Running a successful practice in today’s ever-competitive environment can be challenging for even the most qualified professionals in the medical field. From constant technological advances to complex changes in healthcare laws, it seems that healthcare professionals need to be more vigilant than even to become and remain profitable. In order to attract and retain patients while expanding your practice, here are 3 tips to get you started.
1. Focus on the Front Desk
A successful practice starts with patient satisfaction — both in terms of creating a positive first impression when a patient first checks in, and building a strong online reputation. The person at the front desk is the face of the practice. He or she can make a life-long patient or a one-time patient based upon how they meet and greet. Here are three ways to strengthen your focus on the front desk.
Evaluate Personnel. The front desk personnel should welcome patients in a family-friendly manner and have the skills to simultaneously handle insurance verification and accept co-payments in an organized way. Invest time in finding personnel who combine soft skills and deftness in multitasking.
Streamline Intake Before Patients Arrive. Customer satisfaction starts at registration and the waiting room. The less time patients spend in your waiting room, the happier they are likely to be with their visit. To make sure their appointment stays on schedule, ask them to download and compile intake forms or use a secure system where they can submit the information online to save time. Many practices risk hurting patient satisfaction because they don’t organize their schedules properly.
Strong Financial Controls in Place. Reconciling the co-payments with what gets deposited in the bank regularly helps you stay on track and identify discrepancies. This process instills a strong financial control in place and can identify monetary loss and theft early on.
2. Connect & Engage on Social Media
Even if you have no time to tweet your latest medical insights, it’s important to pay attention to what patients are saying about you on review sites such as Healthgrades, Yelp, and Yodle. With today’s advancements in medical technology and media, the relationship with the patient doesn’t end with the procedure or with checkout. Connecting and engaging with your patients on social media continues to foster patient satisfaction and understanding of their experience. It’s less about the doctor and more about the experience.
To help you get started, here are two ways to master social media:
Designate a point person. Medical practitioners need to build a “brand” that is known in the community. You can achieve this in a variety of ways, from blogging to interacting with your patients on social media, and doing radio and TV interviews. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone to assist you — be it one of your staff or an outside agency.
Ask for reviews. Asking your patients to post a review on a social site is not awkward. Framing the value proposition carefully can make it easier. To facilitate this process, many medical practices print cards to have their team hand out to patients. They might invite their patients to share an unbiased review of their experience. Their honest opinions may not be perfect, but perfection may raise questions. Encouraging your patients to share their experience will also help you identify areas of improvement.
3. Fine-Tune Operations
Narrowing your focus to just one or two key projects to improve the bottom line of your practice for the year ahead can mean the difference between thriving and teetering on the brink of joining a hospital staff. Maintaining your overhead within a reasonable level and sustaining revenue is the key to running an independent practice. Here are 3 ways to help fine-tune operations:
Re-negotiate contracts with insurance companies. Even the slightest improvement in reimbursement annually can make a difference in the long haul.
Re-connect with dormant patients. Mailings to remind patients you haven’t seen in a while to come in for a checkup helps to keep in touch and communicate with patients. That’s where future revenue lies.
Re-evaluate recurring costs. Billing, invoicing, and customer relationship management software fees can add up quickly, so make sure you are identifying the latest cloud-based technologies to reduce your overall costs.
Schedule a Consultation
Considering space for your medical practice can be challenging with multiple factors influencing your day-to-day operations. Whether you are starting from scratch or in the early stages of planning your move, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.