Take Advantage of the Summer Break to Increase Patient Visits

Summer time is always challenging for medical practices, your practice (as nice as it may be) can’t compete with the nearest beach or vacation hotspot. However, when it comes to back to school physicals and annual check-ups, it is your task as a medical provider to make sure you get those patients through the door. How are you accomplishing this? Are you educating your patients? Are you marketing your practice? If not, how ARE you communicating with your patients?

Take Advantage of the Summer Break to Increase Patient Visits

All of these questions are important to ask yourself in preparation for Summer break, why? Well, the downtime during the Summer break should allow for your practice to prepare and communicate with your patient load; educating and scheduling them for their next appointment. Take advantage of this time and increase your patient flow. Share with them the importance of starting the school year off on the right foot, and while you are doing so, remind them of their next appointment.

Over the last several years there has been a shift in how patients view healthcare. Patients, especially the younger generations, now see medical practices in the same light as retail and service industries. This sets up a different set of expectations than what the industry has offered before, especially regarding the doctor/patient relationship and the value of the services provided. These expectations are forcing medical practices to reevaluate how they approach the patient experience if they hope to increase patients and enjoy a revenue increase.

The summer break is an excellent time to examine ways to increase patient visits by leveraging the different modes of communication you are likely already using.

Marketing is not a bad thing

Historically, there has been an aversion to marketing among private medical practice owners. Traditionally, doctors have relied on direct referrals to increase patients, but new ways of communicating have made it essential, and beneficial, for medical practices to market themselves. We are not necessarily talking about advertising, but rather keeping open lines of communications with existing patients and using the internet and other medium to reach out to new patients. The following suggestions will not only enhance the doctor/patient relationship, they can also result in increased patient visits, referrals and higher retention rates.

Technology in Communication

Appointment reminders are important to any medical practice’s bottom line. They can significantly decrease last minute cancellations and no-shows. However, today’s patients have a variety of preferences regarding how they want to communicate. Some/many are unavailable to answer calls during work hours and may prefer to reply to a text or email.

Providing appointment reminders in the format your individual patients prefer makes good business sense. After all, an appointment reminder is useless if the patient does not receive it or is unable to confirm. Offer your patients the choice of receiving communications by phone, text, email, instant message, Skype or even regular mail. Although it may seem as tedious or time consuming, you will experience an increase in patient visits and your patients will appreciate the added value.

Leverage Your EHR System

Your electronic health record (EHR) system, if used correctly, should be full of patient information that can be used to increase patient visits. In particular, your system should have features that allow you to filter through data, such as physicals, annual checkups, follow up appointments, etc. These may include:

Use your system to your advantage, once the filtered your data, create a plan of action as to how you will reach out to those patients. Send reminders and offer to schedule appointments by using your patients’ preferred method of communication. Use your Summer time, downtime to put these recommendations into action.

Communication Outreach

Use your website and other forms of marketing tools to reach out to new patients and strengthen relationships with existing patients. A regular email newsletter is a simple and powerful tool for keeping patients engaged, while a well written blog can establish you as a authority in your field and attract new patients to your practice. Meanwhile, your website can be used to promote new offerings and provide seasonal reminders.

Approach all of this with the goal of a better patient experience and you will end up with happier patients and a corresponding revenue increase.

ProMD Medical Billing is happy to help with your billing assessment needs so you can maximize profits and increase patient satisfaction. To learn more about how ProMD can make your practice run like a well-oiled machine, call 866-960-9558 or fill out our online form to request a billing assessment.

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