Nowadays, most doctors value independence because they are content with running their own medical practices as they see fit. However, there comes a price to pay with independence: financial burdens and patient retention. So how can you afford to stay independent? How can you keep your medical practice not only thriving, but also continuing to succeed and grow?
1. Grow your value through service
The average patient is not always able to determine the quality of the actual medical care that he or she receives. What they do understand, is the quality of the service that they receive. If you are able to provide high quality care, you will be able to build patient loyalty. Moreover, consider exploring new partners to team up with. Together, you will be able to offer outstanding service and remain independent, without feeling like you are alone.
2. Know your worth
According to recent studies, the average doctor brings in 1.45 million dollars on an annual basis to its affiliated hospitals. While it can be expensive to purchase new medical equipment, adding such equipment will not only keep your patients content, but they won’t have to travel from place to place to receive the medical care that they require. Your initial investment will pay off and you will be able to increase both practice revenue and profitability.
3. Educate your patients
Most patients do not understand the differences between an independent doctor and an employed doctor within a hospital. They are not aware that you can save them hundreds to thousands of dollars. Educate your patients by sending out newsletters or new-patient packets. Such educational tools should describe your background, area of expertise, and why patients should choose you to be their doctor.
4. Let your presence within your community be known
Hospital facilities tend to promote their doctors through social media and press releases. As an independent doctor, it is your job to reach out to your community and make your presence known. Consider supporting local events or giving health-related tips on your area of expertise. If you are able to create a strong and positive presence, you will likely build physician-patient relationships.
5. Offer extended office hours and make it easy to refer
You do not have to be a 9:00am-5:00pm doctor all the time. Be there for your patients when they need your help and support. Moreover, ask referral sources to provide you with referrals that you can give patients before they leave your office. Word-of-mouth- advertising is immensely popular and with a referral to boost, you may see more prospective patients walk through your door.
6. Use data wisely
Improving your services with the latest software tools can greatly boost staff productivity and efficiency. Take advantage of such tools that can provide valuable insights into treating a particular illness or developing a new medication. For instance, electronic health records or HER software will allow staff members to enter data and process payments much easier and much quicker, saving both time and money. In fact, making fewer mistakes can lead to increased patient satisfaction and staff training, as well as allow your team members to communicate much more efficiently with one another.
7. Remain positive
It can be difficult to always be wondering whether you should stay independent or become someone’s employee, as there are many regulatory and economic constraints that play a role. While it can be easy to get discouraged and have doubts, believing in yourself and your abilities will get others to believe in them too. After all, a positive attitude is everything and you’d be surprised at how contagious it is.
It is natural to feel concerned about maintaining the independence of your medical practice. For starters, managing the growth of a business itself and hiring help is not something you are trained for in medical school. Furthermore, once your demand begins to exceed supply, you don’t want to scare prospective patients by seeming too “greedy”. While being independent can have its challenges, you must realize that your medical practice, like any other, is a business. In order for any business to succeed, it needs to offer high-quality products and services. So before you consider selling your business to another entity, continue exploring new ways that may be of great value to your independent practice. Finding new partners, investing in the latest technology, giving back to society, and educating your patients are just some of the ways in which you can thrive despite the changes in healthcare trends.
As an independent doctor, by combining together your experience and resources, you put yourself in a better position to put your patients’ interests first above all. Ultimately, this is what makes helps a medical practice grow. Without a doubt, in today’s modern day world, small and independent practices are still an important part of the healthcare system. What’s more, they will continue to flourish, as long as independent doctors such as you are willing and determined to stick to their cause.