Entrepreneurship continues to boom in the United States. An average of 4.4 million small businesses started annually in this country, bringing the overall number to approximately 33.2 million. But roughly 20 percent of new companies fail during the first two years of opening, and 45 percent shutter during the first five years.
Although medical practices certainly are a unique type of business, they face similar challenges, the biggest of which is remaining operationally and financially sustainable.
About 31 percent of private practice physicians work in a solo or single specialty primary care practice. If you’re one of them, you know that in addition to providing high-quality care to patients, you’re tasked with continually identifying new ways to grow your practice and keep it profitable. And, you have to overcome obstacles — like rising administrative burdens, low payment rates, increased competition, staff recruitment and retention — while doing so.
Achieving all this requires strategic planning for now and in the future. Whether you stay with a single practice or expand into multiple locations, adequate planning ensures the policies, procedures and resources you employ will seamlessly scale to align with your business goals and objectives. Then, if or when you decide to sell your practice or pass it on to a colleague or family member, you’re prepared.
This might sound oversimplified, but it can easily be achieved by focusing on the following priorities and equipping yourself with the right tools.
1. Prioritize Patient-Centered Care
Healthcare should, of course, always be focused on the patient. That’s not always the case, though. Patient-centered care (PCC) is an approach that encourages individuals to be more active participants in their care to improve health outcomes.
Unlike the traditional care model, where a provider prescribes the same treatment for most patients with similar diagnoses or conditions, PCC is a collaboration between providers and patients – and their families and caregivers when appropriate. Advantages of PCC include lower overall costs, fewer hospitalizations and readmissions, improved resource allocation, increased staff productivity and an enhanced reputation.
2. Promote Patient Engagement and Satisfaction
Engaging your patients requires more than asking them a few questions here and there. It means enabling them to become actively involved in their own healthcare.
Patient satisfaction occurs when an individual’s expectations of what should happen during their care are adequately met. Factors that influence it include the responsiveness of the doctor and their staff, pain management, cleanliness and timeliness of phone calls, appointments, and test results.
These two ideas meet here: patient satisfaction and quality outcomes are improved when individuals become actively engaged in their own healthcare. By focusing on keeping engaged with your existing patient base, your practice can achieve better conversion rates and higher profits with less marketing spend and lower costs.
Recommendations for promoting patient engagement and increasing satisfaction consist of the following:
- Focusing on patient education
- Personalizing the patient experience
- Ensuring employee satisfaction
- Setting patient expectations
- Listening to patients without interrupting them
- Showing patients you care about their input
- Always respecting patient confidentiality
3. Ensuring Effective Communication
Effective communication plays a big role in a positive provider-patient relationship. It can even lead to better health outcomes by reducing medication errors and hospital readmissions and increasing patient satisfaction.
Even research indicates strong positive relationships between a healthcare team member’s communication skills and a patient’s capacity to follow through with medical recommendations, self-manage a chronic medical condition and adopt preventive health behaviors. That’s why it’s so important that you train your staff appropriately to ensure they have good patient-provider communication skills.
Equipping your practice and staff with the right communication tools is essential. Similarly, it’s paramount that you make resources available to patients that enable them to engage you and your staff easily.
For example, online scheduling provides your patients with a convenient way to book appointments without calling your office, and patient portals give individuals 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an Internet connection. Another valuable technology resource you can utilize is HIPAA-compliant two-way text messaging, which allows you to improve your ability to scale patient outreach through personalized patient communication.
The healthcare communication system you use to grow your practice must be scalable, empower you to efficiently allocate resources, adapt to fluctuating call volumes and reduce costs — all while maintaining the quality of care your patients have come to expect from you. It must be designed to accommodate technological advancements and organizational growth easily.
Customized Communication to Meet Your Needs
Cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant VoIP custom communications systems for healthcare can be customized to meet the needs of your practice. Because they’re easily able to be integrated with other healthcare technology systems and tools, you’re not required to buy a new model every few years or pay for recurring hardware updates.
The RingRx HIPAA-compliant, enterprise-quality VoIP phone system allows you to cost-effectively communicate with your patients and staff — from your desk phone, app or the web. You can even build specialized communication applications using our features, capabilities and data to fit what best fits your practice.
Contact us to learn more about how RingRx can grow with your practice.