As the healthcare industry continues to be dominated by large systems and mergers and acquisitions become increasingly common, many private practice owners and managers may feel as though it's impossible to grow a thriving business. Luckily, that is simply not true! There are many perks to operating a smaller, private practice. In this post, we will discuss three tips to take your practice to the next level. Read on to discover how these practical and actionable items increase patient throughput, patient satisfaction, provider retention, and revenue.
Showcase Your Practice’s Personality With Marketing
Before you think “Marketing?! I have no idea how to do that!”, hear me out. You might be the best provider in the world, but if patients don’t know about you, they can’t schedule an appointment with you. Fortunately, there are many fantastic tools to make marketing easy.
- Identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What makes you and your practice different? Is it your incredibly friendly staff? Your easy online scheduling and bill pay platform? Or perhaps you have a clinic dog that greets patients (my child's pediatrician has a golden lab named Lemonade who comforts kids when they get shots and it was a huge draw for me!)? Identify and share your USP as the cornerstone of your memorable marketing.
- Clearly define your audience. Paint a clear picture of who your clients are and how you can help. Showcase how you solve their problems in your marketing. Testimonials from current clients are wonderful for this!
Of course, you will need to share testimonials in a HIPAA-compliant way. The guidelines to do so involve:
- Do not share name, nickname, or social media handle, even with the client’s permission
- Do not share any personal information, such as phone numbers, address, email address, birthdate, etc.
- Do not share any details about the patient’s condition or reason for visit
- Do not share a photo of the patient, even if it does not include their face
- Do not share biometric identifiers, such as a voice recording
- Do not share the patient’s initials, even with no other identifiers attached to it.
- The safest bet is to assign quotes/testimonials to ‘anonymous’ or ‘a happy patient’.
- Choose the platforms you will conduct your marketing on, such as a website, social media channels, blogging, or Google. You do not have to go crazy here, just pick two or three and do them really well.
A website is typically your most important and effective marketing asset. We recommend keeping it professional and updated - this is usually your first impression on patients. A good website does not need to be flashy or cost a fortune. In fact, with platforms like Wix.com or SquareSpace.com, anyone can design a beautiful website in just a few hours for a few dollars per month. Squarespace offers their basic package for $14 per month and it includes a free domain name, access to templates, SEO features, and mobile optimization. Similarly, Wix offers their Unlimited plan for entrepreneurs for $18 per month and it includes all of the above plus free analytics for one year.
Beyond your website, choose one or two additional digital marketing outlets to focus on, such as having a social media presence on Instagram or Facebook or providing value to potential clients through a blog. It is always best to choose a platform that you enjoy so that you are consistent with staying up with it. For example, if you love to research and write, start a blog which you can do with both Wix and Squarespace. Your blog should provide value to your potential customers and establish yourself as an expert in your field. If you like getting creative with art and design (tools like Canva make this super intuitive), try social media such as Facebook or Instagram. If you consider yourself a thought leader or enjoy interacting with others, start tweeting on Twitter.
Google is a powerful tool to help you market your business and should not be ignored. While paying for Google ads can certainly help draw attention to your business, it is not necessary to have a thriving practice. Simply creating a Google business profile can help future clients find you when they conduct a search for services you offer in their area. Setting up your business profile on Google takes just a few minutes and is completely free. If you do nothing else, take five minutes and claim your business on Google! Here is an easy guide to get you started.
Patients expect a more personalized experience and want clinicians who deliver. Marketing yourself with a simple, up-to-date website and on a few platforms is a great way to showcase your personality and how you can help. To assist you in getting started, we've created a FREE marketing calendar you can download below. 5 hours and 5 minutes in 5 weeks to jump start your marketing!
Keep Your Staff Happy
‘It takes a village’ but especially in a private practice. There is a lot that goes into making it operate successfully and requires a savvy staff. One of the main benefits of owning a private practice is the opportunity to create and shape the culture. Staff retention is an increasingly difficult pain point. Turnover is incredibly expensive and constantly hiring new employees is time consuming. New research suggests that work-life balance and company culture are often more important than the paycheck. It will behoove you as a leader to seriously consider the environment you provide for your staff.
Of course, it will require a bit of strategy and creativity. More than anything, employees want to feel valued. Make it a point to not only offer constructive feedback but also verbally praise them and point out their good work. Show how much you appreciate them with small tokens of recognition such as a random coffee run or providing breakfast once per month. Investing in their personal well-being by offering perks such as a financial contribution toward a fitness membership or access to a meditation app really displays that you care about them on a personal level.
Employees will also enjoy their work more, and therefore have more positive interactions with patients, if you bring some fun into the clinic culture. Create opportunities for social interaction by hosting lunch or a Friday happy hour. Encourage staff to be lighthearted at work by acting so yourself and setting the example. Simply by being intentionally friendly, warm, and fun as you greet patients will set the standard for the tone of your practice.
Offload Your Administrative Duties
As the owner of a private practice, you will certainly wear many hats. But chances are you got into healthcare and opened a private practice because you really love helping people and practicing medicine. In order to be the absolute best provider you can be for your patients and give yourself the time you need to check in on all the other aspects of the business, consider offloading your administrative duties, such as billing and documentation, that are extremely time consuming and can be done by technology.
PredictionHealth’s AI-Assisted Scribing service is a perfect example of how providers can reduce their administrative burden. With one click, smart AI technology captures the patient encounter, organizes the relevant information into appropriate SOAP note fields, and returns fully complete, high quality documentation directly into the EHR. With technology like AI-Assisted Scribing, providers are able to save hours of admin time per day and redirect it to see more patients to increase revenue, work on other aspects of their practice, or take time back to enjoy life outside of the clinic.
Owning and operating a private practice can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Having autonomy in the way you treat patients can create a significant impact on both your life and theirs. While there are certainly extra stressors that come along with a private practice, there is also immense freedom to create a work environment and a life you love. Implementing these tips will help you and your practice grow and thrive.
Is there anything we covered here that you would like us to dive deeper into? Let us know! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and it could be featured as a future blog post!