Plugging the Holes in the Bucket
Any good practice manager knows that it is far more cost-effective to maintain an existing patient pool than it is to seek new patients. However, sometimes a patient can fall out of the cycle, leaving your practice before they’ve had time to benefit from all the services you offer.
It wouldn’t make sense to pour endless water (money and resources) into a bucket (your practice) if it cannot be contained. Instead of dumping it straight through, you first need to plug the holes in your bucket for retention.
Here’s how to plug the metaphorical holes in your patient bucket.
First, consider your goals: to improve patient outcomes and to increase profits. There are cost drivers, such as human resources, financial operations, systems management, etc., and there are revenue drivers, such as your procedures, services, products, marketing and retention. What you need to do with this information is figure out how to maximize opportunities within existing systems.
Your first opportunity, of course, is when a new patient first walks in your door. A patient visiting an ENT clinic usually does so for a very specific health concern, which is their focus during the visit. What you need to do is make new patients aware of all the services you have to offer. One way to do this is with a multi-screener at intake. (You can learn more about multi-screeners here).
Now that you have identified a reason for a patient to return, you have to figure out if they actually do, and if not, why. Look at your check ins, waiting area, intake, testing, procedures, check out, billing, phone tree, website, etc. In addition, ask your patients for feedback where you can improve.
In sum, identify where the patient might leave the revenue stream early and break the connection between your expertise and their total wellness. Then align your people and systems with the key performance indicators that are important to your practice.