Five Ways to Increase Patient Volume & Grow Your Medical Practice

June 1, 2023

With more Americans becoming vaccinated and some COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, medical practices are in a better position to get back to their “normal” day-to-day operations. After a challenging 2020 – $15 billion is needed to neutralize revenue losses – many face the Herculean task of regaining lost revenue and ensuring patients get back on track with their regular care routines.

While there is still a long road ahead, practices do have a substantial opportunity to reengage their patients. According to the Deloitte 2020 Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers, Americans are more engaged in their healthcare than ever before, especially with so many 24/7 virtual care options now available. Since health-related concerns have been top of mind, individuals who did not previously seek out preventive medical care may now be in search of a primary care provider.

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If your medical practice needs revitalized tactics so you can start receiving an influx of patients, try tackling these five steps to gain the attention of consumers.

1.  Maintain consistent outreach

With one in five adults in the U.S. having delayed care during the pandemic, now is the perfect time to reengage with patients and encourage them to start actively managing their health and wellness. Whether it is a promotional text message or targeted ad while scrolling through Facebook, consumers are accustomed to businesses conducting direct outreach. This type of consistent engagement is a valuable marketing approach practices can also utilize. Developing email or text outreach campaigns that include easy scheduling links and remind patients of upcoming annual wellness visits or rescheduling overdue appointments is an easy way to get patients back through the doors.

To continually stay connected with patients, practices should also create messaging around new service offerings, updated check-in procedures, or reminders regarding your practice’s telehealth services. If patients feel like you are offering services that are responsive to their needs, they will continually want to come back to your practice.

2.  Offer patients convenient mobile options

During the pandemic, more of us have embraced having the ability to complete any task online – whether it be paying bills, watching recently released movies or even grocery shopping. This same level of mobile convenience will undoubtedly be expected moving forward in healthcare. Data shows that patients are more likely to visit a provider who offers digital services – 78 percent report wanting contactless healthcare care options instead of traditional in-person, paper-based processes.

Allowing everything from appointment self-scheduling to pre-registration and intake forms, to be completed online provides the effortless experience patients are looking for. Having the ability to digitally store personal and insurance information also increases convenience since patients can quickly confirm or update details during check-in. Since patients are so familiar with navigating the digital landscape, incorporating these capabilities into the scheduling and check-in process via technology like R1 Entri™, the intelligent patient experience solution, will give them the confidence needed to directly approach your practice and proactively schedule in-person or virtual visits.

3.  Encourage positive reviews

Now more than ever, people are scouring through online reviews before making any kind of decision – including choosing a physician. A recent survey found that 70% of patients said a positive online reputation is extremely important when selecting a healthcare provider. Today’s tech-savvy consumers will likely check out your practice’s reviews to see what other patients wrote before considering whether they want to become a patient.

Make sure that you are closely monitoring your online presence. If your practice has negative reviews, look for trends in the complaints. If multiple patients mention a similar issue, internalize the feedback, and work with your team to improve your performance in that area. On the review sites that allow you to do so, make sure to respond to both complaints and recommendations to show your practice is taking this feedback into consideration.

It is also a good idea to take a pulse of your most trusted, long-term patients. Ask them how they feel about your practice and the services you provide. Encourage patients to share their experiences in an online review, by posting a sign at your front desk, sending a thank-you email or even mentioning it in person. The more positive reviews your practice receives, the more likely you are to receive calls from potential new patients.

4.  Expand your services

Your practice should pay close attention to shifting dynamics amongst your patient population and community and make changes that align with those shifts. Some examples include:

  •  Incorporating behavior health into your practice. Given the fact that many Americans have been confined to their homes and nearly one in three adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, your practice could consider creating a behavioral health program.
  • Offering direct pay pricing options. With many losing jobs and health insurance because of the pandemic, think about extending reasonable direct pay pricing options to the newly uninsured.
  • Adding a physician assistant to your staff. Losing business to an urgent care clinic at a nearby drugstore? Bringing in a physician assistant to administer standard exams or prescribe antibiotics could redirect patient volume back to your practice.

By meeting demand at the right time, you can win over new patients and boost the success of your business.

5.  Remember to schedule follow-up appointments

While this may seem obvious, it is shocking how often physicians neglect to tell their patients when they want to see them back. This is a big deal when it comes to patient retention. When the physician initiates the appropriate next steps or closes the loop, it shows the patient that your practice values them and their health. Letting patients clearly know what their next steps are, before they leave the office, implies a level of commitment and dedication that will only strengthen your practice’s overall patient loyalty.

If your medical practice takes the time to execute the strategies discussed, you will be responsive to patients’ expectations, while remaining current with the changing dynamics of the healthcare market. By putting the patient first and anticipating their overall needs, practices can restore their operations and create a solid stream of new and returning patients.

Michael Ulanday is the Physician Adoption Lead at R1 RCM where he manages a team that drives the utilization and adoption of consumer-focused technology that streamlines scheduling and electronic order generation.

Michael Ulanday

Physician Adoption Lead

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