Understanding Patient Retention in Healthcare: Why It’s Vital For Your Practice

patient retention rate

Between disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and changing patient outlooks on healthcare, the past two years have been highly volatile for the healthcare industry. 

As societal systems adapt to changing perspectives bred by COVID, healthcare providers are focused on fostering a stronger sense of comfort and ease for the patient populations they are serving.

70% of healthcare providers define growing their practice as having more patients, emphasizing the benefit of patient attrition. However, patient retention is just as crucial to the running of healthcare organizations, because of the ability to build trust with care providers over time. 

In this blog, we will dive into what exactly patient retention rate is, why it is vital to the growth of a healthcare practice and the quality of care a patient receives, as well as detail steps to enhance your patient retention rate today. 


What is a patient retention rate?

A Patient retention rate, similar to a client retention rate, refers to the percentage of existing patients who remain patients after a given period. But, how healthcare systems and companies measure retention rates may differ. 

Patient retention rates can provide important insights into the current performance of practices and highlight areas of opportunity for providers to take action on to improve the overall patient experience. 


Why is patient retention so important?

Today, consumers, especially younger generations, feel comfortable exploring a variety of healthcare options. The 2017 Employee Benefit Research Institute/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey observed a disparity in how healthcare is viewed from the stance of three separate generations: millennials, Generation Xers, and baby boomers. Results found that millennial customers are more likely to proactively research healthcare organizations’ reviews, doctors, services, and cost information, along with being more likely to have checked on coverage for medications and quality ratings for a doctor or hospital before seeking care. Trends indicating more informed patient behavior, even ahead of any interaction with healthcare providers, seem to continue gaining traction. 

However, when seeking methods to keep patients coming back, directly targeting pain points can be the best place to start. For diabetic patient populations, and others seeking treatment for chronic conditions, one of the most common pain points is the overabundance of appointments and preventative screenings they may need to attend to keep up with their health. 

When it comes to diabetic retinopathy, IRIS technology is the ideal supporting software for patient retention rates, providing a diabetic retinopathy exam solution that focuses on the patient’s need for convenient care, and the practice’s need to be able to easily administer it. 

patient retention rate

How IRIS Makes Preventative Care Convenient

Busy work and life schedules can make juggling a variety of different doctors appointments difficult for many people. The average day-to-day time constraints become even more rigid for patients with chronic illnesses, as time spent treating their condition can add even more on top of a daily routine. 

Healthcare organizations can help alleviate patient stress that could come from scheduling multiple specialty appointments by bringing particular forms of preventative screenings in-house. Providers who are looking into the idea of introducing more preventative screenings into their practice can look to simple-to-use solutions like IRIS diabetic retinal exam technology. IRIS’s program can help providers who are looking to expand their current service offerings, allowing patients to receive an easy, non-invasive, and comprehensive diabetic retinopathy exam during a routine check-up with their physician. This can all be done with minimal imposition for both the patient and healthcare employee administering the exam. 

Not to mention, IRIS’s teleretinal platform works with a variety of fundus cameras, ranging in price and portability. The solution integrates with a client’s existing EMR interface, which streamlines the workflow from patient identification all the way through referral.  

Not only does IRIS provide a convenient solution for patient populations, the IRIS reading center (IRC), IRIS’ physician services group of 125+ board-certified eye care providers, ensures quick and thorough diabetic retinopathy exam interpretations. IRIS reading center providers can provide a quick and accurate diagnosis after the retinal-image capture, allowing providers and patients quick access to test results. 

This type of communication flow allows for a more seamless creation of an actionable diabetic care plan to detect and monitor diabetic retinopathy and supports efficient patient management, while easing the burden of screening for diabetic retinopathy by better accomodating a patient’s calendar.  


The Healthcare Digitalization Boom

The medical imaging software market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% by 2026, as cited by a recent 2021 Arizton report. Practices are tending to seek solutions that more accurately and quickly support effective patient care, allowing for both healthcare providers and patients to make the best use of their time. With the digitalization of EMRs on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, advancements in medical screenings have been gaining popularity, further supporting a more patient-centered approach to healthcare.

Integrating digital software into your healthcare organization, like IRIS, provides an optimal opportunity to increase patient retention rates through more quickly supporting patient needs, and meeting those with chronic illnesses right where they are. And, when providers continue to optimize the quality of care to administered patients, they are more likely to achieve a higher HEDIS measure specific to diabetic care when leveraging the IRIS software, making IRIS a win-win solution for the modern healthcare organization. 


Why improving patient retention is vital for growth

Post-pandemic, many practices may find themselves moving toward patient attrition and lead-generation tactics to support the growth of the overall healthcare organization. Patients are spending more time online and providers are seeking to meet them there. Alongside patient attrition, patient retention in healthcare also plays a vital role in a practice’s progress. Strengthening patient retention rates can be taken on at any time in a practice’s journey, further supporting the evolution of a healthcare organization’s ability to care for its patients.

For those practices focusing on expanding care for diabetic patient populations, integration of a comprehensive and thorough diabetic retinopathy screening software, like IRIS, is a simple start. Providers can easily utilize the IRIS Program to perform diabetic retinopathy exams, allowing them to quickly identify cases of preventable, sight-threatening diseases among their diabetic patients. 

To learn more about IRIS and how it can meet the needs of your practice, connect with us to learn more. And for additional information on diabetic retinopathy and its treatment, refer to the IRIS resource center to learn more!



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