SF General increased their enrollment by making the program a built-in part of the patient’s care plan that they can opt out of if they want.
Many of our patients had been navigating the healthcare system for a very long time and had been a part of program after program. The last thing they wanted was to sign up for another program that seemed focused on patients with more serious conditions. They’d ask us, “How did you get my name? Why did you pick me?”
What We Tried
We don’t say the word “program” anymore and don’t ask people whether they want to sign up. Instead, we say, “Can I be a support person for you? Can I give you this free calendar that will help you stay organized?” We also gave them the number to our warm line so they could reach us at any time if they had a question. We share with them everything we can help them with and let them know that they can tell us to stop at any time.
Our patients now feel special that they get to work with a transitions nurse. They’ve never had anyone spend so much time with them and give them a way to reach out if they have a question. We don’t have any problems with enrollment now.
Some patients have an affinity to a certain gender or ethnicity—they’re more comfortable with a Hispanic person or a woman, for example. We want to meet patients where they are, even if they don’t match our beliefs, so we try to match patients with someone they will be the most comfortable with.