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Survey shows 44% of healthcare practices aren’t fully booked most days

Previously unreleased data from a PatientPop online reputation management survey reveals how often practices operate without a full schedule, and the potential lost revenue that’s involved.

For a 2018 PatientPop survey on healthcare providers’ approach to managing online reputation, we received responses from 200 practices across the U.S., about everything from how they respond to negative reviews to which review websites are most important. In this blog post, however, we reveal a set of data not included in our original report: practices’ scheduling capacity.

The topic might seem tangential to online reputation, but there’s a direct relation. If your practice and providers don’t maintain a strong online reputation in today’s review-driven economy, keeping a full schedule is challenging, if not impossible.

The key summary finding of our scheduling capacity data: 44.2 percent of practices say they aren’t fully booked most days.

Breaking that down further, nearly 1 in 5 respondents (19.7 percent) have open slots in at least 25 percent of their schedule. Here’s the full list of survey responses:

The online reputation management connection

To better understand the effect online reputation management processes have on these results, we reviewed the answers again from a smaller group of practices: those that say their number of monthly patient reviews — the cornerstone of online reputation — meet or are above expectations.

Look: The importance of online reviews for healthcare practices

Within that higher-performing group, 63.6 percent are fully booked most days or every day. That’s nearly 2 of 3 practices, an improvement over the 55.8 percent of all respondents.

In that same smaller group, the percentage of practices not fully booked drops from 44.2 percent overall to 36.4 percent.

Filling open appointment slots demands a strong patient acquisition strategy along with patient retention tactics that ensure current patients return to your practice for follow-up care, a checkup, or a consultation. For practices looking to either get ahead in their market or maintain the lead over the competition, medical marketing and reputation management services can help.

For those who haven’t yet made a move to improve their online presence — by the way, 45.8 percent of practices will devote resources to reputation management in 2018, according to our survey — there might be motivation in the numbers. Specifically, the financial numbers.

Check out: Manage online reputation with a patient feedback system that works

The cost of unbooked appointments for healthcare practices

What’s at stake financially for a practice that has a consistent presence of unbooked appointment slots? Plenty, especially if that practice is run by a solo practitioner or is a smaller business, where every appointment has more meaning to the bottom line.

To estimate, let’s make some conservative assumptions about a family medical practice, as an example. (These are baseline numbers and will vary based on practice size, location, and insurance reimbursement agreements.)

  • Providers see patients at the practice every weekday, roughly 22 days a month
  • In a full day at the practice, a provider will see 20 patients
  • Each visit results in a payment of $90

For every provider with 25 percent open appointment slots, a practice will miss out on an estimated $9,900 of revenue per month. That’s a loss of $118,000 per provider over the course of a year.

According to our survey results, that potential loss is already a reality for 1 out of 5 practices. But with greater attention paid to managing online reputation and patient reviews, that course can be corrected.

For more details on reputation management and the current reputation challenges facing healthcare practices, read our full online reputation management report.

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