Are you looking for ways to increase patient volume? Many practices are, and for a variety of reasons. Whether you have a new provider who needs to build up a practice or you’re experiencing competition from retail clinics, there are many ways to increase patient visits.

Before you implement any new strategies to recruit new patients or increase appointments from existing patients, it is important to understand what patients are looking for in a provider today.

When patients are looking for a new healthcare provider they no longer just look in the health plan directory for a physician in their neighborhood. They don’t call and wait 30 minutes for somebody to pick up the phone just to be put back on hold. And they really don’t want to wait three weeks or more for an appointment that is during work hours.

Can you imagine if retail businesses treated their customers like this? They would be out of business pretty quickly. Patient are looking for availability, accessibility, and efficiency. They want to be able to easily get an appointment where they are seen on time.

Many patient are also looking for a practice that offers online scheduling, a patient portal, text reminders, and online billpay. To learn what is important to your patients and potential patients you need to go where they are—social media and physician rating sites.

To find a provider who fits the bill many patients are now looking at social media and variety of review and rating sites before they even reach out. They want to know the provider has positive feedback on the criteria they value.

Depending on what service the patient is seeking and their level of knowledge they will look to:

  1. Medicare safety ratings. Medicare rates from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest score www.medicare.gov.
  2. Yelp listings. Yelp allows prospective patients to see current patients’ prospective.
  3. Physician Rating Sites. Physicians are now also rated by their patients for quality and patient satisfaction on websites like www.healthgrades.com.

You need to know what patients are saying about your practice on these sites. You also need to be sure your practice can be found by patients. This is why having a good website, a Facebook page, and managing and monitoring your ratings and reviews is so important.

You’ll get a sense of what patients are looking for. For example, if they are saying they’d love to have an online scheduling option then you can make that change. If someone says your wait times are too long then you can work to fix that problem. Or if patients say you need extended hours you can consider that option.

Use the Internet as a tool to learn about what you do well and what you need to improve. Make improvements as part of you plan to increase patient volume. Then, you can begin to implement programs directed at recruiting new patients like mining your patient data to develop a recall program, launching more active marketing campaign or adding new services types.

About The Author

President and CEO of United Physician Services

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