End stage renal disease is increasing by five percent per year in the United States, and in 2014 over 100,000 people began treatment for ESRD. As the amount of ESRD patients increase, so does the need for dialysis clinics to help treat them.
Attracting these new ESRD patients to your dialysis clinic and retaining the ones you have has several benefits. Lower patient turnover has been associated with increased profitability, happier staff and lowered risk of patient treatment errors.
But attracting and retaining patients is often easier said than done. Here are a few tips for attracting and retaining patients to your dialysis center.
Address Conflicts: You know patient conflict and healthcare settings can go hand in hand, and while it may be tempting to shy away from addressing conflicts, don’t. Experts have found that poorly managed conflict negatively impacts patient outcomes. It can also come with a significant cost to organizations resulting in high employee turnover and absentee rates.
Not only can conflict negatively impact how your clinic operates and whether your staff is happy, it can also affect your bottom line. If a patient feels he or she is not receiving the required care, is not being listened to or respected, or feels the clinic is not up to cleanliness standards, the patient may file a complaint. Oftentimes patient complaints result in widespread news coverage that could negatively impact the public’s perception of your clinic, not to mention any fines or other costs you may have to pay in relation to the complaint.
Pay Attention to Your Center’s Appearance/Offer Amenities: Patients spend a significant amount of time at your facility and can quickly run out of ways to occupy themselves during a dialysis session. Provide patients with wifi and electrical outlets so they can get work done or chat with friends. You could also provide TVs, heated blankets, pillows or massage chairs.
Patients can become wary about your facility if they notice poorly cleaned areas or accumulation of dust. In addition to how patients are treated by staff, the cleanliness of a facility is a common issue patients file complaints about.
Empower Patients: Having a respectful, attentive staff and a clean clinic with amenities can positively influence patient experience, but there is another element to a great patient experience that is often overlooked—patient empowerment. Patient empowerment helps dialysis patients become more involved in their care. Research shows that patients who can perform portions of or the entire dialyzing process themselves have lower hospital admission and mortality rates. Empowered dialysis patients can also serve as mentors for fellow patients, teaching them how to self-dialyze.
Taking steps to resolve conflict, having a clean facility with patients’ needs in mind, and empowering patients to become more active in their care can help improve patient experience, which helps attract and retain patients at your dialysis clinic.