Growth, profitability, margin protection, and maximizing reimbursements- all key management indicators top of mind to most doctors in this challenging economy. But how many look at their recall program as essential to their growth strategies?
An average office will see about 30% new patients every year. That means an office seeing 2500 patients per doctor, will add 750 new patients this year alone! If the practice isn’t adding a new doctor to the staff every year or so, perhaps it’s a sign of treading water and not growth. Plan for 10% growth and the office should be seeing and keeping about 1000 new patients this year. So, where do you start?
Start by looking what you already have in your own database. Patient recall systems tend to fall into one of two buckets; fully managed or not managed at all. If you ever hear the words “we get to it when we have time,” you don’t have a system. You have a task. Tasks get done when there is nothing else better to do. Hardly a strategy for growth, particularly when it costs 5 times as much to land a new patient as it does to keep or maintain one.
Then, there is the system itself. If you use technology exclusively to make your calls, texting or email, remember you will only reach the patients that you have captured their critical information. In many cases, this is only about 40-50% of the patient database. What are doing to reach the other 60% that you haven’t captured?
Second, after the age of 45, patients prefer to be called and have a conversation with a “live” body. This trend also applies to areas more rural. Folks with eye concerns want a relationship with their eye doctor, not just a reminder its time to come in.
Third, if a patient does not respond within 24 months of their last appointment, the system leaves them behind. Ironically, industry data shows that patients are returning to the chair at about 2.7 years (almost 30 months). Are you inadvertently leaving your patients behind?
Practice growth is measured not only in profitability, margin or reimbursements. It is also measured in patient satisfaction, repeat visits, and long term relationships. Don’t leave recall to chance. It could be the very thing that is preventing you from achieving your goals of the future.