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8 Ways to Increase Patient Volume

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Increase patient volume - front desk

Maintaining a thriving medical practice hinges on attracting and retaining a steady flow of patients. In an era where healthcare consumers have many choices, practices that fail to prioritize patient acquisition and retention risk falling behind their competitors. 

Fortunately, by leveraging innovative techniques and embracing a patient-centric approach, medical practices can:

  • Significantly increase patient volume

  • Improve financial stability

  • Maintain a stronger market presence.

Communication, user experience, and consistency are three main components of the techniques listed below. With various degrees of attention to these areas, your medical practice can improve its retention rates and also welcome new clients consistently

Some of the techniques that have been identified to help ensure successful practice management include: 

  1. Establish a reputation as a thought leader in your specialty

  2. Improve the intake process

  3. Allow easy scheduling options

  4. Encourage patients to refer friends and family

  5. Send branded quarterly newsletters 

  6. Create templates for quarterly newsletters

  7. Use personalized reminders

  8. Ensure efficient team communication to improve patient experience

 

1. Establish a Reputation as a Thought Leader

Part of providing a satisfactory service for patients is showing them you are knowledgeable about their health concerns. Creating content that showcases your experience and your continuing pursuit of knowledge is a strong start to building trust and a strong relationship with patients.  

Showing your expertise and depth of knowledge online is also a positive step for your online reputation management, which is another component of staying top of mind for your patients. Showing sponsorship of local teams and events as well as involvement with community organizations is a great way to show your commitment. Hosting lunch & learn events that are free to the public or colleagues is also a way to provide value and raise awareness of your expertise. 

 

2. Improve the Intake Process

Making things faster and easier for everyone helps increase the chances patients will want to return to your medical practice. Investing in the best software and integration platforms to allow patients to fill out their demographic and health history information on the Internet before their first visit helps those on a tight schedule. 

It also informs your staff of key information before the patient is standing before them - and does not rely on your computer system to function at optimal speed when patients are in the office. Increase patient volume - waiting room

Some effective ways to improve the process include: 

  • Adding fillable patient forms to your website

  • Sending new patient paperwork through the patient portal

  • Implementing a virtual check-in system that allows patients to notify the office of their arrival remotely and provide any necessary updates to their information. This can also include a rough estimate of wait time to let patients who check in from outside the office know when to come into the waiting room.

 

3. Allow Easy Scheduling Options

As noted above, investing in software or platforms that streamline the scheduling process can be a big step in maintaining patients and even encouraging them to share their positive experiences with others - potentially growing your patient volume as well. 

Using an online booking system like Zocdoc, NexHealth, Doctible, etc… is a good way to provide easier scheduling and improve the patients’ user experience. Zocdoc, for example, is a worthwhile investment. It not only helps patients find doctors in their area, but it also guides them to physicians who take their insurance. 

For optimal effect, create your Zocdoc listing with detailed information and update it regularly to provide the most current information. While the service does charge the physician a fee for each appointment scheduled, it does not cost anything for patients. Zocdoc also provides a reliable telehealth platform, which combines two potential price points into one platform for physicians who want to provide the best options for healthcare to patients. 

If the situation calls for it, hiring a Management Services Organization (MSO) can alleviate stress on your staff and implement simplified processes for your patients. Likewise, an after-hours answering service that can access your medical practice schedule is another option to consider. After-hours scheduling, online booking, and appointment requests through the patient portal prioritize patient convenience and retention. 

 

4. Encourage Patients to Refer Friends and Family

Things change, and individuals find themselves searching for a new primary care provider or specialist, especially if a new condition needs a second opinion. In those cases, they turn to their loved ones for recommendations. If you are implementing processes that enhance your care experience and allow patients to manage their medical care efficiently, they are far more likely to recommend you to others

Providing patients with an easy and satisfying trip to the doctor is a noteworthy event for most that will also stand out to others, including those who aren’t currently looking for a new provider. That will go in your favor if they do seek out a different medical practice in the future. 

You can also promote referrals on your social media pages, encourage patients to “favorite” your practice on Nextdoor.com, and offer incentives for patients who refer friends and family. When patients recommend your practice to others online, it’s a good idea to post a HIPAA-compliant response to thank patients for their recommendations. 

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5. Send Branded Quarterly Newsletters

Regular communication with clients is important, and sending a quarterly newsletter highlighting a service you offer that will benefit clients keeps you top of mind and provides valuable information they need. It’s also a good idea to include introductions to new providers, highlight staff members, and remind patients of available communication methods like the patient portal. 

Preliminary studies have shown that patient portals not only strengthen provider-patient communication but can help cut down on medical errors and the choice to stop taking medication due to a lack of communication with medical professionals. This in turn provides the patient an opportunity to be more active in their care journey, which inspires more confidence in your experience and capabilities. 

Newsletters can follow the same general template, which makes it easier. We talk about that a bit more below. 

 

6. Create Templates for Quarterly Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to maintain a relationship with your patients. However, it is important to send the newsletter out promptly to be consistent with your patients. 

Creating templates is a good way to improve efficiency with newsletter sends while promoting brand consistency and awareness. Templates can be created easily through WIX websites or with stand-alone services like Constant Contact or Mailchimp.

Regardless of the platform, branded graphics can be created in Canva and imported into a newsletter template. Be sure to include links to your website, social media pages, and patient portal to increase traffic and boost patient engagement.Increase patient volume - exam room with nurse

 

7. Use Personalized Reminders

Personalized reminders are a good way to show your patients they are valuable to you. Create reminders that use their name or reference other personal information (that does not violate HIPAA), reminding patients you are there for them as an individual and not just another medical record. 

 

8. Ensure Efficient Team Communication

Having all staff on the same page is essential to providing reliable and efficient care to patients. This is especially important when working with an MSO that utilizes off-site staff to support the work your in-office staff accomplishes each day. 

Having a reliable format for relaying information is key, and working with platforms that are easily accessible to all staff is another important factor in successful communication.

 

Creative Ways to Increase Patient Volume | Next Steps

Your goal of having a successful medical practice is to bring in new patients. This must be done carefully and with a focus on improving the patient experience. With steps like improving the intake process, simplifying interactions through a patient portal, and communicating with patients regularly through emails and newsletters, you can move forward with your efforts strategically and consistently. 

 

What Will You Do with These 8 Ways to Increase Patient Volume? 

Now that you have actionable ideas for improving patient volume, it’s time to identify other areas of your medical practice that need attention. Consider these additional resources: 

Data-Driven Improvement: 6 Steps to Succeed in 2024

Average Medical Practice Overhead & How to Reduce Practice Expenses

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