A revenue-building practice

You can have all the patients you have time to see. Just open your clinic to all comers, pay or no pay, and your roster will be full. Probably you’d prefer a practice full of paying patients who need the services you feel best qualified to provide. The process of getting to that point is called “adjusting your patient mix.”

The best way to start is by understanding your current patient mix. For example, you may need to know how many of your current patients are over age 65–or under age 30, live in a wealthy–or poor–part of town, have diagnoses that match–or are outside–your primary area of expertise. You might also want to track how often your current patients call your office to request medical care, what percentage of your patients are new to your practice within the past three years, and how many of your newer patients are also new to the community.

After you’ve studied your current client roster, it’s time to start digging for ways to reach your “ideal” patient. You may want to engage the services of a business such as PracticeBuilders, a healthcare practice consulting firm for thirty years. At least part of the solution may be as close as the office telephone. In a recent newsletter, PracticeBuilders calls the office telephone the “biggest black hole of lost revenue” for medical and dental practices and offers useful ways to deal with this problem.

If you can’t afford a “mystery patient” just now to analyze the weaknesses in the way your phone is used, at the very least start spending some of your time listening to how your staff answers the phone and what they say to the caller. Here are some ill-advised actions people hear too often when making calls to medical or dental practices.

* Clicking and clacking of computers can be distracting to both sides of the conversation.

* The sound of swallowing food or chewing gum carries through the telephone.

* Rapid speaking to the other person may not be rude, but it sounds rude.

* Letting the phone move away from the speaker’s mouth creates causes and indistinct speech.

* A hurried, breathless, greeting can make the caller feel unimportant.

* Sneezing and coughing can be irritating to the caller.

These may sound like elementary points, and they are. From basic telephone hygiene you need to move to more appealing speech that will convey a spirit of friendly concern to the caller. But without listening for these common pitfalls and gently working to bring the entire staff up to a higher standard, you risk turning away patients who could be your valuable clients for years to come.

Brought to you by Griffith Publishing and Physician Publishing

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Published in: on August 17, 2009 at 3:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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