Running a medical business is not the easiest or cheapest thing in the world. There are so many things to consider, and the administrative and operating costs are increasing each year. With that being said, there are still many things that you can do to improve your practice bottom line and earn more money.
It's just a matter of organizing your priorities and taking better care of the patients that really bring you revenue. We've compiled a small list of ways to increase revenue in primary care, and we're happy to share it with you. Put these tips into practice, and you might be able to save thousands of dollars each year!
1. Send Reminders to Patients
In some cases, healthcare providers lose valuable patients and recurring revenue simply because they forget to remind patients about follow-up visits. Don’t let this happen to you. You can work with different computer software programs to automate reminder messages for your patients.
These reminders can be sent to the personal phone numbers of patients or their email addresses. A simple trick like this saves you a lot of time and ensures that patients know well in advance about their upcoming appointments and follow-up visits.
2. Invest in Marketing Strategies
Did you know that most patients in the US look for a good doctor on the internet first? Since almost everyone has a car now, it's more comfortable and more convenient for patients to visit a good doctor who can take care of them, even if they have to drive for one hour to reach his office. Take advantage of this and advertise your business online.
For example, you can create accounts on Facebook and Twitter. You can also post the details of your medical office on Google Places. Start a website and describe the services you sell. You can even work with someone to post medical articles on your personal blog so that you get more online exposure.
Yes, this might sound like a lot, but you don't have to do it all at once. Build your online presence step by step and you'll see that patients will contact you regularly. More patients mean more revenue, so your initial investment will eventually be covered in a short amount of time.
3. Cut on Paper Costs
One of the best ways to increase revenue in primary care is by reducing paper costs. Paper is increasingly expensive these days, not to mention printer ink and other supplies. It would be ideal to cut on paper costs, not only to save money but to protect the environment as well.
For example, train your personnel to print things only if absolutely necessary. Make a habit to send forms to patients in an electronic format via email. Ideally, these patients might come with the forms completed by them which also saves time and money on your behalf. For more complex accounting and record-keeping purposes, you can learn to use computer software to streamline operations and cut on paper costs.
It might not sound like much in the beginning but think about the number of papers you can save in one year. Depending on work volume, some healthcare providers can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year using this trick alone.
4. Offer Additional Services
Your medical practice is a business, so you should treat it like one and think like a businessman. For example, you might want to look at your competition and see what types of services do they provide. How can you provide the same services or something better to attract more patients towards your medical office?
For example, some doctors have in-office pharmacies and this can be a source of revenue for years to come. Explore this opportunity and find ways to include a small pharmacy within your medical practice to serve your patients better.
5. Order Blood Tests for Your Patients
It's increasingly easier for patients to learn more about their health using direct-to-consumer blood tests. These tests can be ordered online and they help a patient find out information about blood sugar levels, cholesterol, testosterone or vitamin deficiencies in just a few business days.
Since a lot of patients bypass their primary care provider and order blood tests online, you can help them with this extremely popular service. You can register an account on websites such as 4pmd.com to take advantage of physician lab test co-op at reasonable prices.
What makes this website so special? Well, you can create your custom list of tests and order in bulk for your patients. You also have access to numerous blood tests including complete blood counts, glucose tests, vitamin D and electrolyte tests, etc. Regardless of the request of your patient, you can find a blood test here to help him/her.
Best of all, you can get some blood tests at discounted prices and get special offers and rewards for various orders. Using physician lab test co-op for multiple patients can save you thousands of dollars each year, not to mention that you can attract more business quickly and easily.
6. Offer Discounts on Certain Days
It's really important to maximize your earnings by taking advantage of every business hour in the week. In some cases, certain days can be really slow, with few patients visiting your office. If this happens on a regular basis, you can offer some discounts available on certain days of the week to encourage more patients to visit your office.
For example, if Thursdays are really slow for your medical practice, try to offer a discount or reduce a small amount of the co-pay. By doing so, more people will eventually want to visit your office and you increase your bottom line.
7. Delegate Tasks
It's almost impossible to do everything as a healthcare provider. Some tasks need to be delegated to support staff to make more room for patients. For example, you can look at your schedule and see where you can include more appointment slots. Make room for these patients and delegate other tasks such as patient callbacks or completing physician lab test co-op forms to members of your staff.
Administrative tasks are usually very time-consuming and they can reduce the amount of money you can make each month. If people in your team are already swamped with work, try to hire more staff and offer flexible hours. The more tasks you can delegate successfully, the more hours you can dedicate to your practice which means more revenue each month.
8. Prioritize Your Patients
Each doctor eventually has a small group of patients which brings him/her the most revenue. You should take a closer look at your patient list and see who generates you the most income. Once you have established your ideal "patient persona", you should prioritize these people and make as many appointments with them as possible.
In the future, you should also find ways to attract more of your patients who bring in the most revenue. For example, you can offer them special services, discounts or extra appointment time to encourage them to choose you over your competition.
9. Invest in A Cell Phone Minutes Plan
A plethora of reliable call centers offer phone plans for healthcare providers. This means that they create a special line where patients can call to make appointments, receive basic healthcare tips, or find out certain information. The trained call center agents will take some or most of these calls and prioritize them by order of importance and urgency.
Based on this prioritization, your schedule will be updated accordingly and you save valuable time. You and your staff don’t have to speak with every patient, you just treat the most urgent and important cases personally while the other patients will be handled by a group of professional and friendly call center agents.
This service alone can save you a lot of time and money each year. Call centers also offer customized plans for physicians, so whether you're at the beginning of your medical practice or you already have a lot of patients to take care of, you'll find a suitable phone plan for your needs.
10. Make Your Office More Inviting
This might appear as a silly tip, but it can pay off! For example, most of your patients will be happy if you offer free Wi-Fi connectivity in your office. You might also want to provide a large and inviting couch and plenty of reading materials for people who are waiting to be seen by you.
Speaking of waiting, queues are one of the main reasons why patients leave the doctor's office. Make sure that you reduce the waiting time by hiring efficient staff who is ready to take care of each patient quickly and effectively. An experienced nurse with a big smile can make a big difference when running a medical practice!
These are some of the most important tips you can put into practice to increase your bottom line. As you can see, the pieces of advice are based on common sense and can be tried by any healthcare provider, regardless of age or experience. Good luck!