Patients today have more healthcare choices than ever, and patient loyalty is on the wane as people “doctor hop” from one practice to the next in search of a better “product.” The consumer mindset is here to stay, and if your physician’s practice wants to attract and keep patients, you’ve got to work harder than ever to differentiate yourself from the competition. Dated strategies and the old way of doing things will hold your business back. Standing apart from the crowd means dedicating yourself to innovation and finding new approaches in every aspect of your practice. Here are a few ways to make sure you remain on the cutting edge.
Stay on top of technology
Staying at the vanguard of medical practice means keeping up with the latest developments in technology. You may think you have a handle on what’s going on with new medical technology, but to grab patients’ attention, you need to look into technology that makes their lives easier. Antiquated booking systems, remote paper files, and snail mail correspondence just doesn’t cut it anymore. Take a look at your medical practice operations and think about which processes and functions could do with a 21st century makeover.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are a great place to start. Linking up with a patient portal will give your patients a quick, easy, and convenient way to stay involved with their care. In one fell swoop you can offer patients access to their own medical history, a secure channel to communicate with their doctor, and the ability to check coverage and re-order prescriptions online. You should also make sure that your website is up to speed. More and more people are researching new doctors online. Clunky, outdated web pages can turn patients off before they even make contact. Provide a well-designed, quickly loading site. Offer online booking, downloadable forms, and anything else you can think of to make their lives easier.
Expand your range of treatment options
Diversify. Holistic medicine and a focus on wider wellness goals are extremely attractive to many patients. Instead of marketing your practice as merely a place to come when you’re under the weather, position yourself as a resource for an overall healthy lifestyle. Alternative and complementary therapies add to the overall value that your practice offers to patients.
Banish thoughts of quackery from your head and consider what kinds of “add-ons” you can bring to your practice. The ability to consult with dieticians, chiropractors, massage therapists and more will bring patients through your door. You don’t need to be all things to all people, but you can begin building close relationships with other healthcare practitioners and bring their expertise to your patients. Consider holding workshops or informational evenings on “Eating for a Healthy Heart” or “Keeping Your Back Happy.” Beef up your educational offerings. Give your patients the message that your practice is deeply invested in their health, and they’ll repay you with loyalty and referrals.
Especially if you’ve been in practice for a long time, it’s easy to get complacent. If you keep doing everything the way you’ve always done it, you will cost yourself patients and profits. Growth requires change. You may not be able to revamp your entire practice in a day, but a constant commitment to building a relevant, modern, and accessible practice is a recipe for success.