How to teach patients to value their healthcare
It’s an unfortunate truth that we have to sell patients on their health care. Our consumer-based industry has caused patients to opt out of healthcare plans and prioritize other facets of their life over medical coverage. In response, many practices have begun to use business tactics to retain or attract patients. SmileMakers understands that healthcare is an industry, but marketing and running your practice needs more than regular business strategies. For patients to value healthcare, they must believe their health is worth more than money. Here are tips on how to focus on the care, not the price tag.
Value doesn’t equal money:
Think of your most treasured possession. What compensation is necessary for you to surrender that object? It’s priceless, right? At the very least, the amount would exceed how much it’d be worth to another person. This is because ‘value’ and ‘price’ are very different concepts. For something we value, we attach emotions, which increases the importance in our minds. This is an example of the Endowment Effect. Research has shown that we are more likely to value items that we own above their cost-price. The way to create value for the patient’s health is to give them ownership, to assign a value that exceeds money.
Reminding patients that they only have one body is a good starting point. If pains and injuries are allowed to compile, expenses will also grow. Advise them that preventative care will pay off in the long run, as healthy bodies cost less. It will increase quality of life, and keep patients happy. By framing good health as priceless and invaluable, patients are more likely to prioritize it.
Standing out from the crowd:
Before you can convince people of your worth, you need their recognition. As with every industry, market saturation has made it difficult to attract an audience. Being capable isn’t enough. Demonstrating value starts by offering something better or exclusive. To accomplish this, establishing yourself as an authority within your field is a good start. Along with providing consistent high-quality care, curating an advice-driven blog or owning a website that reflects your practice can help you stand out. Having affirming reviews or answering FAQs will also enhance this. If your expertise is publicized, patients are likely to trust your judgment and look past the price tag.
Teaching budgeting to patients:
Many patients have never been taught to budget for their healthcare. Unless you’re able to frame medical coverage outside of the costs, it will dominate every conversation. This is why helping them create a smart budget and health care plan from the start is invaluable. Explaining and validating costs makes it easier for the patient to justify. Helping your patients draft a budget also establishes your relationship as a partnership. You’re working together to improve their health. Going the extra mile with their budgeting is an exemplary way to show your value, but it’s not the only solution. Money isn’t the most pressing concern if you frame healthcare properly.
Treating the Patients as Family:
Part of demonstrating your own value is showing that you value your patients. Creating this relationship with your community means that you’re not merely a business to them, and they’re not just customers to you. This connection will eventually make patients value you as a person and not just their healthcare provider. There is no price tag for friendship.
This is only a viable solution if you make an effort to learn about your patients, their interests, motivations, and family. Even if it doesn’t come naturally, it will change your practice from a place of business to a part of the community. This is a continual pursuit and change will be gradual, but when accomplished it is incredibly rewarding.
Let SmileMakers be your partner in practice.
Creating value within your office is hard work, but it’s made easier if your patients know you prioritize them. SmileMakers is here for you with everything you need to connect with your patients and make them feel valued. For more tips on creating an accommodating workplace culture, visit our SmileSource page.
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Garza A. (2016). Demonstrating Value in Healthcare. JEMS. 41(5):suppl 16-8.
PubMed PMID: 27301094. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27301094
Martinson, M. & Brekke, R. (2010). Demonstrating Value to Payers. Retrieved from: http://www.prgweb.com/news/pdf/MX%2010-05.pdf