When you started your practice did you think “I’ll just set up my office, hang out a shingle and the patients will come.”?
It’s been my experience that for an integrative physician, this strategy results in a schedule that is not as full as it could be and income that is inconsistent. That’s a shame because just a few regular activities can change all that and create a steady flow of qualified patients and income.
Patients are the lifeblood of your practice. Apply the RARE System detailed below and your patient flow will be abundant. To do this, there are the 4 key areas where regular action is required. Together they create a firm foundation for a prosperous practice:
Keeping your current patients engaged creates a stable platform from which your practice can grow. It is much easier and less costly to sell additional services to a current patient than to recruit a new patient. While consistent new patient acquisition systems are definitely important, starting from scratch and running after new patients each month is costly and time-consuming, not to mention nerve-wracking. That said, even patients who are open to integrative medicine can tend to use it sporadically, i.e. only when they are “broken” again. Therefore, the challenge is to keep patients coming in regularly.
Developing solution-focused packages, ongoing wellness programs, health education in the form of newsletters, blogs and events all encourage patients to become part of your community. This keeps patients engaged and more inclined to come in regularly. Loyalty programs and special offers to current patients reinforce patient appreciation and make it more likely that patients will stay with you.
Reactivating patients is an area of low hanging fruit that is often overlooked. That’s too bad, because patients who have invested in your services and had a positive experience are more likely to come back. A phone call or letter to a patient who hasn’t been in for a while might be all that it takes. A special offer for a follow-up or a service that helps them maintain their health may do the trick. By following up you also send the message that you care about the ongoing health of your patient. The resulting positive regard is also more likely to trigger a referral.