It’s approaching the middle of the year.
Are you on track to hit your year-end goals?
A mid-year checkpoint can be a critical time to take a long, hard look at your practice and evaluate whether you’re on track to meet your goals. The best part: a change in direction now provides you enough time to see the impact before the year’s over. Here are some of the main areas to not only help you achieve your 2018 goals, but set your practice up for success long-term.
1. Upgrade Your Technology
Elective medical practices can boast the most cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology for patient procedures. But when it comes to patient management, many are still stuck in the past. If you’re finding you or your staff spends most of their day on administrative tasks, chances are there’s a back-office technology solution that can help save you time and money.
The area that’s probably most important for you to evaluate is your customer management system. Reliance on a paper system can not only take up a significant amount of time, it can increase the risk of errors which can put patient health at risk.
But even if you’re paper-free and experiencing constant delays or regular issues with your customer management system, it may be time to upgrade. You shouldn’t have to adapt to how your system is built. Technology should be built around your practice – with the automation, flexibility, and ability to scale as you grow.
While no one likes to make the switch, replacing outdated platforms will help set the foundation for practice growth. An online tool can help you find the right platform based on practice size, budget, and technology integration.
2. Revamp Your Communication
In the digital age, practices not only need to evolve their management, but also communication. How you promote your services, provide information, and allow prospective patients to reach you can be a game-changer for growth.
Consumers today want to connect with companies according to the communication method that works best for them. Depending on where they are in their day, they may want to send you an email, request information on your website, message you on social media, send you a text, or give you a call. The question is, are you available when they decide they need you?
The best medical practices have adapted to consumer needs by adopting multiple communication channels and effectively managing each. They’re continually meeting prospective patients where they’re at with right timing, messaging, and platform. So, when patients are ready to act, they’re available.
Think of your communication with patients as a regular dialogue, but it’s up to you to keep the conversation going. When you aren’t updating your website content, answering the phones, engaging on social media, evolving your pay-per-click campaigns, or sending relevant content to your prospective patient’s inbox, you’re essentially giving the spotlight to competitors.
3. Energize Your Staff
What’s the difference between leadership and management? Donn Sanders, President, Integrated Medical Management Solutions, points out, “You can be a good manager and a poor leader. You can be spot on for what needs to be done but not be able to motivate anyone to do it. This is the departure point for leadership.”
While management and leadership occur at every level, even in informal groups, it’s important to understand where you are over-managing and where you are empowering others by leading. Start paying attention to office culture by taking an assessment of your staff’s day to day interaction with patients, energy, and desire to go above and beyond. Typically, the high-performing employees are clear about their role, feel taken care of by their company, and feel empowered by the fact they are contributing to something greater. These employees create an atmosphere patients want to be a part of.
In contrast, employees who are stressed, over-worked, or not trained to do the job they’re doing, can create a negative experience that has patients running for the hills.
If you want your patients to feel cared about and valued, then it’s up to you as the practice leader to show your staff they’re appreciated and a critical part of practice success. Recognize and reward when staff goes above and beyond, receives a positive review, or hits a goal. When your staff is happy, you’ll see your patients are happy too.
3. Nail the First Impression
You never have a second chance to make a first impression. While many think it only takes 10, 15, or 30 seconds to make an initial impression, data shows a person’s opinion forms in about 1/10 of a second.
It’s critical to train your staff on ways they can deliver the best experience for new patients. This means answering the phones quickly, greeting callers properly, asking questions and taking the time to address the questions or concerns that are unique to that patient. When they arrive for a consultation, staff should be available to welcome them and make them feel comfortable. It’s those key points when a patient decides whether they are ready to book a medical procedure with you or go with another practice.
4. Be Relentless About Patient Recall
It’s estimated that 50-60 patients per month who are required to have a follow-up appointment are never contacted.
One of the most cost-effective ways to generate revenue for your practice is through patient recall. Yet many practices don’t invest in the staffing or technology to be proactive in outreach. Even if they do, it’s often automated instead of personal – which has many patients ignoring reminders to book the next appointment.
Boomerang powered by Brevium is OptiCall’s patient retention program that identifies inactive insurance-based patients within your practice management system. Our highly qualified team of phone counselors then personally calls them to schedule their next exam. Combining a systematic approach with personalized outreach has shown to significantly increase the number of booked and kept ophthalmology, dermatology, and OB-GYN appointments. In fact, results in our internal study showed the average practice that spent $18,000 on the program in 2017, generated $300,000 in revenue by the end of the year. That’s an average of 1,667% return on investment in one year.
If your focus is only on getting more patient leads, you could be missing a huge opportunity to generate more revenue.
5. Don’t Wait
Revisit the goals you outlined at the beginning of the year. Perhaps they’re realistic, but the plan you outlined to get there isn’t serving you or isn’t taking into account some of the major roadblocks listed above. Referred to as “best practice benchmarking” or “process benchmarking”, the first step is evaluating various aspects of your business to develop improvement plans. Review these plans weekly, monthly, and quarterly to see how your practice is tracking against set goals and where you may need to course correct.
If you’ve been reading the steps up to this point, chances are you believe something needs to change. Now’s the time to take a hard look at key areas to understand what’s holding you back from growth. Removing blocks by implementing even small changes on a consistent basis can make a huge difference in the next 6 months.
OptiCall partners with experts in the industry to provide a full evaluation of your practice performance. To request a full practice evaluation, contact us.