The Intake

Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

Why high-quality care is the bedrock of patient retention

Quality of care covers many areas — from the care you provide, to communications, to appointment availability.

patient care and patient retention

At a Glance

  • Nearly half of patients switch providers due to poor experiences, emphasizing the importance of high-quality care for patient retention.
  • Quality care includes safe, effective, and patient-centered services that boost loyalty and reputation.
  • Personalized care and modern technology improve patient retention by enhancing service consistency and accessibility.

Delivering high-quality care keeps your patients happy. It makes them less likely to search for another healthcare provider. But did you know exactly how much of an impact high-quality care has on patient retention?

In Tebra’s 5th annual Patient Perspectives report, 47% of patients say they left their usual practice due to poor experiences. On the flip side, 61% of patients say they stay with a provider because of excellent experiences with them. These findings emphasize how critical high-quality healthcare and strong provider-patient relationships are for patient retention.

Ahead, we’ll reveal some more enlightening report results to demonstrate how you can simultaneously improve both care quality and also patient retention rates. 

Definition of high-quality care in healthcare

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the framework for quality assessment includes the following 6 aims for the healthcare system:

  1. Safe: Avoid harm to patients from the care that is intended to help them.
  2. Effective: Provide services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit and refrain from providing services to those not likely to benefit.
  3. Patient-centered: Respect and respond to patients’ preferences, needs, and values to ensure that they are partners in their own care.
  4. Timely: Reduce waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care.
  5. Efficient: Avoid waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy.
  6. Equitable: Provide care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socioeconomic status.

Why is patient retention important in healthcare?

Since 36% of patients are willing to give healthcare practices only one chance after an unpleasant experience, it’s clear that delivering high-quality care is crucial for patient retention and satisfaction. 

Increasing patient retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. ”

Retaining patients not only boosts a clinic’s reputation but also contributes significantly to its economic stability and growth. 

Here’s why else patient retention matters:

  • Building trust: Trust is the cornerstone of any healthcare relationship, particularly where treatments can be ongoing, such as in physiotherapy. Build trust by listening attentively to your patients, addressing their concerns comprehensively, and consistently tailoring care to each individual's needs. A trusting relationship encourages your patients to return and also to recommend your practice to others.
  • Continuity of care: Consistency in the provider, treatment, and overall healthcare experience helps build a comfortable routine for patients. For long-term patients, consistency reassures them that they will receive reliable and stable care. The outcome is more loyal patients and increased retention rates.
  • Profit increases: Increasing patient retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.

The impact of high-quality care on patient experience and retention

High-quality care directly influences a patient’s perception of value and trust in their healthcare provider. Online reviews, digital convenience, and virtual appointments increasingly influence patient decision-making and loyalty. 

For example, in Tebra’s 2024 annual Patient Perspectives report, 62% (the top answer) of respondents state that positive online reviews are extremely important. This cycle of trust attracts new patients and helps retain existing ones.

Many patients carefully analyze several reviews before making a decision. In fact, 37% of patients read between 6-10 reviews. Consistently delivering quality care is crucial for gathering favorable testimonials that reinforce your practice’s credibility.

Ways to boost retention through high-quality care 

The following are the vital aspects of high-quality care that help your patient retention rates:

Personalized and compassionate patient interactions

Personalization involves understanding the unique circumstances and health goals of each patient. This allows your healthcare team to tailor their interventions more effectively. Patients who experience treatments being adapted to their specific needs are more likely to feel valued and continue their care.

From the first encounter to the last, patients should always feel valued. Many arrive feeling unwell or anxious, so every interaction — whether online, over the phone, at the front desk, or with medical staff — should be clear and compassionate.

Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your website is accommodating and welcoming: 

  • When potential patients look up your practice, how does your website compare to other providers? 
  • Is your website professional and welcoming? 
  • Does your website convey clarity and empathy? 
  • Is contact information readily available, and are the hours of operation easy to find? 
  • Can patients quickly book appointments through a remote patient management system?

Tebra can help your practice create a customized, high-functioning website optimized for growth and for todays' patients' needs. Personalized and compassionate interactions are all about being hyper-aware of patients’ needs and responding accordingly.

Consistency in care delivery across all touch points

Whether it's the initial consultation, follow-up visits, or interactions with administrative staff, patients must feel they are receiving reliable and consistent attention each time. 

Consistency involves maintaining accurate medical records, providing coherent communication, and ensuring a seamless experience across various touchpoints. These include in-person, virtual, and over-the-phone interactions. This approach reassures patients that their well-being is a top priority and encourages them to stay with their healthcare provider over the long term.

Proactive follow-ups

Proactively reaching out after treatments, surgeries, or procedures shows that your healthcare practice is invested in patient outcomes. Personalized follow-up calls, messages, or surveys reinforce care continuity and make patients feel valued.

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Accessibility and convenience in healthcare services

The patients of today expect healthcare services that fit into their busy lives. 

Practices that offer extended hours, multiple locations, and virtual care options significantly enhance accessibility and convenience. Tebra research reveals that 64% of patients prefer virtual appointments for follow ups and check-ins that don′t need physical examination.

Actively listening to patients and providing efficient appointment scheduling, minimal waiting times, and telehealth services enable patients to receive care when and how they prefer. This flexibility increases patient satisfaction and retention, as well as ensuring that they can access high-quality treatment without unnecessary delays or inconvenience.

Incorporating technology for improved care management

Integrating advanced technologies into care management can greatly improve patient outcomes and engagement. Tebra’s 2024 annual Patient Perspectives report found that 42% of patients prefer to book their appointments either online or through a patient portal. 69% of patients prefer to receive digital reminders for their appointments. 

Electronic health records (EHRs), remote patient monitoring, and digital appointment systems allow your practice to monitor patient progress closely and streamline administrative tasks. These tools help your healthcare team communicate more effectively and personalize treatment plans based on accurate data. 

As a result, patients experience better-coordinated care, greater transparency, and an overall smoother healthcare journey. 

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Leveraging patient feedback for continuous improvement

Patient feedback is invaluable for analyzing your care delivery and enhancing retention. 

Surveys, reviews, and direct communication can reveal gaps in service, unaddressed patient concerns, and opportunities for improvement. Use this valuable data to adapt services, train staff, and implement new technologies that match patient preferences. 

Demonstrating responsiveness to feedback shows a commitment to high-quality care. It also creates a more personalized, patient-centered environment that encourages long-term loyalty.

Measuring the success of high-quality care in patient retention

Retention metrics can vary wildly, and ultimately can be aligned with your practice’s definition of success.

Some key questions to ask include:

  • How long should a customer lifecycle be for your practice? 
  • How frequently do you want them to schedule? 
  • What’s your ideal retention rate? 

Key performance indicators (KPIs) for monitoring success

Here are some common measurable KPIs:

Patient satisfaction scores: Feedback from surveys and reviews provides direct insight into patient perceptions of care quality, communication, and overall experience.

Average patient visit frequency: Tracking how often patients return for follow-ups or routine visits helps assess the appropriateness of scheduling practices and appointment reminders.

No-show rate: The number of missed appointments can reveal issues with scheduling convenience, patient communication, or follow-up strategies.

Referral rate: A high percentage of new patients coming through referrals from existing patients suggests strong satisfaction and loyalty.

Net promoter score (NPS): This metric gauges patient willingness to recommend a practice to others.

Revenue per patient: Evaluating the revenue generated per patient over time can highlight a practice's economic sustainability and efficiency.

Analyzing patient retention rates and feedback loops

Analyzing patient retention rates and establishing effective feedback loops are critical steps in understanding both how well your practice is performing and where you can make improvements.

Here's a breakdown of each component:

Patient retention rates: This metric provides a clear indication of how successfully your practice is keeping patients engaged. 

By tracking the percentage of patients returning over a specific time frame, you can identify trends and potential issues. A declining retention rate might indicate underlying challenges like inconsistent care, poor communication, or inconvenient scheduling. 

Feedback loops: These are mechanisms that allow practices to continuously collect, analyze, and act on patient input. 

Surveys, follow-up calls, and online reviews all serve as valuable tools to gauge patient satisfaction and gather actionable insights. This is another method of identifying patterns and addressing common concerns or areas for improvement. 

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Empowering staff to deliver high-quality patient care

Independent practice owners and providers face unique challenges in delivering high-quality care while maintaining patient retention. 

However, by focusing on actionable steps that align with your specific practice needs, you can create a patient-centered environment that drives loyalty and growth.

Create a culture of excellence in patient care

A culture of excellence in patient care begins by clearly defining your practice’s core values. 

Identify and clearly communicate the core values that will guide every aspect of your patient care — from clinical procedures to administrative interactions. These values should emphasize empathy, safety, transparency, and patient empowerment.

Practice owners and senior staff should embody the principles of high-quality care. This involves actively listening to patients, being responsive to concerns, and ensuring consistent communication. By setting this example, leaders can influence the behavior and attitudes of the whole team.

By focusing on actionable steps that align with your specific practice needs, you can create a patient-centered environment that drives loyalty and growth. ”

Also emphasize the power of team collaboration. This means ensuring that every team member feels valued and heard. Encourage open communication among clinical and non-clinical staff to address challenges and share ideas for improvement for cohesive and patient-focused care.

Lastly, recognize successes. Celebrate achievements, both big and small, to reinforce a sense of accomplishment and encourage continuous improvement. Recognizing individual and team efforts builds morale and reinforces a culture of excellence.

Train and develop staff on quality care practices

Encouraging continuous learning among staff and standardizing care protocols can work to boost efficiency without sacrificing quality. 

Provide regular training and development opportunities that enable all team members to enhance their skills, adapt to changing healthcare needs, and remain motivated. Skilled and confident staff contribute significantly to a positive patient experience.

With these improvements, your practice can consistently meet patient needs while building a sustainable, patient-focused system.

High-quality care is the bedrock of patient retention

When it comes to patient retention, high-quality care is the bedrock. 

Quality of care includes everything, from the care provided, to communications, to appointment availability. Patients define quality of care in terms of their treatment — from the time they schedule their first appointment to when their relationship with the healthcare provider ends. 

Results from our 5th Patient Perspectives report show how responsiveness and convenience in digital interactions is crucial for patients. Integrating smart electronic tools to streamline processes and enhance patient engagement will boost the provision of quality care delivery and foster patient retention.

To navigate the shifting landscape of patient expectations and maintain your excellent patient retention rates, learn what influences patient choices and behaviors in the 2024 Patient Perspectives report.

Patient Perspectives Report

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Learn how to create a seamless patient experience that increases loyalty and reduces churn, while providing personalized care that drives practice growth in Tebra’s free guide to optimizing your practice.

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Becky Whittaker, specialist SEO copywriter

Becky Whittaker is a specialist SEO copywriter with over a decade of experience and an interest in healthcare and legal marketing. Becky believes that independent practices are critical because they have more opportunities to deliver better patient care and personalize patients’ experiences. She also has a personal connection to the healthcare industry, as her sister-in-law is a pediatrician.

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