Referral Generator: Work Smarter At Patient Education

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By Chris E. Vance, DPM

Increased Flexibility Leads To Increased Referrals
We have found that not only do our patients appreciate being cared for more thoroughly, but our referral doctors appreciate our ability to accommodate their patients in a timely fashion. Usually we are able to schedule their referral the same day they call, if requested. Referring doctors are no longer impressed by a two-week wait to accommodate patients. We are now receiving new referrals from 16 doctors who previously referred to other orthopedists or podiatrists in the area. The reason given for this change in their referral pattern was our ability to get their patients into the office when requested, and our reputation for better patient education.
We have also seen an increase in patient referrals from patients. A greater percentage of patients who have made appointments keep them. Prior to utilizing two medical assistants, we had a 12 percent no-show rate. With the presence of two medical assistants, our no-show rate with new patients is down to 5 percent. We believe this decreased rate of new patient no-shows is directly due to our ability to reduce the patient wait time from 10 days down to less than three days. Also, patients usually come in on the day that they call if they request that day.
Are two medical assistants cost effective? With a second medical assistant working 20 hours each week at $14 an hour, you will generate at least three more patient visits. It does not take long to see that you can easily justify the second medical assistant. You will work smarter but not harder if you consider a second medical assistant for better patient education and patient care.

Dr. Vance is board certified by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and is a practice management consultant. He practices with Gordon Nishimoto, DPM, at Northwest Foot And Ankle Specialists in Everett, Wa.

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