Healthcare News & Insights

Stop patient leakage & boost loyalty to your hospital

Keeping patients coming back to your providers and your hospital is often easier said than done. Patient leakage and improperly managed referrals are key concerns for many health systems and could result in lost revenue. 

A new report from referral management company Fibroblast found that 62% of health systems are losing at least 10% of their revenue as a result of patients going to different organizations for their care. Some executives said their facilities are losing more than 20% of revenue from patient leakage and mismanaged referrals.

And many execs aren’t doing much to fix the problem. Although 87% said patient leakage is a high priority, 23% don’t have a method for tracking that leakage.

Hospitals that do have a strategy to prevent leakage may not be using effective tools. Many facilities use electronic health records systems (EHRs) to track patient leakage, but EHRs can’t show why a patient left.

Patient leakage and safety

Beyond lost revenue, poorly managed referrals and letting patients slip through the cracks can have negative consequences for care and patient safety.

When hospitals lose track of patients, there’s no way for providers to check if patients are following the recommended care plan or make changes depending on how patients’ treatment impacts them.

There’s also no way to know whether patients followed up on the referrals they received.

Part of the problem is that the responsibility for tracking and managing patient leakage often belongs to many employees who don’t always work in the same areas or have the time to discuss it. Developing strategies to address the problem requires communication across departments.

What causes leaks?

The main causes of leaks are physicians referring patients to outside providers and patients deciding to choose competitors on their own. To encourage patients to stick with your hospital, emphasize clear communication and offer them transparent data so they can understand what’s happening with their care.

If you’ve noticed a problem with patient leakage at your organization, consider offering a patient satisfaction survey to see what’s working at your hospital – and what needs improvement.

Once you learn what the issues are, take tangible steps to address them. Work to make simple fixes that can have a big impact, such as shortening wait times and improving customer service.  It’s also important to invest in training and development workshops for clinical staff.

Additionally, you’ll want to come up with a better solution for tracking leakages and referrals. Some execs are moving toward third-party vendors to help with patient management at their hospitals. To keep patients coming back, investigate creative solutions and encourage innovation within your organization.

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