Running a private medical practice can be a real challenge. People have a range of private health care providers to choose from, and so you’ve got to market yourself like any other business. According to the Medical Group Management Association, many medical practices experienced hardship due to the pandemic. An MGMA research study discovered that, ‘COVID-19 had a negative financial effect on 97% of the 724 medical practices it surveyed.’
To survive in a competitive industry, private medical practices need to think about how they can improve their services, and drive growth. For some ideas, take a look at these 13 areas of focus.
1 . Hire the right support staff
When you’re running a medical practice it’s essential that you hire the right support staff. You’ll need to create an atmosphere that’s positive and comforting for your patients. Every patient needs to feel supported, and understood.
According to a SuperOffice survey, ‘1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.’
Private medical care is a paid service like any other, if a patient has a bad experience, they will move on to find another provider. With this in mind, you should use a rigorous hiring process, to find the right people for the job. Your support staff should receive practical training, as well as customer service training.
- Collect patient satisfaction data
Your existing patients are the key to growing your medical practice. It’s a good idea to send out surveys, so that you can collect info about patient satisfaction. There are many different questions that you might include in your survey, for example:
- How easy was it to make an appointment?
- How satisfied were you with the healthcare you received from our practice?
- How satisfied were you with the professionalism and cleanliness of the practice?
- Would you recommend our practice to a friend or family member?
Collecting patient satisfaction surveys are a great way to figure out which areas you can improve. Making improvements to your practice will help you to retain your patients and gain new ones.
- Offer your patients extra info
To bring more patients to your medical practice you’ll need to ensure that you stand out amongst all the other providers. To stand out, consider offering your patients valuable info using your website. You can use blogs and videos to provide info about health issues. People often use the internet to seek medical advice, whether they’ve made a doctors appointment or not. By offering useful articles, you’ll be providing extra help, beyond the space of your practice.
- Consider your medical billing software
To improve the efficiency of your medical practice it’s important to use the right medical billing software. Medical billing software can improve your scheduling of appointments, your coding, and your payment processing. Many medical practices integrate Electronic Medical Records and billing software. Doing so helps to minimize errors, and streamline your operations.
To choose the right medical billing software you should ask your billing team for their input. You’ll also need to ensure that the software supports compliance with medical regulations. When you adopt a new billing system, you’ll need to provide your staff with training to ensure that they can use it properly.
- Ensure that staff look professional
Your doctors, nurses and support staff all represent your brand. It’s important to ensure that everyone looks professional, to create the right impression. The best way to create a professional look is to invest in high-quality uniforms. To find some great options, take a look at the Uniform Advantage website. Here you’ll find a range of quality scrubs for nurses and doctors. To boost your credibility and gain the trust of your patients, it’s all about attention to detail.
- Use social media
To grow your medical practice, you should make the most of social media advertising. To achieve brand awareness and recognition, it’s important to have a strong social presence. You can use a combination of free posting and paid ads, to connect with potential patients. Consider using remarketing tactics, in an attempt to convert new leads. If someone has visited your website, remarketing allows you to display your ads, when they visit different sites. Social media is an excellent way to grow your following, and you don’t need a huge budget.
- Collect testimonials
Customers are skeptical of the unknown, they are more likely to trust their peers than a new company or brand. To gain the trust of new patients, it can be helpful to use testimonials. Reach out to your long-time patients, and ask them if they will provide a testimonial. Another thing you can do is to put your business on review sites. A collection of positive reviews will help you to attract new patients. A few of the best review websites include Healthgrades, RateMDs, and of course Google.
- Use local SEO
According to Ahrefs, ‘46% of all Google searches are local.’ To widen your reach and bring in more patients, it’s useful to focus on local SEO. The first step is to use ‘Google My Business Listing’, this will instantly improve your SEO.
Local SEO essentially means optimizing your website and your presence online. The idea is to attract local Google searches. For example, when someone searches for ‘best New York medical practice’, you’ll want to ensure that you rank for these keywords.
To improve your SEO overall it’s worth working with a digital marketing agency. You should choose an agency with expertise about marketing medical businesses. A digital marketer can help you with everything from web design to social marketing.
- Virtual appointments
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, changing the services we access and the lives we lead. Throughout 2020 an increased number of medical practices began to offer virtual appointments. The process helped us to limit the spread of COVID-19, and keep vulnerable people safe. In 2021, many practices are still offering the option of virtual appointments. There are many advantages to doing so including:
- Improved convenience: By offering virtual appointments, you’re providing your patients with improved convenience. Patients who are extremely busy can easily get a doctor’s appointment, from the comfort of their own home.
- Less anxiety: Some patients have a fear of visiting the doctors, virtual appointments can help you to support these people.
- Rural areas: For those who live in rural areas it can be difficult to access fast medical care. By offering online appointments, you can cater to such patients.
- Define your patient profile
To help you grow your medical practice, it’s helpful to create a ‘target patient profile’. Everyone needs healthcare, but still, some people are more likely to seek private healthcare than others. Unfortunately, many people feel failed by the healthcare system, and it’s these people who you’ll want to try and help. When you’re figuring out your ideal patient it’s helpful to take these demographics into consideration.
- Financial status
- Values and interests
- Preferred communication
Once you’ve decided who your ideal patient is it’s far easier to target them using the right marketing strategies.
- Add to your services
Once you’ve built a successful medical practice, you might feel it’s time for expansion. You might consider adding extra services to your private medical practice. Perhaps you’d like to add a pediatrician service? Or a physiatrist? Before you start hiring new doctors, it’s helpful to assess the demand.
Perform target market research, and ask for feedback from your existing patients. Expanding the services of your practice is a great way to grow your business. When you send out your customer feedback forms you can take the opportunity to assess the demand.
- Review your performance
To grow your business, you’ll have to ensure that you are offering a top-notch service. It’s a good idea to review and evaluate your performance, to assess how you can be better. Arrange regular performance reviews of your staff, and review your own performance too.
Hold one-to-one meetings with your employees, where you get a little feedback. Ask your employees how you can support them to improve, ask what their career goals are, and how they seek to grow with your company. Improving your medical practice will help you to enhance your reputation, and gain more customers.
- Define your niche
Growing your medical practice is about standing out against other companies. To stand out, you’ve got to figure out what your niche is. To help you decide, it can be useful to consider the following questions:
- What can you offer that other medical practices cannot?
- What’s special about your company?
- What’s the main thing you want to be known for?
- What do your patients like about you?
Growing your medical practice can take a little time. It’s important to establish a clear roadmap, and work through your strategy step-by-step.