3 Ways to Increase Patient Volume
Increasing patient volume was the third-most common priority among survey participants, following patient safety and satisfaction. Barriers on elective surgery have been lifted months ago, allowing more people to get a checkup. Safety concerns continue to mount, as doctors continue to discover new and dangerous viruses and infections that seem to crop up with seemingly no warning. While people are worried about rising costs and the health risks, they don’t want to forego necessary medical screenings and checkups. When enough patients have to be seen in a short period of time, there’s simply not enough money in the budget.
The increasing number of medical websites has given health providers another opportunity to increase patient volume. New sites allow potential patients to learn more about services, and often offer discounts for signing up for services. Incentives can be offered for new referrals, too, through such sites. Even when insurance companies aren’t sponsoring referrals to particular medical facilities or specialist websites, they’re often offering discounts to patients who make new patient appointment with them. Any way that an insurer can advertise their services to potential patients, it’s a good business practice.
According to the American Medical Association, almost one in five medical practices hasn’t created a website in five years. Websites can increase patient volume by: creating a presence online, promoting information about services available, communicating information to patients and their families, and tracking and comparing success rates. Many medical practices have done everything else, but haven’t taken advantage of the online community. Creating a website offers medical practices an opportunity to not only draw in new patients, but to keep current patients informed about what’s happening at their facility.
Patients tend to book appointments using traditional methods: seeing the doctor’s office, scheduling an appointment at a particular clinic or hospital, and so on. However, through a series of tools, many medical practices are able to increase patient volume through their websites. They do this through several ways, including: using appointment reminders to keep track of who has an appointment with whom, creating a waiting list so a patient won’t miss an appointment because they weren’t already on the list, and offering walk-in patients special pricing so they don’t have to drive all the way to the practice. Many medical offices offer multiple services via their website, too, such as web-based appointment scheduling, appointment reminders, and a patient directory.
Another way that a medical practice can increase patient volume is through its scheduling system. Several methods exist for scheduling patient visits, including appointment reminders, automatic scheduling services, patient recall or “virtual call” software, and the use of scheduling software, which is similar to an answering service. While these services are fairly basic, they can go a long way toward making scheduling patient visits easier and less time-consuming. A patient recall can allow a practice to remember to schedule an appointment for a specific patient if the patient doesn’t show up on their calendar, for example.
In addition to making patient recall more efficient, another way that a medical practice website can increase patient volume is by encouraging visitors to search for information via the website itself. Search engines place a high importance on websites that are listed in the top 10 search results. By providing links to other relevant content, the website can help promote itself to potential customers. This strategy helps increase the chances that patients will actually find what they’re looking for when they conduct a search, and it can result in more patients finding the information they need and potentially converting into customers.
A third way that a medical website can increase patient volume is through an increase in new patients. New patients can be a major draw to any health care facility, especially one that’s relatively new. Since established patients already have a connection to the office and are often aware of doctors’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and websites, new patients may not be as likely to make a random visit just to obtain health advice. This means that a site that makes its presence known by regularly posting new patient photos can help generate new patients. Websites that feature pictures of the new doctor and his or her staff may help increase patient recall and increase new patient traffic.
The possibilities offered by modern technology can enable any medical practice to make a significant impact on its patient base. Medical marketing strategies offer a great deal of flexibility and a solid return on investment for small and large medical practices. These strategies can increase patient volume while simultaneously improving existing customer retention rates. Innovative medical marketing strategies are available for any type of medical practice, including those that target established patients and those that encourage potential patients to come to the clinic for care. As long as innovative medical marketing strategies are implemented properly, a medical practice can expect its services to be used by patients of all ages and demographics.