As costs continue to escalate, payment models change, and patients gain more control over where and how they spend their healthcare dollars, building a healthcare practice focused around clinical and financial performance becomes more crucial. With all of this industry upheaval, practices cannot afford to rest on their laurels. To survive and ultimately thrive, they must adapt and be nimble.
But what makes one practice high-performing compared to others? Here are five differentiators.
Practices need to attract new patients to thrive. Today, more than 72% of Americans begin their search for healthcare providers online. That’s why successful practices focus their marketing efforts on getting found in search results, as well as other popular web destinations like social media, rather than pursuing traditional marketing tactics like local newspaper or magazine advertisements.
Once a successful practice has gotten new patients in the door, they work hard to keep them. Although delivering quality care should be at the top of a practice’s patient experience checklist, patients also value good communication.
Patients are more likely to be loyal and compliant when a practice communicates with them in the manner they prefer — be it phone call, text message, email, or patient portal message. As an added bonus, being able to offer the convenience of online appointment scheduling and digital check-in to reduce the amount of time a patient spends on the phone or in the waiting room will go a long way to creating satisfied patients.
Successful practices understand that having happy healthcare providers and front office staff requires them to create a team-based approach where everyone is doing what they are uniquely qualified to do. This means physicians are diagnosing and treating patients; nurse practitioners are providing care, doing chart prep, and other care coordination duties; and front office staff are delivering superior customer service for patients.
Taking this approach reduces burnout amongst all staff and creates an environment that fosters patient loyalty.
At one time, patients visited their doctors for all of their non-emergency care needs. But now, patients have more choice of where to spend their healthcare dollars. A flu shot, for example, might be done at a retail clinic. Or a child’s back-to-school sports physical at a local urgent care clinic.
Some successful practices have extended their hours or expanded their offerings to keep pace. They have walk-in clinics or after-hours appointments so patients don’t need to miss work or school; they offer lab services on-premises so patients don’t need to schedule a follow-up appointment; or they offer a range of specialties so care can be properly coordinated.
Change is constant in all things. In healthcare, change is rampant in the last few years. There’s no way to predict how accelerated things will become over the next few years.
Adopting healthcare technology that is flexible and nimble and that updates at the speed your practice needs to move in is one of the surest ways to deliver better performance. Your patients are not only expecting it, but they are demanding an experience similar to what they get from Airbnb, Venmo, OpenTable, Facebook, and other everyday apps and services.
Keeping in mind these five differentiators — and building a roadmap to accomplish them — will help your practice go from good to great. For more tips on running a successful practice, see the blog “How to Automate Appointment Reminders and Routine Practice Tasks.”
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