Do you have open appointment slots you need to fill? Are you looking for simple ways to grow your patient base?
In this article you’ll discover a few simple tips and resources to help schedule more patients at your office right now.
1. Tell your patients how else you can help them (or someone they know)
It’s no secret the best patient is the one you’ve already got: they’re captive, engaged and they trust you. So why not let them know all of the other services your practice offers while they wait?
Just because a patient comes in for a throat ache doesn’t mean they don’t need a hearing aid or have a daughter with allergy issues. In this example we’re obviously referring to an ENT office, but the same principles can be applied to any office for any specialty.
As patients are sitting in the lobby or the exam room waiting to see your doc, the first thing they’ll do is take a look at the surroundings (yes, even before ignoring your “All cell phones must be turned off” signs and grabbing their phone). So, put up a poster that says “Did You Know We Also Treat…” and then include your list.
That’s all it takes. Just like that you’ve multiplied the number of people who know what you do and you’ve reached the most targeted audience you can find: the person sitting in your exam room.
2. Track Your Losses
When was the last time you actually paid attention to the patients you lost? You know, those patients who request their medical records and ride off into the sunset never to be seen again. Does your office track them?
Instead of just watching them go, institute a policy so your staff will ask patients why they’re leaving or ask them to complete a quick survey about their experience (or lack thereof) with your office. This will not only help you track patients as they leave, but it will also help clue you in to improvements you can make to keep more patients.
Best of all, you can send a survey to them via email after they leave so there is no awkward moments for your front desk staff or fellow patients in the lobby.
3. Create and Distribute an eNewsletter
eNewsletters allow you to attract and retain patients without spending a lot of time, money or stress. What more could you want?
To get started with creating your patient list, we suggest adding a check box on your new patient paperwork and on your online appointment scheduling pages asking patients to opt-in and become a part of your mailing list. Let them know you won’t spam them and their information is private, but they may receive a piece of email from you once a month or once a quarter. We’re not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, so it’s important to be honest upfront.
Next, sign up to a free or cheap email service like MailChimp or AWeber and you’ll be on your way to providing valuable content to your patient’s inboxes in no time.
Think you don’t have anything to fill your newsletter with? Wrong. These are supposed to be short and sweet.
Sample content for your newsletter may include:
- An article or two you’ve written (or had written) about something you treat in your practice
- An upcoming event/lecture list
- Links to a patient satisfaction survey
- Links to an online review page (like Yelp or HealthGrades)
- Your list of services (see tip #1)
The key here is to not drive yourself crazy reinventing the wheel. You want to provide original content without working yourself into despair.
4. Become More Visible
By increasing your visibility, you increase the likelihood of someone contacting your office for an appointment. There are plenty of ways to do this, some free and some with a fee associated.
A few things you can do to increase visibility for free include: taking a proactive approach to social media, pitching your doc/practice to local news as a source for upcoming stories and claiming your online rating and review sites.
If you have a few dollars to spend, some of the ways you can become more visible include: placing advertisements, joining your local Chamber of Commerce or similar civic groups, sponsoring local events and becoming an athletic booster at area schools.
Take one of these ideas – whichever is easiest to you – and implement it within two weeks. After that, try another one. These small changes will add up to create a big change in your office that will lead to more patients and increased referrals without breaking the bank.
By Jennifer Thompson