More than half of economists agree that the U.S. economy is headed for a downturn. Contrary to popular belief, the healthcare sector has never been recession-proof. Reports indicate that the healthcare industry is affected later in a recession and has a longer recovery period. Compared to other healthcare facilities, like hospitals and emergency rooms, independent practices are typically the first to see the implications of a recession.
As medical care becomes more expensive, 70 percent of Americans put off appointments for this reason. To ensure their continued operation and to provide patients with quality healthcare, independent practices must take proactive measures.
Invest in the growth of Your Practice
A recession usually leads to businesses cutting expenses, and the marketing budget is often the first to go. Nevertheless, businesses that continue to market during economic difficulties recover more quickly in the long run. Since marketing is often a practice’s primary patient acquisition channel, canceling those efforts can be a significant hindrance. A practice’s patient base can be retained and expanded by leveraging technology for practice growth and clinical management.
Practices can nurture patient retention with the right technology that helps patients stay engaged and in the know. Email marketing campaigns are a strategic component that helps patients stay engaged. These reminders will encourage patients to schedule follow-up visits. Providing patients with a seamless visit increases the probability of patients remaining loyal patrons of your practice.
It is possible to achieve optimal practice management by implementing a practice growth technology. By establishing and leveraging their online presence, independent practices can leverage practice growth technology to aid patients in finding their practice before their first appointment. This will also help prospective patients to understand what makes your facility unique from similar practices. In addition, your practice can entice potential patients by allowing them to book appointments online through practice management software.
Consequently, while other practices may reduce marketing efforts during a recession, the recession-proof practice will take advantage of the situation by investing in the practice, competing more effectively as a result.
Billing software to streamline collection processes
In order to run a modern, profitable practice, there is much more to it than just providing exceptional patient care. In this regard, timely payment of patients is one of the most critical factors. The time has come to adopt billing software if your practice still distributes paper statements by mail. While most patients have a preference for paying their medical bills electronically, 90 percent of providers have not implemented billing software, which delays billing to patients.
It is possible to reduce the outstanding balance of an office’s invoices by as much as 30 percent by implementing patient payment collection technology. An organization’s revenue returns must be maximized in times of economic uncertainty. To lessen revenue losses, practices should take advantage of billing software to disseminate statements and send text or email reminders.
A medical billing solution allows patients to pay their bills immediately after their appointments using whatever payment method is most convenient for them. As well as sending electronic reminders to pay, an omnichannel payment collection solution can itemize the charges of a medical bill, to show patients their remaining balance after insurance coverage. Patients and practice staff alike will benefit from this process. With billing and payment software, your collection process is uncomplicated and more dependable, and you will see a greater percentage of payments collected on time.
Identifying and treating the needs of a practice
Ideally, staff should be trained to assess the welfare of their practice before the practice enters an economic decline. You can uncover opportunities to improve your practice’s revenue, reputation, and website management by analyzing analytics such as website search results, patient engagement, and patient satisfaction.
The following questions will help your practice review its website’s current strengths.
- Does your practice’s website drive business?
- Is your online reputation positive and influential?
- Would you consider your practice to be modernized?
- What steps are being taken to streamline the workflow in the front office?
- Are performance metrics being tracked for the business?
The practice needs to identify its shortcomings by comparing it to similar facilities of the same specialty. By identifying shortfalls, practices can better prepare their operations for the potential of challenging times. Get employees to share insights on the job roles they fill, workflows, operational strengths, and weaknesses. Ask your patients for their insight, they will enjoy an exceptional customer service experience if you ask them what they think.
In spite of the time required to thoroughly evaluate an independent practice’s marketing efforts, collection processes, and operations, it often offers insights that help practices implement strategic improvements. In any economic climate, independent practices can thrive by taking proactive measures and enacting these strategies.