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10 Strategies to Improve Patient Retention at FQHCs

improve patient retention

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are lifelines for underserved communities, offering essential medical services. Yet, their ability to thrive not only hinges on delivering quality care but also on their capacity to improve patient retention for the long term.

Patient retention is the cornerstone of building trust, ongoing care provision, and the cultivation of healthier communities. However, the healthcare landscape is shifting quickly, with FQHCs facing unprecedented competition from consumer-based minute clinics, such as those found in retail giants like Walmart, Dollar General, and CVS.

The intensifying competition has elevated patient retention to a critical concern for FQHCs, demanding innovative strategies to keep patients engaged.

In this blog post, we will explore ten highly effective strategies designed to enhance patient retention at FQHCs. These approaches will not only help FQHCs navigate the challenges posed by evolving healthcare dynamics but also reinforce their commitment to delivering exceptional care and fostering stronger, more resilient communities.

How to Improve Patient Retention

By implementing the following strategies, FQHCs can strengthen patient relationships, elevate trust levels, and establish a solid foundation for long-term healthcare engagement, ensuring healthier and more resilient communities in the process.

Amplify the Patient Voice

Encourage patients to share their opinions about their experiences with your FQHC. This is a powerful strategy that not only demonstrates a commitment to patient-centered care but also fosters trust and loyalty within the community.

In a survey conducted by PatientPoint, about half of Americans said they worry a provider will be insulted or angry if they push back to get more information. It is important to change this view and create an environment where patients feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their thoughts.

By actively seeking and valuing patient feedback patient feedback, FQHCs can address concerns, tailor services, and make continuous improvements.

Implement Digital Rounding

Digital rounding is a technology-driven approach that streamlines and personalizes the patient care experience. By using digital rounding software, FQHCs can consistently and comprehensively assess patient satisfaction and needs, ensuring that patients feel valued and attended to.

These digital tools enable healthcare providers to gather real-time feedback from patients during their visits, addressing concerns and making immediate improvements.

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Prioritize & Analyze Patient Feedback

According to researcher Daniel Stokes, MD, "How patients feel about the care they are receiving has an impact on how they engage with healthcare and, in turn, their own health and well-being."

FQHCs can significantly boost patient retention by making patient feedback a priority and actively analyzing it to inform improvements in care delivery. When FQHCs value and act upon patient feedback, it not only demonstrates a commitment to patient-centered care but also fosters trust and engagement.

It is important to ensure that patients have a straightforward way to submit their observations and suggestions. One way to do this is using software like Performance Health Partners’ that allows customers to submit their feedback through a QR code-enabled survey.

Analyzing this feedback allows FQHCs to make data-driven decisions and tailor their services to better align with patient expectations and preferences. Moreover, when patients see their feedback acted upon, it reinforces the idea that their voices matter, which can create a sense of partnership between the healthcare center and its patients.

Implement Cultural Competency and Diversity Training

Culturally sensitive care is crucial, especially when serving diverse patient populations. Providing training on cultural competence equips healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills needed to understand and respect the cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and values of their patients.

Fifty-six percent of employed U.S. adults said focusing on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion at work was beneficial.

By fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment, FQHCs can make patients from various cultural backgrounds feel more comfortable, understood, and valued, which can in turn improve patient experience, patient satisfaction, and ultimately, patient retention.

patient loyalty

Engage Community Health Workers (CHWs)

Engaging CHWs can build a bridge between healthcare services and the community.

CHWs play a vital role in connecting patients to care, addressing social determinants of health, and building trust. By leveraging CHWs, FQHCs can extend their reach into the community and provide patients with culturally relevant support and guidance.

By connecting on a personal and community level, CHWs help patients feel more comfortable and confident in their healthcare journey, leading to improved patient retention as patients recognize the genuine care and support provided by the FQHC.

Prevent Harm Through Incident Reporting

Implementing a robust incident management system helps prioritize patient safety and prevent harm. When patients witness proactive efforts to prevent medical errors and adverse events through near miss and incident reporting, it instills confidence in the healthcare center's commitment to their well-being.

Patients are more likely to continue seeking care at an FQHC that promotes transparency and a culture of continuous improvement.

Offer Value-Added Services

Providing additional services such as wellness programs, mental health support, nutritional guidance, or assistance with social determinants of health demonstrates a holistic commitment to patients' well-being. By addressing various aspects of health and quality of life, FQHCs can create a more comprehensive and patient-centric care experience, making patients feel genuinely cared for.

When patients perceive that their healthcare provider is actively invested in improving their overall quality of life, they are more likely to stay engaged with the center, build trust, and foster long-lasting relationships.

Maintain Transparent Communication

A McKinsey survey found that over 60% of patients believe they do not receive enough information from healthcare organizations to help them find high-quality care. This statistic illustrates that patients do not believe healthcare is very transparent.

Open and honest dialogue between healthcare providers and patients fosters trust and loyalty. FQHCs should ensure that patients are informed about their treatment plans, have access to their medical records, and understand their health conditions. Furthermore, transparent communication means discussing costs and financial aspects of healthcare so there are no unexpected surprises.

When patients are treated with respect and provided with clear information about their care, they are more likely to feel valued and secure.

Regularly Review & Update Care Protocols

Adopting a proactive approach to care through the regular review and revision of care protocols can help improve patient retention.

The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, and medical knowledge is continually advancing. To keep pace, FQHCs should regularly assess their care protocols and ensure they reflect the latest best practices. When patients see their healthcare center's commitment to delivering the highest quality of care, they are more likely to remain engaged and loyal, as they trust that their health is in capable hands.

Initiate Personalized Follow Ups

Personalized follow-ups demonstrate a level of care and consideration that goes beyond the standard medical appointment. By reaching out to patients individually, FQHCs can inquire about their well-being, assess treatment progress, and address any concerns or questions they may have.

Seventy-five percent of patients want more personalized healthcare experiences and 44% want a doctor who makes it clear that they care.

Taking a personalized approach to care creates a stronger patient-provider relationship, making patients feel valued and heard.

Patient retention at FQHCs is a multidimensional effort that requires dedication, empathy, and a commitment to excellence in care. By implementing these ten strategies, you can create an environment where patients feel valued, respected, and well-cared for, fostering a strong sense of loyalty and trust between your FQHC and the community it serves.

Patient retention isn’t just about numbers; it's about improving lives and building a healthier community.

Ready to learn more?

Begin your journey towards improving your FQHC’s patient retention today. Connect with our team to learn more about Performance Health Partners' Best in KLAS incident reporting software.

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