Tested-Not-Treated Patients — What Is Your Follow-Up Plan?
No doubt you’re familiar with the tested-not-treated patient: Though diagnosed with a hearing loss, they do not move forward with your recommended treatment plan. Is it a missed opportunity — or just a delayed one?
The Tested-Not-Treated Patient
Every provider, no matter how effective, will have patients that decide against treatment. They make this decision for a number of reasons, including:
- Can’t afford the cost
- Must discuss further with family (often the result of not bringing a companion)
- Can’t see the value in treatment
- Just found out about the hearing loss and have to process
- Denial (“I get along just fine,” “my family just needs to speak up”)
- Want to shop around
- Need referring physician’s approval
There are only three outcomes, however, after they leave your practice: they’ll remain untreated, seek treatment with a competitor, or return to seek treatment from you.
It will take an aha moment — a moment where they miss something meaningful they can never get back — to motivate them to seek a solution. With the proper plan and execution, you can make sure it’s you they think of at that moment.
Tested-not-treated patient follow-ups should be a priority. If you’re not already using a block schedule, consider implementing one. If you use blocks already, tested-not-treated follow-ups should be incorporated into the blocks each week — at least an hour each for preparing letters and making calls.
The Tested-Not-Treated Process
We’ve developed a proven process based on best practices from across the hearing care industry to keep you top of mind with these patients.
Through step four the provider should be the point of contact, as they established the connection and have the emotional tie-in with the patient. Before each step of the process, review the patient’s pain points and objections.
- Points for reflection
Send the patient home with one of these “homework” sheets tailored to their objections. This will both help them understand this stage in their journey and keep you top of mind.
- My Hearing Awareness Homework. Develop a worksheet that provides writing prompts based on their hearing lifestyle pain points. This helps them develop awareness of how their hearing loss affects their daily life and come to their own conclusions about next steps.
- Your Important Considerations Checklist. Develop a checklist of those aspects of your practice that set you apart from other independent practices and the corporate chains. These should be aspects that you feel truly define your value and that any hearing-care experience should include. They can refer to this as they visit competitors and compare pricing.
- A personal touch
Twenty-four hours later, mail a handwritten thank-you card to stand out from the competition.
- Mail a tested-not-treated letter
One week after the appointment, send a short, simple letter with talking points showing an understanding of their objections and a review of their options. Include a handwritten note for that personal touch.
- Follow-up call
The letter is just setting the stage for this follow-up call. Phone calls are the most important part of the process and provide an even more personal touch, allowing you to directly address any objections. Call three business days after the letter is mailed.
The key to this step — it is not a sales call; it is a conversation. This is a time to reconnect with the patient and learn their thoughts, their mindset, and their plans for their hearing. A rapport goes much further than a sales pitch.
- Mail a private-sale letter
Four weeks after the appointment, mail a letter detailing technology that might apply to the patient’s situation or offering savings.
- Include them in regular patient communications
Keep them in your database so they receive things like newsletters, e-newsletters, and annual exam reminders.
- Touch base every six months
At this point, outreach is handled by the front-office staff, or the person tasked with this duty. Continue with a tested-not-treated letter every six months, followed by a phone call after three days. This will keep you top of mind if they decide to pursue treatment.
It’s important enough to repeat: It is not a sales call; it is a conversation. This is a time to reconnect with the patient and learn their thoughts, their mindset, and their plans for their hearing.
This is just an overview of how to position your practice as your tested-not-treated patients’ first thought after that aha moment. Audigy members have access to Patients for Life®, an entire patient-driven process focusing on the highest level of patient involvement and care. Reach out to one of our Professional Development managers today to learn more!