The world of medical practice has long evolved from just the basic need to help other human beings into a full-blown business enterprise (especially in the US). As such, it comes with the ups and downs that every industry has. It has even become a practice to open smaller medical practices like small businesses and strive to make a profit. It is for the people who want to do just this that I’m writing here.
Of course, no one is saying that you shouldn’t care about your patients (on the contrary), but every private medical practice needs to keep a profit in order to stay afloat and to be able to provide the best healthcare possible for their patients.
Patients are your greatest asset
In order to thrive, you need people whom you will treat at your hospital. Now, what you need to realize is that the medical business is just like any other – there are a lot of physicians available and they are all competing with each other. If a patient does not like how you’ve treated him, he will just up and leave, choosing another doctor to take care of him. So, you need to keep your patients once they have showed up for treatment – have them coming a second time.
Also, treating your patients well (and not just in medical terms) will pave the way for probably the best form of marketing – word of mouth. If your customers are satisfied, then they will tell others about it, and those others will soon start to flock to your doors when they have a problem.
Be prepared to adapt
The game of providing medical assistance, especially in the private sector, is a constantly changing one. I mean, just look at the whole ordeal with Obamacare which got repealed as soon as the new president went into office. This means that the rules are changing and you have to keep with the times in order to stay afloat. For example, it has become completely normal for practices to merge into groups, groups into private hospitals, hospitals into systems, etc.
The opposite is also normal. So, that practice that you’ve had an agreement with might not be there anymore, because it had been acquired by another practice. This might mean problems for your practice, if that was a way of acquiring customers.
For this reason, it is recommended to always go and advertise directly to the potential patients. It is the only sure new way of acquiring new customers.
Think about a monthly membership or a similar plan
With all the PCPs (Primary Care Physicians) getting swamped with the number of patients they have to get through each day, and their overhead costs rising year after year for the last 20 years, more and more private practices are staying away from insurances.
To them, it seems logical to cut down on the number of patients that they will go through in a day, just so that they can provide better care for those that they do look after. By refusing insurance and charging a modest fee to your patients, you will see less of them, but will be able to cover the overhead costs.
Also, you might think about instituting a monthly fee or an annual payment plan, which will work something like insurance for your patients – whenever they have a need for a physician, they can come to your practice, as they are paying the annual or monthly fee there.
Regulate payment practices
If you decide to stay away from insured patients, you will need a way to regulate how they pay to you, in order to regulate your cashflow and keep things running. One of the ways to do this is by starting to accept credit cards. Since medical bills can sometimes be larger than the amount of cash a person usually carries on them, it is only logical to accept credit cards.
Now, being a medical institution, it is perfectly normal not to be proficient in these things. It is highly recommended that you choose a payment processor to do this job for you. You can find various credit card processing reviews online and choose a company that seems to suit your needs the best. They will come, set everything up and maintain the system for you. All you need then are the patients.
Medical practices are more and more like businesses and health has become a commodity as well as a necessity. Providing healthcare is a serious business, one that is highly competitive, so you need to do what you must to stay afloat.