December 11, 2019
Running a doctor’s office is much like running any small business. Like any other small business owners, doctors must make enough money to cover their costs and stay in business. We have three major tips for you on how to run your doctor’s office more efficiently, thus increasing new patient leads and ultimately, your net income.
Outdated technology can prevent you from achieving your efficiency goals.
For prescription services, use a delivery service such as Medly Pharmacy. Not only will the dedicated professionals at Medly take care of the tricky insurance details that soak up so much time in doctors’ offices, patient compliance is improved when using a delivery service such as Medly that brings medication literally to the patient’s door.
Another opportunity for smart use of smart tech includes a paperless environment. Going paperless ensures you’re managing your patient’s information with the utmost attention to HIPPA laws around privacy and lessens the amount of time your employees spend standing at the copier.
Programs such as Kareo and TheraNest help to manage e-claims, verify insurance eligibility and organize progress notes, treatment plans and discharge notes, while practice management platforms such as SimplePractice provide fully paperless intake forms, automated appointment reminders and even HIPAA-compliant video conferencing.
Ah, the bane of the practice: late arrivals and no-shows. These costly scheduling blunders cost you time and money. But if you have an online scheduling system where patients can book themselves, you’re ahead of the game. Automated appointment reminders and appointment confirmations are a common and effective strategy for making sure your patients keep their appointments.
Set limitations on how late a patient should be before they must reschedule -- fifteen minutes is usually fair -- and make sure these reasonable limitations are clearly communicated to the patient at the time of booking. You can also allow patients that are early for their appointments to move into a late patient’s slot, or schedule chronically late patients towards the end of your business day.
With online scheduling, patients can easily manage their own schedules, meaning they can reschedule their own appointments if a time no longer works for them. This is one way in which smart use of smart tech synergizes with another method for efficiency, as costly no-shows and the resultant wasted time are less likely to happen when a patient is able to manage their own schedule. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, “Good scheduling can increase patient flow by two or more patients per day, which is net income to the practice.”
It’s also critical to schedule patients intelligently in order to avoid long patient wait times, which negatively impact patient wait times and may lessen the reputation of your office. Avoiding scheduling gaps and staying on schedule is a major way to improve the efficiency of your doctor’s offices.
Finally, maximizing the amount of time you spend on direct patient care maximizes your value to the practice. While this may be easier to achieve in a solo practice, it’s also an important consideration in a group practice. Through intelligent patient scheduling, you ensure that valuable physician time is used in the most efficient way possible.
Building a brand is tough stuff, but with the right online marketing, you can increase awareness of your practice in your local community and make sure that when patients need someone with your expertise, they come to you and not your competitors. This makes your office run more efficiently by attracting more patients, leading to higher gross income and greater opportunities to practice on a larger scale.
Start by thinking about what differentiates you from other options in the neighborhood. Locate your target demographic by brainstorming your ideal patient, understanding what motivates them, and writing marketing materials such as flyers and email messaging to attract that patient. Create a logo (hire a graphic designer if you need one) and place that logo on all of your marketing materials, from your brochure to your website, to create one professional brand for your practice that your patients can trust.
Speaking of your website, simply building one gives you a leg up. About half of small businesses don’t even have one, so building one may place you ahead of your competitors. A website can help you reach new patients, establish yourself as an authority in your field, and even serve as a scheduling portal, helping to make your entire practice more efficient.
Finally, creating a blog and getting on social media are ways to make sure your name stays top-of-mind for your patients. A blog helps boost your website’s search ranking by keeping your site updated with new content, which can also help educate your patients and keep them up-to-date. Sharing your blog posts on social media means patients may share or “like” what you post, rippling out to their social networks and possibly generating new leads.