Starting a medical practice and growing it is a daunting task, more so in these challenging times. A medical practice is a business like any other and physicians have to play many additional roles, such as entrepreneur, manager and CEO. Attracting new patients and retaining existing ones is essential for a practice to grow and thrive. Having the right support in all areas is also crucial. For instance, outsourcing medical transcription helps physicians maintain accurate, consistent and timely EHR documentation to convey all the information necessary for clinical management and reimbursement. Medical transcription services are just one cog in the wheel.
Strategies and Tools That Physicians Can Use
There are many strategies and tools that physicians can use to grow their practice.
- Build patient loyalty: Whether you’re a family physician, dentist, or orthopedic specialist, having a loyal patient base is essential for the stability, consistent profitability and growth of your practice. Here are 5 ways to boost patient loyalty:
- Monitor patient satisfaction – conduct surveys or ask for patient feedback to understand their needs, what they like about your practice/services, and also what irks them so that you can provide solutions
- Keep lines of communication open, make sure care personnel/customer care support are available on the phone
- Keep in touch with patients between visits and convey tips and health advice via email and newsletters
- Simplify appointment scheduling and address long wait times
- Respond to patient reviews on social media
Having a sound patient retention strategy is important for two reasons: it costs more to acquire customers than to retain them, and having loyal patients can increase referrals, which are crucial for any healthcare business.
- Hire the right people: Having friendly, efficient staff is paramount to grow your practice. It’s important to deliver a quality patient experience and also to manage the administrative and financial aspects of your business. Medical Economics reports that some 57%of physicians report feeling burned out or depressed in some way, with 56% of that set attributing the bulk of their troubles to “bureaucratic tasks.”
Choose the right team. Hire professionals with the personality, skills and passion to take your business forward and can help your practice survive and flourish. Whether you’re adding a partner, hiring a nonphysician provider, or an office manager, a Medical Economics article recommends focusing on hiring “high-quality staff for sustainable growth”.
How much support staff does a physician need? Well, almost every specialty has benchmarks for this. For instance, a primary care provider that relies on a family practice medical transcription service provider to maintain well-organized EHRs may require fewer support staff than one who is less organized. Likewise, with the right medical billing outsourcing company, practices can reduce revenue cycle management burdens, better handle the prior authorization process, and improve physician well-being.
Support your team. Studies have found that employees who are confident and happy in their role perform better. For instance, training on phone etiquette can be extremely useful for your front desk staff. Providing additional coaching and training can increase return on investment. A study by research consultancy group Accenture found that for every dollar invested in training, companies received $4.53 in return, which is a 353% return on investment (ROI).
- Showcase your brand: Just like other businesses, your medical practice needs to develop a brand and showcase it. Identify what’s unique about your practice and work with your team to develop a strong branding message that aligns with your corporate philosophies, operating systems, and guiding principles. As most people rely on Facebook and Twitter to find medical services, a social media presence is an effective way to connect with and attract new patients and build your brand. When you showcase your message on social media, remember to present it in a way that it’s a promise and not a pitch.
- Invest in technology: Investing in the latest technology is important to stay competitive. A 2021 HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report noted that 80% of healthcare providers plan to increase investment in technology and digital solutions over the next five years. A 2022 Forbes article predicts continued growth in telemedicine, personalized medicine, genomics, and wearables. Artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, extender reality (XR), and the internet of things (IoT) are being leveraged deliver these services. Video conferencing proved a great way to build life-long relationships with patients and families during the pandemic and allowed practices to maintain continuity of care with patients and, in some cases, engage new patients. Video visits are also more efficient than in-person consultations as they allow a provider to see more patients in the same period of time. New laws have increased telehealth reimbursement for qualified professionals such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists. With telemedicine, practices can enjoy revenue growth without the need to hire additional providers, office staff, or office space.
- Educate patients: Patient education is essential for practice growth. By identifying specific issues to address with each patient, you can personalize patient education and build patient loyalty. For instance, an ophthalmologist can personalize education for a millennial patient who works on a computer by explaining how blue-light filtering lenses can decrease eyestrain and recommending how to address the problem. By educating patients on solutions for their specific problems and needs, physicians can grow your practice and retain their patients.
- Prepare for financing processes: Financing is a critical aspect whether you are setting up or acquired a new practice or evaluating your existing financial options to grow your business. In addition to a robust advisory team, you need a proper business plan, as well as budgets, requisite documentation such as historical and current financial details (depending on circumstance), and specs to support your financing request. With a reliable lender, and solid team and documentation in place, you will be ready to grow your practice
Why Consider Outsourced Medical Transcription Service?
Finally, consider outsourced medical transcription services to maintain precise documentation, reduce overhead expenses, and free up time and resources. Partnering with a medical transcription company that can provide EHR documentation specific to your specialty can help you work smarter, focus on patient care, and grow your practice.