2 Ways to Improve Your Chiropractic Patient Retention

Drs. Jeff Langmaid and Jason Deitch

Founder DCs, The Smart Chiropractor

Creating loyal patients and clients is critical when you are growing a chiropractic practice.

Unfortunately, the term “patient retention” can make some chiropractors squirm.

Most of the time, it’s because of an association with sleazy tactics to keep people coming in.

In this article, we’ll ask you to open your mind and consider patient retention an essential part of providing a top-notch patient experience.

If your PVA or patient visit average is 1 (meaning you have zero retention), it’s going to be very difficult to grow your practice.

In reality, patient retention has almost nothing to do with your care recommendations.

Retention Happens in 2 Phases
  1. Short-term
  2. Long-term

Short-term patient retention is defined as the patient completing their initial care plan.

Long-term patient retention is about that patient choosing you for care throughout the rest of their lifetime.

First, let’s focus on short-term retention.

This happens by creating the systems and processes to ensure your patients complete their initial care plan recommendations (whatever they may be).

Second, it’s about long-term retention.

Long-term retention is continually engaging with your inactive patients so that you stay top of mind and generate a steady flow of reactivations.

Here are the top ways you can improve your short and long term patient retention.

"We have loved this! We have already had 5 patient reacts from the emails in one week!"


Dr. Matthew Barnhart, DC

Triple Crown Chiropractic & Wellness

Automate Your Marketing

Short Term Patient Retention: New Patient Email On-Boarding

Patient retention begins during their first visit to your practice.

Let’s face it…

Visiting a new doctor can be intimidating.

Patients are coming in unsure of the process, anxious about what may be wrong with them, and vulnerably looking for help.

Providing an exceptional new patient onboarding experience is one of the most important things you can do to immediately improve your patient retention.

If a patient is confused or unsure of something after their initial visit, their likelihood of dropping off goes through the roof.

On the flip side, if a patient feels confident in your services, aware of their next steps, and can visualize a path towards their health goals, their risk of dropping out of care before completing the care plan is nearly zero.

So how do you ensure that the patient has a fantastic onboarding experience?

First, you’ll want your front desk to be fully trained to greet your patients and make your check-in/check-out process as streamlined as possible.

Then, of course, the scripting that you use during your evaluation and first treatments are essential.

But if you stop there, you’ll still struggle with short-term retention.

The key to maximizing your short-term retention through onboarding is having an automated new patient onboarding email sequence.

We’ve found that automated new patient onboarding email sequences can decrease your cancellations, improve your retention, and dramatically improve your new patient experience.

Inevitably patients return home with questions.

Your new patient onboarding sequence is specifically designed to proactively answer these questions.

In addition, an excellent onboarding sequence helps reinforce and validate the patient’s decision to choose your practice, provides them with the following steps, and guides their first few weeks in your practice.

There is no way you can accomplish everything you need to during your patient visits.

However, an automated new patient onboarding sequence can help fill in the holes to allow both the patient to receive the best results possible while you improve your patient retention.

Long Term Patient Retention: Weekly Email Newsletter

Long-term patient retention is just as necessary as short-term retention…

But it’s rarely focused on.

Long-term retention is all about staying connected and top of mind with your patient list.

When a patient becomes inactive in your practice, they should not stop hearing from you.

In most chiropractic practices, over 90% of the patients in practice are happy and satisfied with their care.

In other words…

They’d be glad to come back in the future after you’ve helped a patient improve their quality of life.

They know, trust, and like you.

You’ve established a doctor-patient relationship.

Let’s take a look at two examples of what could happen next.

Example 1

Jack (our patient) gets well and is happy with Dr. Jones’s care.

He completes his initial care plan and eventually becomes an inactive patient.

Unfortunately, Dr. Jones doesn’t have any weekly email newsletters to his inactive patient list.

Two years later, Jack has a flare-up.

He loved Dr. Jones but can’t exactly remember where the practice was, so Jack searches on Google for the closest chiropractor to him.

Unfortunately, it happens to not be Dr. Jones.

This type of thing happens every day.

But, now let’s look at Dr. Smith.

Example 2

Jane (our patient) gets well and is happy with Dr. Smith’s care.

She completes her initial care plan and eventually becomes an inactive patient.

Dr. Smith sends a weekly email newsletter to his inactive patient list.

Two years later, Jane has a flare-up.

She loved Dr. Jones and has an even deeper loyalty after receiving weekly emails that have helped her live a continually improving quality of life.

She goes to her email folder, opens the latest email from Dr. Smith, and clicks “Schedule an appointment today”.

We hope this illustrates the importance of sending a weekly email newsletter to keep a consistent stream of opportunities for reactivations in your practice.

Your patients of today should continue to be your patients in the future.

Otherwise, you’re growing your practice on quicksand.

If you’re not proactively staying top of mind with your patients through a weekly email newsletter, you are going to have difficulty filling your schedule.

As a result, you’ll end up spending more money on new patient advertising and ultimately not serving your patients to the best of your ability.

There are no reactivation tools more powerful than a beautifully-designed, research-based, automated weekly email newsletter.

Even those with small email lists, members of The Smart Chiropractor routinely generate 3-5 patient reactivations each week with our done-for-you, personalized, automatic weekly email newsletter.

Tips for Chiropractors: Keep Your Patient’s Coming Back for More

There are things big and small that chiropractors can do to make sure they retain their patients over time.

To improve your patient retention rates, focus on the key practices above.

Are you a chiropractor looking for resources and tools to help you grow and maintain your client base?

If so, become a Smart Chiropractor member with us today.

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