As healthcare practices recognize the benefits of a technology platform — and see it as a necessity to connect with patients over the next decade — the practice growth platform continues to be a presence at private practices.
What is a practice growth platform? A single technology solution that empowers any practice to acquire more patients and deliver a convenient, accessible experience that will keep those patients coming back.
That’s the short definition. But a practice growth platform should also focus heavily on patient reviews as a growth strategy, and include patient communication outreach, branding, and business insights that help prove the return on investment.
With the rapid proliferation of — and demand for — digital touchpoints throughout the patient experience, a practice growth platform can play a critical role in private practice success. But harnessing the full power of the platform is required.
5 ways to get the most from your practice growth platform
- Use the full array of digital tools within the platform.
In the case of an all-in-one practice growth platform, it’s best to use as many of the available tools as possible. That’s because the platform works best when firing on all cylinders, with a variety of tools and functions working together to maximize positive results.
As an example, recent data shows that practices using the PatientPop platform during 2020 were more successful at returning their business to a pre-COVID-19 baseline of appointments. These practices have all implemented two critical elements of practice management: online scheduling for patients and tracking of phone calls coming into the practice. This combination of patient convenience (the ease and immediacy of online scheduling) and business insights positioned practices to book more appointments and get back to a usual patient volume, faster. (Side note: the platform’s telehealth offering also made it easy to offer, book, and conduct virtual visits, giving practices even more opportunities to fill their schedules).
- Keep an eye on your practice’s online reviews and reputation.
If you don’t follow what patients are saying online, you put your practice at risk of losing prospective patients. When a patient posts negative or critical feedback online (and they will, it’s part of doing business), time is of the essence. You have about one to two business days to respond — otherwise, the unhappy patient and others reading the review may assume you’re ignoring patient issues or complaints.
In that case, the current patient may choose not to return to your office. In PatientPop survey research, only 3.6 percent of patients expressed satisfaction when their healthcare provider did not respond to negative feedback. In short, an unhappy patient stays unhappy.
But, of those patients who did receive a response, 59 percent said they were satisfied. That’s a contrast worthy of every provider’s attention.
The best way to monitor patient feedback and reviews is to check out the online reputation management component of the platform each day. A comprehensive practice growth platform will share any direct negative feedback from patients, newly posted reviews and testimonials, a running number and location of reviews, and overall sentiment. With 73 percent of patients considering a positive reputation important to their healthcare decisions, seeing practice feedback in a timely way is a business essential.
- Streamline as much administrative work as possible.
Want to give your front-desk staff a real boost? Make sure you’re using all the available technology that makes their jobs easier.
This includes methods of patient connection. For example, digital registration and intake helps eliminate the clipboard process (and makes for happier, calmer patients). Two-way text messaging can cut down on incoming patient phone calls — and automated appointment reminders replace the outgoing daily phone call list.
A practice growth platform also addresses inadequate office processes that have long been part of the picture. For instance, staff can have faxes delivered digitally to their desktop — and can be alerted to new incoming faxes. It sure beats going back and forth to the fax machine to see what’s come in, or standing by for patient information they’ve been expecting.
If you have tools that improve practice administrative work, use them. You’ll improve efficiency and, perhaps more important, improve your staff’s day.
- Streamline your technology, too.
If your practice growth platform can “talk” to a pre-existing system at your practice, make sure that connection is made. By integrating the platform into your EMR or scheduling system, practice performance tasks are made even easier for your staff. In addition, the integration can yield greater business results.
With that in mind, PatientPop puts a high priority on getting this done for practices, taking every opportunity to integrate our practice growth platform with software and systems already used at practices. In this case, this can allow for greater online scheduling visibility (a big plus for patients and the practice), and can quickly expand a practice’s deployment of patient satisfaction surveys.
- Track your practice performance.
One of the most powerful aspects of having a practice growth platform is the ability to actually, well, track practice growth. Take advantage of the insights and intelligence available to your practice by following the progress of the key performance indicators (KPIs) most relevant for your business goals.
A well-designed practice growth platform should provide a performance dashboard that is easy to read and easily scannable, so you can stay informed without taking much time to do so. Deeper-dive reports should always be available, as well. But having access to timely metrics is the only way to understand what’s working at your practice, what needs improvement, and where to tweak and adjust to continue achieving your goals and seeing your practice thrive.
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