Patient Dropouts At Your PT Clinic? 8 Telltale Signs Your Patients Are About To Call It Quits

Oct 20, 2023 | Blog, Front Desk, Healthcare

Have you noticed if your patients are slowly dropping out of your physical therapy (PT) clinic?

Patient dropouts are subtle and hard to notice, but their impact is substantial. ThinkImpact reported that it costs 5-25 times more to acquire new clients than to retain your current ones.

It’s crucial to identify whether your patients are considering dropping out of your clinic before it’s too late.

To help you with this, here are 8 telltale signs that patient dropouts are happening to your PT clinic.

8 Signs Of Patient Dropouts At Your PT Clinic

1. Frequently canceling or not showing up for their appointment

One of the clearest signs that a patient is dropping out of your clinic is when they stop showing up or cancel their appointments.

Some patients may stop showing up for their appointments because of personal events or circumstances. Others may be dissatisfied with their treatment.

In any case, some patients never explain why they drop out, making it challenging to resolve the issue properly.

2. Not seeing visible progress

Your patients often expect their therapists to rapidly improve their condition from the 1st day of treatment. Unfortunately, some cases may require extensive intervention before visible progress can be seen.

Nevertheless, your patients will be disappointed if the actual treatment time takes longer than they expect it to be. As a result, instead of taking the risk of continuing the same treatment program, they will look for another clinic that may alleviate their condition immediately.

3. Overestimating their progress

On the other hand, some of your patients may see a lot of progress with their condition but may consider stopping treatment pre-emptively.

They consider this because of one of 3 reasons:

  • Financial – “Why spend any more money when I already feel great?”
  • Comfort – “Now that the pain is gone, I have no reason to go to the PT clinic anymore.”
  • Condition – “If the pain does return, I can just come back.”

4. Ineffective patient-provider communication

Generally, your providers should match every patient based on their subspecialty and expertise.

Yet, it is still possible that a provider clashes with the patient in terms of communication.

Here are some examples of how this may happen:

  • Your provider fails to provide a clear roadmap for the patient’s recovery.
  • Your provider misunderstands the needs and concerns of the patient.
  • Your provider is unable to ask the patient the right questions to gather sufficient information.

5. Lack of financing options or support

Some of your patients may be unable to complete their treatment due to financial constraints. Others may feel the price of your treatment programs doesn’t match the actual value.

Insurance ineligibility is another way that your patients are restrained financially with your treatments.

6. Discomfort at the clinic

Some parts of your clinic may be causing discomfort to your patients during their stay.

Here are some factors you should consider:

  • Waiting room – The design, layout, and facilities of your waiting room may be inadequate in keeping your patients comfortable while waiting
  • Staff behavior – Your staff may be exhibiting behaviors that make them seem unapproachable or unwelcoming to your patients
  • Access to information – Some of your patients may feel that little to no effort is being made by your staff to reassure them with sufficient information

7. Long wait times

Your patients expect to receive treatment shortly after arriving at your clinic. This is especially true when their appointment is scheduled more than a month in advance. When they have to frequently wait for a long time for their appointments, it can cast doubts on the effectiveness of your PT clinic.

Coupled with potential delays in prior appointments, this can slowly but surely convince patients to drop out of your clinic.

8. Unmanaged expectations

When your patients first visit your clinic, they may have at least one of the following expectations:

  • The effectiveness of the treatment
  • How quickly the treatment would improve their condition
  • Your staff being friendly, informative, and accommodating of their needs

Sometimes, your patients may have unrealistic expectations of your clinic. It is your staff’s responsibility to manage your patients’ expectations and ensure that their needs are met. Otherwise, your patients may consider looking into other options.

How To Reduce Patient Dropouts At Your PT Clinic

Patients drop out of your clinic because they feel that you’re unable to sufficiently accommodate their needs. Hence, to retain your patients, you need to facilitate a positive patient experience.

Here are 4 ways you can reduce patient dropouts in your clinic:

  1. Increase patient engagement. Send regular patient reminders (via phone calls, texts, or emails), patient satisfaction surveys, and promotional materials (e.g., brochures, fact sheets) to foster long-term camaraderie with your patients
  2. Manage patient expectations. Clarify factors such as the treatment process, length, and requirements for successful clinical outcomes.
  3. Improve patient communication. Train all your staff on medical customer service techniques, such as the patient-centered approach, to help the patient feel accommodated.
  4. Reduce wait times. Streamline the check-in process by updating your facilities, training your staff, and using a virtual receptionist software solution like WelcomeWare to empower your front desk staff.

Minimize Patient Dropouts With Virtual Receptionists

Managing and reducing patient dropouts is vital to ensuring the long-term success of your PT clinic. You must constantly look out for the telltale signs so that you can promptly address it before it’s too late.

Patient dropouts are also more likely to occur when no one is consistently around to accommodate your patients at the front desk. Learn more about how WelcomeWare’s revolutionary live virtual receptionist software solution enables you to always have a single team of friendly receptionists available to greet your patients, facilitate check-in, and schedule appointments across multiple locations.

Keep your patients engaged with your PT clinic

Decrease patient dropouts with WelcomeWare’s virtual receptionist solution

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