While doctors are committed to providing excellent medical services, the idea of increasing the value of their practice isn’t always at the forefront of their minds. It’s all about patient care and satisfaction. That’s what matters, right?
Unfortunately, that’s somewhat of a narrow view. The value of your practice is, in reality, directly related to the number of people you help. The more people who pass through your doors weekly, the more value you provide to the community, and the more your practice is worth. In short, providing an excellent level of care and the value of your office go hand in hand.
Doctors rarely treat their practices as businesses, but to deliver maximum value to patients, they should. The more business-like you can be in your approach, the more benefit you’ll be able to provide patients, and the more revenue you’ll generate. It’s a win-win.
Okay, you might say, that’s all well and good, but what if you don’t know the first thing about business?
Fear not. In this article, we’re going to take a look at five tried-and-tested ways that medical doctors can increase the value of their practice. Check them out below.
Find Ways To Motivate Your Staff
All of the best companies in the world find ways to motivate their staff to get the best from them. People don’t want to be stuck doing the same thing, month after month, year after year. They want an opportunity to expand their horizons, take on more responsibility, and do more exciting work with their time.
Your job as a lead doctor is to provide your team with opportunities to progress and become more engaged in what they do. The happier people feel about their jobs, the more likely they are to put in the effort and commit to the entire project of the clinic.
You can also motivate your staff by giving them more of a voice. Perhaps there aren’t any opportunities for them to progress or take on new responsibilities, but there’s always the option of providing them with a forum where they can share their concerns. The more you listen to genuine feedback from your team, the easier it is to identify strategies that will make life better for both them and your patients.
Improve Your Marketing
You might not like it, but Dr. Google is a real phenomenon. Data suggests that more than 72 percent of patients now look on the internet to learn more about their symptoms, and more than 62 percent consult online reviews about specific clinics. It’s vital, therefore, that your practice invests in the latest healthcare marketing to promote its cause. Doctor marketing isn’t always easy because of regulations and competition, but doing it right could significantly improve your practice.
You can improve your marketing in the following ways:
- Monitor your reputation online, in forums, and on social media using social listening tools
- Build an adaptable website which provides the functionality that patients want, such as the ability to book appointments
- Create a content strategy that will help you get found by people searching for medical services in your area
- Launch a social media campaign and accounts that allow people at your practice to communicate with patients
- Sign up to major review sites so that patients can comment on the experience that they have with you and let other people know about the quality of your services
Offer Flexible Appointment Times
Like other services, patients want you to be available to them during evenings and weekends. Ideally, they don’t want to have to take time off work to come to a midday appointment.
Unfortunately, though, the majority of doctor’s offices don’t offer after-hours services, and if they do, it’s limited. Being available to patients for longer during the week, however, is a surefire way to win business and beat your competitors who open 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.
You don’t, of course, have to work all hours. All you need to do is stagger your rotas so that some of your team cover a morning shift and others the evening or weekend. What’s more, you can play with your timetable, rotating the members of your team who do the unsociable hours. Remember, patients are often willing to pay more for the convenience of an out-of-hours service.
Not every patient who walks into your clinic requires a consultation with a specialist doctor. For many, a nurse will suffice. If you find yourself inundated with patients, try to segment them according to need. There’s often no requirement for a child with scrapes and bruises to see a specialist pediatrician. Often the best approach is to shuttle them in the direction of a nurse who can provide wound dressing, help calm them down and reassure the parents.
You can also invest in staff training to improve the effectiveness of your extenders. The more people on your team who can deal with minor medical issues, the more time you free up your doctors for specialist work. You preserve the time of your most skilled physicians while at the same time improving the patient experience by seeing people faster.
Cut Down Missed Appointments
If your revenue figures aren’t quite what you hoped, take a look at the number of missed appointments you had in the last year.
Granted, not all of your patients will be able to attend their appointments. Sometimes things come up, and patients have no choice but to miss them.
A lot of the time, however, skipped appointment are avoidable. Patients miss them because they know that there are no ramifications if they do.
Some practices, therefore, now implement a cancellation policy. Cancellation policies don’t force patients to attend all appointments that they make, but encourage them to provide notice if they cannot. By doing this, they give your reception team time to reallocate patients to different slots, helping your doctors to fill their calendars. Most practices insist on 24 hours notice before charging a cancellation fee, but you might be able to whittle that down to two hours with the right scheduling system in place.
So, which of these ideas will you use to increase the value of your practice?