NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s report, “Top Challenges for Medical Practices: Results and Observations from the 2015 Practice Readiness Survey”, a survey of nearly 500 healthcare professionals and the common problems of practice management they anticipate to be most challenging in 2015. Download the full report
Thinking about practice marketing, which of these common problems do you feel will be most challenging to your practice in 2015?
Here is how survey participants responded along with some additional thoughts on the top three ranked answers:
#1 – Need more patient volume for revenue growth
Top answer for: Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Ophthalmology, Urology
More appointment volume means more appointment revenue, but as many respondents indicated, generating those appointments is easier said than done. Practices with successful appointment growth strategies focus on both the current patient base as well as other potential patients in the community. Effective practice websites are a must for attracting today’s Google-searching healthcare consumer, as roughly 4 in 5 patients search for health information online. A greater focus on communicating preventive care opportunities to current patients can drive increased volume as well.
#2 – Lack of awareness about additional services
Top answer for: Dermatology, OB/GYN, Pediatrics
For practices who struggle with this challenge, an important question to answer is this: “Am I promoting my practice’s additional services in every patient touch point?” In-office signage, email newsletters, on-hold messages and the website are just several of the opportunities a practice has to create exposure for these services. Better results from these efforts will lead to increased appointment volume and potentially better patient outcomes.
#3 – Dropped calls when patients are on hold
Top answer for: Family Practice
Leaving a patient on hold for too long can result in a lost appointment opportunity, especially when it’s from a patient calling to schedule his or her first appointment with the practice. For practices that haven’t done so already, implementing an on-hold messaging program can be a good way to keep patients entertained until the staff can field their call. Studies have shown that a combination of music and information during an on-hold message makes callers perceive their wait time to be shorter than it actually is.
Additional challenges listed:
- Not enough time to implement a marketing plan
- Cost of marketing through multiple avenues
- How to best use social media channels
- Competition from big health systems with deep marketing pockets