Acquiring new, lifelong patients is a journey. A journey that starts with the patient’s first appointment and develops through a series of good experiences with your clinic. Those positive results will typically point back to how well your office is optimized for patient acquisition.
That’s no small task. These days patient interaction is skewed by your staff demeanor, your care standards, the services you provide, insurance acceptance, and more.
And then there’s your office design. It enhances or diminishes the first impression the previously mentioned influences have on a patient.
Optimizing Your Office for Patient Acquisition
Conscious Effort Required
The cost of acquiring a single patient can total hundreds of dollars or more. Your investment total can vary patient to patient depending on their responsiveness to either your office culture or subsequent targeted marketing initiatives.
There’s also the competitive environment. Advertising campaigns can cross their line of site via direct mail or an online search.
The choice is theirs.
And therein is the essence of your required efforts – occupying a prominent place at their choice point!
You gotta be intentional!
Your physical environment, practice atmosphere, vibe, and overall culture have a substantial impact on patient acquisition. New patients especially are discerning about specific things relative to your office environment.
- Is stress reduced?
- Does it feel safe and clean?
- Can it be trusted?
- Will satisfaction be consistent?
These factors align with what’s referred to as an evidence-based design strategy. That’s the big idea that you create an office environment to achieve the best possible healthcare outcomes.
Obviously, this would strongly influence patient acquisition as well.
The power of first impressions relies on how each patient feels the moment they encounter your practice. It could be the theme of a direct mailing, how your website engages them, or the glowing referral of a friend or family member.
Keep in mind also that many patients are influenced by how they interpret those experiences.
”Design choices matter. Approximately 24 to 35% of a patient’s overall satisfaction with a health care experience is influenced by the design and decor of the facility.” 
Details That Influence Patient Acquisition
Overall Design Details
Maximizing your office design begins at the “curb”. Visibility, traffic flow, parking availability, ease of access, intuitive facility navigation, they all set the tone for patient acquisition success.
Remember that one scheduled appointment doesn’t guarantee a second, third, or more. A design glitch can sway a discerning patient to reconsider establishing an ongoing relationship with your office.
- Apply conscientious design from street to chair side.
- Maintain and routinely upgrade your exterior and interior spaces.
- Theme your office according to the demographic of your patients.
Mood Details in Your Front Office and Reception Zone
The attention to detail you bring to the vibe of your entry space will help your patients feel more in control. A welcoming, inviting, and comfortable tone puts patients at ease and more likely to begin establishing a long-term relationship with your practice. Interior design and decor is important for setting a mood in your dental office.
- Design your reception area to create an inclusive feel for your patients.
- Reduce the impersonal barriers to provide somewhat seamless access to the front desk team.
- Designate a team member as the “host” for all arriving patients.
- Provide patients with comfortable “distractions” like reading materials, free (guest) wi-fi, a dedicated workspace, and themed decor that reflects local points of interest, etc.
- Use natural features such as plants (non-allergenic), outdoor views, and skylights that utilize natural lighting effects.
These tips might seem irrelevant to patient acquisition. Yet, realize it’s the vibe you create that helps patients feel more engaged and in control of their relationship with you as their care provider.
Relationship Development Details
Not all relationships start at a good place. In fact, for many healthcare appointments, there might already be a strike against you.
It’s nothing personal, it’s more of perception. Do the hard work of creating the right environment and match that with good relational skills to help dissolve some of the patients’ natural existing anxieties.
Every patient interaction or conversation provides you an opportunity to deepen your relationship with them.
Your top relational skill: listening!
It helps (beyond a phone conversation) to rely on your office design flow for enhanced listening. Meaning, it’s a good idea to have patient conversations in a designated, comfortable consult area or room.
Patients will feel more at ease and you/your team members will be better equipped to truly listen to what your patients share with you.
Leverage Your Knowledge for Their Benefit
Patients know it’s a good idea to take care of their physical or oral health. But they’re often lacking the “why” behind it.
Patients who feel informed are more likely to have a positive experience. And that positive experience leads to an increase in your patient acquisition success.
- Listen to their specific questions/concerns and provide the answers/solutions they need.
- Allow them to ask questions about your standard of care, technology, treatment outcomes, financials, and more. Freedom to ask questions enhances the relationship.
Schedule the “Next”
Relationships require consistency. The same applies to maintaining health. Your intentional efforts to set a patient’s next appointment confirms healthcare as a priority.
They stay connected to you/your office and their health maintains essential consistency. Those levels of consistency confirm that you’re on the path to increasing your patient acquisition percentages.
Keep in mind that acquiring patients is fundamentally a two-fold process. It’s one part environment and one part relational.
Optimize your office around each and you’ll increase your patient acquisition success.
Check out these related resources on these strategies that lead to an increase in patient acquisition:
Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to magical patient experience.