Add more patients and grow your medical business in 5 easy steps
About 17 million more Americans are now eligible to get health insurance coverage since the enrollment started following the Affordable Care Act. The number includes around 11 million people who have enrolled through the state and federal insurance exchanges and a few through the new employee-sponsored health coverage.
If you are a medical practice that wish to be a part of the new wave of business but do not see it coming, here are five simple, low cost methods. Once started, you can see your patient base increasing without much effort.
Step #1: Count the number of Positive Online Reviews
If you already have a good number of positive patient reviews online, then you are on track to receiving more patients. If not, make venues for patients to write reviews about your physicians. Patients are tech-savvy and it is most likely that they will check reviews about your service before they decide to be your patient. A quick view of what other patients have written about you will give an insight about your online review status. Check out websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, ZocDoc, Healthgrades, etc. If you find many negative reviews about a particular service, then get down to the problem and improve the quality of service.
It would be easier to talk to your long-term patients and take an opinion about your practice. If you get a positive feedback, ask them to share it as an online review. Keep checking the number of online reviews and as the positive reviews increase, you will see an increase in the number of potential new patients.
Step #2 Are you live on Social Media?
Doctors may be reluctant about using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook for business. It may not be the best medium to communicate sensitive data, but there are safer ways to take advantage of this mass communication platform to gain more potential patients.
Encourage your existing patients to follow your business on Twitter or ‘Like’ the Facebook Fanpage. Once the patients follow your posts or updates, their friends can see it. This will drive user traffic to your page and services offered at your medical practice will have more visibility. The page should be attractively designed to engage the new visitor and prompt them to ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ the page.
You can also create a blog page to write wellness tips, discuss general health issues, announce local health programs and also give positive information about your medical practice. The blog page can be promoted through social media sites like Twitter or LinkedIn and it can be used to engage with other prominent organizations in your community. This way a lot of people can get to know about your business.
Step #3 Use more Technology
Coordinate your administrative services through online appointments/patient portals instead of phone calls. This would be a great hit among young patients. Patients like to be organized and use latest technology and apps through mobile phones to check the availability of appointments. If you make it easy for them, there will be a good word of mouth advertisement that will spread in your favor.
Use ‘Patient Portals’ to let your patients see their lab results. This is a great alternative to making a phone call or coming in for a visit. Make it a practice to check your email and give prompt reply. Save time for your employees and patients and still be on track. The Internet Journal of Healthcare Administration notes that patient no-shows reduced by 36% when appointment reminders were sent as a text message.
When patients are happy, they will refer their friends and family to you. Technology enables you to get more patients easily, new as well as existing ones, and it would also increase patient satisfaction scores.
Step #4 Create ‘Potential Patient’ Engagement
Do you or your representative participate in fundraising events or community service projects? Community service is a great way to get noticed and build a positive image for your medical practice. If you are known to contribute for a charitable cause, such as a silent auction or cancer walk, take it as a chance to let people know about your business and organize another event like a dinner-dance that would benefit a nearby school. Always accept invitation to a conference / discussion that gives you the opportunity to expand your network. Be proactive to support a new community in all means you can and you will get noticed by new people who will definitely become your potential patients.
Step #5 Meet the demands
Be responsive to the changing demography in your community and patient population. Add adequate number of staff if you notice an increase in the number of patients in a particular specialty. Recruit adequate staff to widen your current services and it is also a good idea to add new services to meet the need of new patients. Promote the new services through strategic advertisements to the target audience. If your patient base includes pregnant women or young children, hire a dedicated pediatrician. And if an employer lays off a huge number of employees in your community, consider a reasonable direct payment option for the uninsured. If you see that your business is being affected by a small clinic at a drugstore, employ a physician assistant to do standard medical exams and prescribe medications.
Always be aware of what people need. By meeting the demands in your community on time, you can increase the number of potential patients and increase the success for your business.
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