Tips For Growing Your Practice In The New Normal
Growing a healthcare practice might have seemed impossible some 600 days ago. Regular healthcare providers took a hit as people postponed regular services and looked for help in ER rooms. Safety protocols were updated weekly. Walk-ins suddenly vanished.
But many practices found a way around the challenges and took things one step further: growth. They adapted to the new way of working with new systems, new stats, and new workflows.
It took creativity to figure out how to update booking appointments, how to encourage patients to visit the practice, and do all that (and more) with an extremely limited staff. Expansion in the new setting was a distant horizon, but with help from technology, it is now a tangible development.
The goals were simple: retention, then acquisition, and both through process simplification, streamlining, and productivity increases. And to put the above into perspective, Deputy conducted a survey of more than 2,000 consumers throughout the United States. Here’s what the results said.
1. Grow your practice with data and tech
There’s an essential lesson to be learned from decades of retail marketing: retention always trumps acquisition. In the digital era, this is not backed not only by finance, but also by human behavior.
As you move forward, rethink procedures. Communications have migrated online: Zoom meetings, messaging apps, project management tools to name a few. Social media exploded during stay-at-home orders, and telehealth helped reduce the risk of physical encounters.
You can use this to gain valuable patient data through reviews, comments, and identified preferences. Age groups demonstrated different preferences when it comes to things like booking appointments and which information they like to get first. Use this and implement it to boost retention and simplify processes for your patients. While 82% of respondents said booking was more difficult during the last year, stats show that 53% still favoured calling in to do so.
Also: 52% of respondents prioritised location-based choice of facility, but 43% based their choice on insurance policies. Being aware of these numbers can help you identify where your traffic leaks are, but also where your potential for growth lies!
Booking is not the only thing you can work on: upgrade and streamline phone protocols. This can do wonders not only for your patients, but for staff workload as well. Waiting room experience is another piece of the puzzle. As safety protocols and legal requirements change, use your communication channels to make them publicly available.
Luckily, as the pandemic unrolled, creativity took over to work around the obstacles, and technology provided the necessary solutions. Now it’s time to leverage those to not only stay afloat, but to grow.
2. Factor in trust and authority
When we say leverage, we don’t only mean problem-recipe-solution. Many brands have shown that people crave communities, especially in socially distant times. So, build a community!
Establish a presence in your local community — both physically and digitally. Think of your revenue drivers not only as a client base, but as a patient community. And then, provide what the community wants, like information on safety protocols and updates or insurance coverage options. Go out of your way to make these as accessible as possible.
Sixty-six of the respondents said their trust in urgent care providers actually increased during COVID-19. This means that people do trust health care, but need to be sure things will run as safe and as smooth as possible. On top of that, 40% stated price was a big factor in their choice of provider. Include insurance information in phone protocols to cater to those who prefer phone communication.
Don’t stop on KPIs and ROI. If anything, the world has shown that it values brands that give back to the community. Aside from information, provide value through your content, showcase your practice’s talent, and build your patient community with relatable, personal stories. We all need those right now.
3. The upgrades happening inside your walls
New solutions can be costly, but they will decrease your staff’s workload. If you haven’t realized by now, staff retention is as important as client retention, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to make their work easier.
If you’re running a bigger business, emphasize the importance of clear communication among staff, both horizontal and vertical. You’d be surprised how difficult it can be to communicate when remote, and how big of an impact this can have on teams.
Encourage your staff to adopt and make use of flexibility and new technology. Introduce these into various processes, and make sure you don’t skip internal bottlenecks as well. Use technology to streamline processes. Less manual paperwork means more time for patients.
Remember: employee retention is as crucial (if not more) as patient retention. Workers — especially those in healthcare — are on the verge of burnout. Prioritize staff well-being through various benefits, incentives and appraisals. A happy staff is the only shortcut available to a stable business and sustainable growth!
Does growing your practice have to be so hard?
You got the long answer above. The short answer is no. Here are the key takeaways:
Follow trends: if clients migrate online, follow them. Or be one step ahead.
Provide user-friendly solutions. Use tech to introduce or even develop apps, make use of online forms, messaging services, streamline your call process.
Simplify daily tasks for your staff. Make scheduling the top priority here, with flexibility and empowerment being the key terms.
What helped keep the world turning can now actually foster expansion and growth. All it takes is proactivity and an open mind ready to try and even fail sometimes. Most likely you won’t get a turnkey solution, but solutions are available, so do your homework and let them work in your favour.
Looking for more info on how to grow your practice? Download The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Practice.