Tag: Patient Volume

16 Apr 2016

Four Ways to Get Your ASC Online

4waystogetyourasconline

As per the United States Census Bureau, 78.9% of all households in the country owned a personal computer at home in 2012. Of which, 74.8% actively used internet everyday. The percentage was just 18% in 1997. From news to products, we turn to internet for everything. The landscape is not very different with your patients. Before scheduling that visit at your center, patients look for the licensing information, board certifications, the specialties a particular doctor caters to, her affiliations with hospitals and medical communities, years in practice and patient reviews.

Internet has the potential to attract new patients and build trust amongst existing patients. Hence, it is extremely important for doctors, centers and administrators to build a strong web presence. The idea should be to make it easier for the patients to find you.

Here are four recommendations that can help you build a solid online presence foundation.

1. Build a website.
A website is the single most important digital extension of you/your center. Build a simple yet resource worthy website that explains who you are, what you do. Choose an appropriate website name (e.g. www.nameofyourcenter.com). To determine the website that is best suited for your business, think from your patients’ point of view. Question yourself, if you were the patient, what kind of information you would be interested in while visiting a center’s website. Clearly explain the types of services you provide, the insurances you accept, have downloadable patient resources (forms, educational material), physician/s profile and contact information. You can also integrate payment gateways on your website, making it easier for patients to pay co-pays and past balances. Giving an option to schedule an appointment online also increases patient engagement online and save time for front desk.

2. Be Social.
Consider building your presence on social media channels- Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, etc. According tostatistics, Facebook had over 1B active users in January 2014. Twitter and Google+ attracts around 232M and 300M active users. These are big numbers. People are spending a significant amount of time on social media. This population also includes your patients. Many business are actively using social media to attract new customers and build relationships. Consider signing up for Google Local to attract patients within your locality. When your practice is omnipresent over the web, your chances of getting found increases.

3. Be Mobile.
Smartphones and mobile tablets are replacing traditional computers to become the go-to device for accessing internet. Most users carry their mobile device wherever they go. But the mobile experience is significantly different from a PC experience. Your entire digital presence has to be optimized for mobile devices. For websites, use responsive design (this type of design optimizes your website for screens of all sizes automatically) or use a separate mobile website. Mobile ready websites should load quickly and provide the same robustness as their web counterparts.

4. Grow patient engagement.
Digital mediums if used smartly can serve as excellent platforms for increasing patient engagement. Integrate a patient portal with your website or EHR. Patients can just go to the website and review/update their medical information. For all scheduled visits, send registration forms as weblinks which patients can open on mobile or PC and fill prior to the visit. Encourage patient recommendations on physician forums such as vitals.com andhealthgrades.com. This will establish your center as a trustworthy and experienced source of healthcare service enabler. Publish the new procedures the center has started, the new insurances accepted on your website and push it through social media. Send health related weekly newsletters to patients to further drive the engagement.

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Digital and social platforms, if maintained actively, can go a long way in getting new patients. It is not a build once and forget concept. Build a consistent experience throughout- your social media accounts should have some essential elements like color, images, similar to those on your website. This makes it easier for patients to relate. To get the most, make a point to update your channels regularly. Consider writing blogs, posting videos and initiating conversations with patients and peers on digital channels. It takes time to create digital presence so “Keep Calm and Carry On”.

09 Apr 2016

More patients may not mean more collections

morepatientsmaynotmeanmorecollections

We live in a ‘more world’ where more of everything seems to indicate that we are doing better. The reality that this may not necessarily be true occurs to us in quiet moments. This applies to medical care too. More medicines cause more diseases instead of fixing problems. When doctors see more patients with the objective of increasing collections, it almost comes at a cost. When we examine data, we find that increasing patient volumes (just for the sake of doing so) may not translate to greater collections (or payments) from insurance companies.

Quality of patients and the care they get is more important than the volume in the long run. Let’s conduct a simple experiment. Select all the patients seen by a doctor for one week from two months ago (by this period, majority of the insurances should’ve reimbursed). Conduct a basic payer mix analysis (mix of insurances that patients have) and procedure mix analysis (consults/ procedures that physicians performed – from office visits to colonoscopies. Tracking payments for all these visits/ patients reveals that most of the money (upwards of 90% some times) comes from 5 or so insurance companies. From a business standpoint, could we stop adding patients for the purposes of making more money and focus on the ones we have – so that overall quality of care improves?

Freed up time may then be used to extend care to those who really need it, regardless of what insurance they carry or their ability to pay. It would be far more fulfilling to deliver care without expecting reimbursement than doing so by expecting high reimbursement and be frustrated later with the ‘system’ when insurances delay or deny pay.

09 Apr 2016

5 easy ways to increase patient volume significantly

NextServices-Website---Suggestions-to-increase-patient-volume

Bonus: Get the Ultimate 13-Point Checklist To Increase Patient Volume. These 13 simple actionable steps will help your practice steadily increase patient volume.

There are several ways to attract and keep patients:

a) Publish online – It doesn’t have to be in a journal but could also simply be on your own website. It lets patients know how you think about different treatments. Patients would love to read case studies about other patients you might’ve seen. Several patients conduct at least basic online search before visiting a doctor or an ambulatory surgery center. What does your web presence (not just your website) reveal about you?

b) Bring a certain focus to your Center – e.g. a specialty differentiation. To attract higher quality patients, it’ll be good to focus on a specific area within your specialty. One ambulatory surgery center focuses on the highest volume of lower gastroenterology cases it does. Another focuses on EUS/ ERCP procedures. Yet another focuses on removing large polyps. It becomes easier to be known for 1 or 2 key things than be all things for all people.

c) Share your medical records with your patients just as you would with referring doctors – What if we trusted our patients more with medical information? Patients will appreciate what you did for them if they receive and see their own medical records. It also encourages 2-way communication.

d) Monitor health of patients using vitals that are out of range (e.g. very high BMI) and have your office give them a call to check on them. This reverses the scheduling process. You can also track when patients turn 50 and invite them for a colonoscopy (if you are GI-based center).

e) Use technology to standout. Encourage or give away remote monitoring equipment (e.g. to measure insulin, asthma, BP and so on) to select patients, capture their data regularly into their medical record and communicate proactively with them. Technology-enable your center from check-in to check-out and make the flow easy. They will talk to their families and friends about this.

All the above suggestions would make the ambulatory surgery center or medical practice standout amongst its patients – referrals usually follow.

A more interesting question however is to ask yourself if you simply want to increase patient volume for its own sake or increase it in a way that would increase reimbursements but not dramatically increase costs/ time spent. More on that topic in another post.

Bonus: Get the Ultimate 13-Point Checklist To Increase Patient Volume. These 13 simple actionable steps will help your practice steadily increase patient volume.

By Praveen Suthrum, President & Co-Founder, NextServices

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