Secrets To Ensuring The Growth Of Your Practice
- Volume 18 - Issue 12 - December 2005
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Any practice goes through a number of stages. The “going into practice stage” begins when you make the decision to start your own practice and ends when your cash flow exceeds your expenses, and you begin to take home a paycheck that covers your living expenses.
The third stage is the mature stage where the practice is utilizing between 80 and 100 percent of the time available for patient treatment, and the patient wait for an appointment is longer than two weeks.
In between those two stages is the second stage, the growth stage. Accordingly, let us take a closer look at key techniques for growth, techniques that any practitioner can use at any time. You may be aware of some of these approaches while others may seem new. Some may seem not important enough to add to your practice building strategies. However, when taking these approaches together as a whole, all these techniques can help build a successful practice and put an infrastructure and process in place to sustain your success.
As a practice moves through the growth stage, one should review its practice collections in three month segments. It is important not to compare practice statistics day to day, week to week or even month to month. The changing seasons, weather, holidays and other variables beyond your control will impact your comparisons if you try to use a shorter time span to evaluate your collections.
In order to accurately determine the health of the practice, compare practice statistics in three month segments going forward. Otherwise, you risk getting on the emotional roller coaster. When you see a lot of patients on certain days, you will feel great. When you see only a few patients on other days, you may feel like you are not going to make it. That ride will do neither you nor your family any good.
When you open your doors the very first time, there probably will not be a line of patients who have been waiting overnight to see you. When you make up your first six months’ schedule, plan on having hours about four days a week. Having office hours on Mondays and Saturdays is important. Plan on taking 30 minutes or longer with each patient. After all, you will have the time. As a result of the time you spend with your patients, they will tell their friends how long you spent with them. Your initial patients, if you make friends with them, will play a key role in facilitating the growth of your practice.
Keys To Marketing Yourself And Your Practice
Plan on marketing yourself about 10 hours a week. Make a list of all the local pharmacies, health food stores, durable medical equipment stores, hospital emergency rooms, large companies with many employees, gyms, athletic equipment stores, ballet and dance schools, high schools and colleges. Make a list of local internists, pediatricians, family practitioners, postmasters and police and fire captains in town. Note the area’s football, baseball, basketball and track coaches at the junior high, high school and colleges. Also be sure to note any senior podiatrists in the area.
Set up these lists by category on a simple spreadsheet. Print an announcement that you are opening your practice and include your name, phone number, address and office hours along with what you treat. Clip about five of them to five of your cards and visit five of the places on your spreadsheet each week.