4 Tips for Growing Your Medical Practice
Every physician wants to grow their practice. Before you start, you need to work out where you are currently and put systems in place to measure key indicators for the health of your existing business. This may sound like a simple case of looking at your accounts to see how well your bank balance is doing, but there is a lot more to it than that.
1. Practice health diagnosis
There are two basic indicators of how healthy your practice is. The first area you need to review is just how many new patients have registered with your practice in a given period of time; monthly, for example. If the number of new patients you are attracting is steadily increasing, then you can see that the practice is expanding well.
The second indicator is the number of patients seen within the practice over a given period of time. Consider how many patients you see on an average day, for example. Established patients who attend the practice on a regular basis bring in regular revenue so you want a good mix of this group as well as newcomers.
You must be able to provide a good quality of service to all your patients. This means having someone to answer the phone when they ring for an appointment, and then having a slot in which to see them. Happy existing patients are a vital source of referral, and without them your practice simply won’t grow.
2. Marketing your practice
Do you have a website for your practice? How many hits does the website receive? Look at the literature you have available for potential and existing patients- brochures, flyers etc. Are they professional-looking and do they put across the practice’s brand clearly? Check if there is similar practice to your own within a ten mile radius. How does your marketing material compare with that of the competition?
If you don’t know what the competition has to offer their patients, how can you ensure that your practice not only equals but surpasses this? Without these initial indicators as benchmarks, you can’t create a realistic goal.
3. Make your practice special
An important and effective way to begin growing your practice is to publicize your personal expertise and credibility. The local media can be very helpful here. Offer yourself as a specialist in your field and make it clear that you are available to them when expert commentary is required. Don’t be backward about coming forward; no-one else is going to blow your trumpet for you! How about a regular QA slot on your local radio station, for example?
Contact local hospitals or other health organizations and offer your services as a guest speaker. Medicine is a very personal topic and contacts you make through networking and being approachable will see you as a trustworthy source of information and help. Local schools and health fairs are also useful opportunities for speaking engagements. If possible, make sure that the local press feature your attendance at such events. This is great publicity for your practice and is a far more effective way of reaching potential new patients than mailshots or advertising alone.
4. Be prepared
When you start to put in place initiatives to help kick-start practice growth, make sure that your organisation is up to the challenge. For instance, if you are going to offer a free cholesterol screening clinic, make sure that your staff are fully briefed on what they are expected to do.
Similarly, be prepared for a rush of new patients and make sure that your practice is equipped with the necessary hardware and staff to cope. New patients will soon lose interest if they ring for an appointment and you can’t offer them one for another two weeks.
Make sure that you have systems in place which are capable of measuring not only how many new patients join the practice, but how they were referred. In this way, you will be able to see just why your practice is growing and what has prompted this success.
Image source: Medical Practice Insider
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies.