Expand with novel services. Connect with new patients. How to build revenue when burdened with rising operating costs and changes in the healthcare system
As deductibles rise, medical practices can see big losses. Some patients can no longer afford medical bills, leading them to avoid seeking treatment when they should. Or, many will simply seek out physicians who cost less.
In fact, high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have been causing practices to lose money since at least 2016 when Market Watch reported that patients with these plans are unlikely to actually pay bills of more than 5 percent of their income. Some patients will avoid paying altogether, whereas others have spurred medical providers to offer to finance to those who can’t afford to cover their bill.
Another big change has been the repeal of the insurance mandate previously required under the Affordable Care Act, which has caused many patients to seek care without insurance. This puts physicians in a tough spot—should they treat these individuals and assume the financial risk?
Here are some tips for medical practices looking to maintain profitability and find new patients in this current healthcare climate.
One way medical practices can continue to grow revenue as well as stand out from competitors is to offer late office hours. These expanded services could be every day or just a few days a week to give working people more options. Extending hours only two days a week, for instance, can still allow physicians to attract a new set of patients while maintaining work/life balance.
Offering virtual appointment options has several benefits for medical practices. One is of course that doctors can take appointments outside of regular working hours and at home, driving incremental revenue. Another is that it can cut down on missed or canceled appointments, which can cost an average of $200 per missed appointment. Overall, these no-shows cost the U.S. about $150 billion each year.
When online tools and reminders just aren’t working, practices can integrate a virtual visit option. If someone can’t find a babysitter or they are too unwell to come into the office, they can still “see” a doctor and the physician can visually examine and interact with the patient.
Build an online presence to find new patients
While word-of-mouth recommendations still have a significant impact, more and more patients now find a doctor online. This could be via a search engine, an insurance provider’s directory, or through online review sites. One study showed that as early as 2013, most patients started their search for a new provider by reading online reviews of practice or doctor.
This means that providers benefit from creating a solid online presence that includes a website, active social media platforms, and valid, accessible information on third-party review sites. If negative reviews are left, it’s a best practice to reply to these unsatisfied customers to show potential patients that negative experiences matter to the provider – and that they are willing to address problems.
Provide medical information online
Research from Pew shows that 77 percent of Americans say they first turn to a search engine to find health information. Thus, medical providers should consider adding information pages to their website. These resources outline the basics about the type of conditions the physicians treat and any technologies used, building trust with prospective patients while helping them find useful information about their ailments. It’s also a good idea to optimize this content for search engines using SEO best practices (e.g., keywords, internal links, title tags, and anchor text).
Meet with a business strategy and tax professional
A powerful way for medical practices to boost ROI is to partner with a business strategy professional and tax advisor. Provident CPA & Business Advisors helps doctors review their business plan, evaluating factors like cash flow, budgeting, critical drivers, KPIs, and more, as well offers access to the Value Builder System™. This evaluation uses an algorithm to review eight core value drivers used by buyers when they assess the health of a company prior to purchase. The VBS can help practices increase the value of the business by up to 71 percent.
Finally, a strategic tax advisor will evaluate your current practice’s business structure, potentially outlining a new organization that leverages significant tax savings – such as the new 20% pass-through income deduction available to qualifying businesses.
Contact our team today to learn more.