Repositioning your practice to offer value-based care will have a positive impact on your practice and your bottom line, but more importantly, your patients’ health. The goal of delivering quality care at a lower cost is a trending shift that’s critical to providing value-based care and improving health outcomes.
Creating this change within your practice and across the industry begins with a commitment to being proactive in ways that will be impactful to facilitating this transition. The good news is, as you begin to implement changes, patient retention will improve leading to greater success in new patient acquisition through referrals from those happy patients.
Your patients have options, and are actively searching for a provider who will deliver high quality care at an affordable price. It all starts with a patient’s first experience and interaction with you and your staff. That being said, your patient relationships begin before your patients even set foot in your office. Embracing a value-based care approach is key to providing the experience your patients expect and the loyal patient base you are striving for.
According to the Harvard Business Review, transitioning to value based care is “the strategy that will fix health care.” To support you in making this transition, here is a checklist of actions you need to be taking and things to be mindful of:
Email is such a ubiquitous means of communicating that it sometimes feels plain and uninteresting. It’s easy to overlook the impact it can have on your marketing effort, and by extension, on your practice. But using email wisely is important. While a lot of businesses use the “throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks” method, it’s far more important to understand the various kinds of email you can send and how to work them into your overall marketing strategy. Here are seven specific emails you can send to patients that will not only create a top-of-the-mind awareness, but will also ensure that you are increasing the effectiveness of your communication with them.
1 - Promote It! Are you offering a discount or a special? Are you trying to build your referrals and reward patients who refer friends of family? Is it time for summer wedding season or back to school? There are a lot of elements about your practice that are worth promoting, so make sure you’re looking for all the opportunities that you have. Whatever you want to promote, you’ll find your audience is waiting to hear about it.
2 - Something New! If you are offering a new procedure or product, let your patients know. Did you hire a new staff person? That’s something new your patients would appreciate hearing as well. While this won’t be a regular email you send (at least it won’t be something you could schedule weekly or monthly), anytime you introduce a new element to your practice, you’ll want to share the news with your patients.
3 - Newsletters! Newsletters are a great way to pack a lot of informational value into a small amount of space. The key to successful email newsletters is to keep both your design and your content simple and short. You can include helpful hints that will keep patients on-time and moving through your office more efficiently, offer a staff member focus so patients will be familiar with the faces they see, or provide useful seasonal information or holiday schedule changes. Think about the information you appreciate receiving from businesses and apply those principles to your newsletter. And be sure you include your contact information so patients have an easy reference if your newsletter leaves them with questions.
Have you been hearing the term value-based care popping up more frequently in the healthcare world? Are you already offering a level of value-based care to your patients? What is value-based care and how will it benefit healthcare providers?
Value-based care is the transition from the traditional fee-for-service approach to healthcare to a model that rewards healthcare facilities and providers for keeping people healthy and improving health outcomes of patients who may suffer from chronic health conditions. Some expected advantages to this approach are greater clinical efficiency, a reduction in health care costs, and an increase in care availability, as the health of more patients improves as the need for repeat treatment or follow up care lessens.
This transition is taking place to satisfy the demand for more cost-efficient, quality healthcare, and is designed with the patient in mind; however, there are substantial benefits for practices and providers as well. Rather than being paid based on a tallying-up of services delivered, healthcare providers will be compensated based on the quality and success of their patient care.
Remember the classic Cheap Trick song, “I Want You to Want Me” ? The opening lines look like this:
Here’s a song in which the singer is trying to make a love connection with someone, and yet the singer refers to himself (I/me) 14 times as opposed to referring to his love interest (you) only 7. If your content marketing is loaded with self references (I, me, my, us, we, our, etc.), you may be suffering from a monolog. Truly effective content is more like a dialog that allows the audience to feel as if they are engaged in a conversation rather than sitting through a lecture.
With so many channels available for patients to interact with you, it’s critical for your content to feel more conversational than it may have in the past. Achieving this really isn’t too hard if you follow these five simple steps:
Would it surprise you to know that 91% of US consumers use email every day? So straight to the point…have you been taking advantage of this wide open opportunity to connect and communicate with your patients?
Although your social media presence is still effective in connecting with your patients and keeping your practice top-of-mind, research shows that email marketing generates a 17% higher purchase average than social media marketing. Further, it is almost 40 times more effective in improving patient acquisition than Facebook and Twitter. (According to McKinsey’s research)
If your practice isn’t currently sending a monthly or bi-monthly patient newsletter, you might want to start incorporating this into your patient communication and marketing strategies. If you still aren’t convinced, and are thinking you’ll stick with the postcards you’ve been using for the past 20 years, consider this statistic: A recent study of 300 various demographic target markets across the United States concluded that e-newsletters generated a 70% higher response rate than postcards.
So why is it that patient newsletters are such an impactful tool for improving practice profitability and creating trusting and loyal patients?
Remember the old shampoo commercial that started with one girl who tells two friends about the product, “ . . . and they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on . . .”? Word-of-mouth marketing is still very much alive and well, even in this digital age. Imagine what would happen to your practice if each of your patients told two people about you! Referrals should be a part of any healthcare provider’s growth plan, so knowing how to ask for them is critically important. Let’s take a look a ten excellent strategies for building your business from referrals and how you can begin implementing these in your practice today.
1 - Talk to Your Patients. It’s easy to assume that patients know you want referrals, but the chances are good they really haven’t thought about it. At the close of each procedure or visit, make sure you’re clear that if your patient is happy, you’d love for them to spread the word to their family, friends, and acquaintances. Not only should you tell patients you’d like their referrals, but reinforce the message with signs at both your check-in and check-out stations. Don’t leave it to chance, step up and ask.
2 - Talk to Your Staff. Make sure that your staff is professional, caring, personable, and inviting. They are the first impression new patients get, and part of what determines whether patients will refer someone to your practice. Be sure, too, that you encourage your staff to remind patients that you are looking for referrals. This is why it’s important your staff is likable and friendly. If they are going to talk to your patients about encouraging friends and family to come in, the message needs to be sincere and come from someone your patient feels comfortable recommending.
3 - Think Strategic. Design a strategic plan for creating referrals. Include your staff, and invest the time, energy, and money to help make it successful. Don’t tape up paper signs from your copier, invest in quality signs that speak to how important referrals are to you. Look at all the areas that impact potential referrals and identify those things which are a priority, then follow through on them.
In last week’s Tip Tuesday, we came up with a list of questions to ask to determine whether it’s time for a practice makeover or not. If your staff has had a chance to meet and come to the conclusion that it absolutely is, keep reading!
After identifying the areas that could use improvement, what are some ways you can incorporate changes that are necessary to see the growth and success you’ve always envisioned. Here are a couple of suggestions:
When it comes to marketing, everyone is always looking for the edge that will set them apart. Whatever is new, improved, better, more effective, or more efficient is the magic ingredient many marketing plans are missing, and that quest for the holy grail of effectiveness keeps marketing experts up at night. This is true for healthcare providers across the board, and it’s only getting more challenging each passing year. It gets harder to stretch the budget and to maximize the measurable results, so those in charge of marketing begin to feel pressured, and even a bit desperate, to make things happen. They look for areas of perceived weakness and think they can have a bigger impact. Unfortunately, in looking for those weak or untapped markets, many times they try to take on the unwinnable scenario.
There are two basic “no win” situations in healthcare marketing:
It’s another crazy day at the office. You have a full schedule (which is great!), but you are also trying to get caught up on emails, managing overdue patient bills and returning patient calls. You know how important it is that the patients being seen that day don’t feel your stress as they arrive for their appointment. We understand this too and know that it’s on these chaotic days, should you find yourself with an issue regarding your Solutionreach service that you need immediate assistance with, you simply don’t have time to pick up the phone and have that conversation. That’s why we implemented the “Mad Chatters”, our new online support feature.
There comes a time in virtually every business when things begin to feel stagnant. Arguably more disappointing, you’ve had goals for your practice you anticipated reaching for the past couple of years, yet consistently fall short of. When it comes to your practice, you can’t afford to be or stay stuck in a rut. Your future success depends on it. Where are you going wrong?
We’ve all heard the saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Being creatures of habit certainly has its advantages, but within the walls of your practice, if those habits begin to fail at producing the results you’ve been expecting, it may be time for an office makeover. As a team, reevaluate your current processes and procedures and establish a new strategy for patient relationship management. If you feel you have been going around in circles trying to figure out exactly why you are stuck and how to get unstuck, here are some good questions to ask:
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