Despite your best efforts at customer service, patient relations, and retention, patients will leave your practice. But these individuals can represent a gold mine of crucial information. Who can tell you more about your practice than the people who decide to leave it? They have no reason to keep your good will and they may have specific, possibly critical observations that others won’t give.
Ask your recent ex-patients how they feel about you by sending them an exit questionnaire. Almost every physician has a slew of accounts for patients not seen for six months to two years, but who haven’t died or moved. The list includes patients who requested a transfer of records, some who designated another doctor under a managed care plan, and others who simply stopped coming.
To learn how these people evaluate your practice, draft a simple questionnaire asking their observations. It doesn’t cost much and it won’t embarrass you to send it to them. Questions can include desirability of the office location, attractiveness of your office, responsiveness of both your office staff and physician(s), perceived effectiveness of the medical care, and appropriateness of your fees.