With the rise in high-deductible plans and the economic effects of the recent recession still lingering, many practices have noticed that fewer patients are entering their door seeking preventative or elective medical care. This trend, combined with shrinking federal reimbursements as a result of the Affordable Care Act, have many practices experiencing a need to grow their patient base in order to avoid potential cash flow challenges.
As a result of this economic climate, few practices have the considerable resources requires to retain the services of the marketing agency or launch their own campaigns to increase the visibility of their practice. Fortunately, there remain some cost-effective means for practices to expand without breaking the bank.
Patients, especially younger generations, are comforted by the knowledge that their provider takes advantage of the latest care technology. This does not always necessitate a large investment on the part of the practice either: there are many relatively affordable ways to improve the patient experience.
Establishing a patient portal can improve patient satisfaction by allowing access to test and lab results without waiting for a call or traveling back to your practice. This technology can also allow patients to email your practice with questions or to set up an appointment, which saves time for both the provider and patients.
Establish a presence in your community
Organizing or establishing a community event, such as a community service project or charity walk/run, can be a great way to gain exposure and create a positive image for your practice. If your practice traditionally takes part in the same events every year, perhaps it is time to branch out and lend your support to other worthy causes where you can reach a new audience.
Providers can also volunteer to share their knowledge with schools or nursing homes through presentations or workshops. Establishing roots in your community in interesting and beneficial ways are a great way to gain attention and, potentially, new patients.
Positive online reviews
Today's patients are increasingly seeking out online reviews before selecting a provider. Look up reviews of your practice and determine if there are any common complaints. If so, it could be time to address these concerns to provide an experience where patients are more likely to refer their friends and family to you. Collecting patient reviews, especially positive ones, requires constant attention from every member of your practice's staff to the needs of the patients. From the moment they enter the practice until the follow-up call, they should feel welcome and comfortable to bring up questions or concerns.
Online patient reviews can not only help patients find a provider with a similar care philosophy, they can also allow providers to adapt their practice to better suit the needs of their patients.