Adding or expanding ancillary services is a great way to generate increased revenue, but many practices are hesitant to do so due to the upfront investment and uncertainty about the program’s success. However, with new demands facing physicians, like transitioning to EMR systems and complying with changes in regulations, expanding service offerings may be the only thing keeping small private practices in business.
Here are several factors to consider when deciding to expand ancillary services.
- Ensure there is a market for a new service within your existing database. Consider how your average patient would respond upon hearing about your new service. For example, if you have a strong patient presence within your facial cosmetics department, offering a new service in that category, like chemical peels, can contribute to strong patient retention as they return for the new service.
- Consider whether the new service will fit your brand. If you are an ENT clinic that specializes in allergy, for example, consider new services, like sublingual immunotherapy, that will help build your existing brand rather than change it. Your goal should be to deliver a consistent message to your patients. Be sure than any service you add or expand coincides with your practice’s mission.
- Do the math. You should know the upfront cost of the addition of your new service; vendors will tell you about the hard dollars of implementation and maintenance (keep in mind they will likely give you the low-end estimate). However, don’t take this dollar amount at face value. Consider also: hiring of new staff or licensing of current staff, building modifications or additions, time between start of implementation and roll-out of services, equipment, etc. Doing the math also involves estimating your profit. Look not only at your first year, but years after when the cost is less and the service is already established.
What services have you expanded? What challenges have you faced? What successes? Share in the comments below.