Medical practices aim to give the best possible care to their patients, but that's not all they should be thinking about.
They need to focus on creating healthy revenue because ultimately a medical practice is, in many ways, a ‘business’ and needs steady revenue to stay afloat.
Unfortunately, some clinics don't have the necessary processes in place and are losing money. This should be a cause for concern, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where the number of patients has dropped by half during the pandemic.
Here are a few things clinics can do to remove the risk of revenue loss and ensure their practice's growth.
Estimation tools to forecast pending surgeries
Clinics want to know about their patients who may need to have surgery, but haven't booked in yet. This could be because they are shopping around for the best practice to do the procedure.
Tools such as Pending Fee Estimates can help clinicians see which patients have surgeries that aren't yet booked in with the practice.
These tools show how many patients have quotes which haven't booked in for surgery yet, and the incoming fees associated with them as well.
Many medical practices may not realise that a robust practice and clinical management solution should be able to provide a high level of insight that mirrors important clinical information related to potential revenue leakage. This helps drive success with patient outcomes, experiences and of course duty of care.
In fact, our clients have told us that they have been able to book in an excess of $100,000 just from using our reporting tool.
SMS Reminders and continuity of care
Using SMS and email reminders is a good way to retain patients within your practice and maintain continuity of care.
Clinics need to decide what their parameters are around patients being able to cancel or reschedule appointments. They need to find out how ‘sticky’ the appointment is with the patient.
Practices should also regularly review their reminders pathway and decide how effective they are. More importantly, practices need to have the right processes and reports in place to track how effective their campaigns are when you're trying to get appointment books full.
Nurturing a scalable value-based referral strategy
While a clinic can be given hundreds of referrals, it’s important to remember some of these may not be converted into surgeries. For a growing medical practice, this could mean the difference between hundreds of dollars and thousands of dollars.
As an example, you can have one doctor who's giving you 20 referrals and those 20 referrals are worth, say, $100. Meanwhile, another GP has given you only three referrals, but these are worth $10,000, because some more of those are converting into procedures.
Now over time, when you add these up in terms of revenue, it’s a big difference between a volume-based system and a value-based system.
Your practice staff should therefore be managing and keeping track of not only the volume of referrals but the value of the revenue tied to those referrals. This way, you can identify and nurture your key referring GPs that are providing strong referrals - and create a more sustainable relationship with them to help scale and grow your practice.
The power of a smart revenue recovery strategy
As previously mentioned some specialist clinics don't realise they could be losing thousands of dollars in unbooked surgeries. This could be avoided through investing in the right education and training, systems and strategy.
Specialty clinics should have the right parameters and guidelines around a steady referrals system, how to identify and nurture referral relationships with GPs, how to identify high priority patients, and then put the right technology systems in place to manage, track and report on those referrals. With the right balanced approach, there is potential to increase the revenue of your practice, while putting the patient at the centre of your practice. It's a win-win.
Quick tips to strengthen revenue and grow your practice
Here are some additional ways to ensure your clinic continues to create revenue:
- Speak to your peers in other clinics who are successful and see what you can learn from their strategies.
- Aim to be value-focused, not volume-focused in your referral strategy. Use reports to identify your top referring doctors, and build and maintain those relationships to supplement continuous growth.
- Create an online presence - have an easy to navigate website plus social media sites to attract your patients.
Improve point of service collections.
- Cut waiting times by using an online booking system. This helps free up your front desk from phone calls and tighten practice efficiency. Simple tweaks to your scheduling workflow can work wonders for your patient waiting times, and your bottom line.
- Reduce patient no shows with SMS reminders. Patient no shows can be a real revenue drainer, so invest in a simple, automated reminder and recall system to help keep your time-poor patients in check.
- Curb debt recovery with online payments. If patients have a way to pay online, there's less likely to be delays in payment or medicare processing.
- Reduce overheads by switching from server to cloud practice management software. Your legacy systems and IT maintenance costs could be costing you money, or preventing you from scaling.
- Enhance out of hours and virtual visits: Invest in the right tools and systems to help prevent lost revenue in your telehealth and flexible care offering.
- Manage aged debt: Track and trace aged debt with the right software solution that helps you keep your finger on the pulse with lost revenue.
- Reduce patient registration double handling: Allow patients to complete patient registration online prior to their appointment, using their own Patient Portal.
- Leverage dictation tools to speed up letter workflows: Integrated letter dictation tools within Practice Management Software enable doctors to create letters quickly and more cost-effectively.
- Save time with secure messaging: Enable secure, efficient and paperless communications through secure messaging providers inbuilt within your Practice Management Software.
To learn more on how to avoid revenue leakage and to create a more economically stable clinic click here