Reignite Staff Commitment To Bring In New Patients

Patrick DeHeer DPM FACFAS

You are losing money every month. New patients who could become part of your practice are slipping through the cracks simply because your staff is not fully engaged. New patients are the lifeblood to any practice. Without a steady stream of new patients, a practice will wither and die.

There is a very simple test you can use with your staff to compare your new patient ceiling to your current monthly new patient average. This is called the check test.

I ran this test last month for my office and was very surprised by the results. My average monthly new patient total is 76. I am a solo practitioner with two podiatrists. Each podiatrist works one half-day per week for me as independent contractors.

You must know your monthly new patient average. You can easily calculate this by taking the total number of new patients for one year and dividing that number by 12. Once you have the new patient monthly average, you also must know your average new patient value. Calculate this by dividing one year’s total collections by one year’s total number of new patients. This is a back end value for the new patients and the easiest way to figure the value of each new patient that enters your door.

Once you have these two pieces of information, you should pick a new patient goal that is well above your average. For my practice, I made a goal to bring in 90 new patients in August. After you decide your goal, decide on a bonus amount to give each staff member should you reach your goal. This should be based on the value of each new patient and the additional revenue that will be generated.

For example, let us pretend your average new patient total every month is 50 and the goal is 75. If the value for each new patient is $1,000, the additional practice revenue would be $25,000 for the month if you reach your goal. You should then figure out a comfortable bonus amount that would excite your staff.

I have six staff members currently working in my practice and I decided their bonus amount would be $200 each if we reached 90 new patients for August. The key to the test is to give each employee a bonus check at the first of the month that is dated the first of the month. The agreement with the staff is that they may cash the check the minute you reach the new patient goal for the month. If you hit the goal on the 20th of the month, they cash the check then. If it is the 31st, they cash the check then. If you do not reach the new patient goal for the month, they must return the checks to you at the end of the month. They must carry the check around with them or look at it every day on their desk. Seeing it consistently motivates them to reach your goal.

If you have five employees and decided the bonus would be $250 for each employee, your cost would be $1,250 if you reach your goal. The $25,000 profit minus the $1,250 bonus expense yields a net profit of $23,750.

The results of my check test were as follows:

• Average new patients monthly: 76
• New patient goal for the month: 90
• Actual number of new patients seen: 100

We blew our goal out of the water. What does this all mean? It will help you establish a new patient ceiling for your practice in what is your most important metric. Your staff will be fully engaged in new patient numbers and find spots for them on the schedule where there were previously no openings. They will help generate more new patients by marketing your practice. This becomes the ultimate win-win situation for you and your staff. I have really challenged my staff for September with a goal of 120 new patients and a bonus of $300 each. Will we reach it? I don’t know but I do know each one of my employees is actively engaged in trying to reach it. Give the check test a try and comment below on your outcome. My readers and I would like to hear your results.


10-2-13 Update.

The check test produced again for September. Our goal was 120 new patients, which is at least 10 more than we have ever had. We had 124 new patients for the month. The check test works. Give it a try.

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