also help you track and filter patients for targeted outreach initiatives. For example, with proper patient tracking your practice can create a custom campaign for the launch of KYBELLA (KYTHERA) targeting patients who have expressed concern about submental fullness. Being able to dissect your patient base by needs and interests will allow for greater marketing campaign engagement and success.

Maintain Contact

Patient cultivation does not end at checkout. Continual follow-up from the practice will ensure that your patients feel prioritized and that their needs are being met. Creating continuous and relevant touch points will help foster a long-term relationship.

Photo copyright Getty Images.