Hello all. I have read many of the posts here for quite some time, but never registered as a user or posted until today. I have owned a private practice for 9 years and feel like I am at a critical turning point. We are sufficient, but I feel like it's time to kick into high gear and really get ourselves to the next level. I have done several self assessments, and I feel like I have a really great grasp on the things I need to improve and change, but I'm at a loss when it comes to figuring out the best way to implement the changes that need to happen. I do not have a strong business background, so I am looking for some guidance specifically in the areas of direct "marketing" to physicians, implementing objective ways to measure individual productivity in the office, as well as how to implement employee incentive programs.
Several years ago I worked with a private consultant, and it was a disastrous experience. I recently received a voucher for a free consultation with Measurable Solutions, so I gave them a call. It was good conversation, but I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know about what needs to happen in our business. Of course, they tried hard to see me on the New Patient course. I have read many, many things about Measurable Solutions, and I know that their course is not for me for many reasons.
I am looking for some input about courses or books that cover the three areas that I listed above. I would love to attend a legitimate course and learn how to better manage these areas, but it is so difficult to sort out who is legitimate and who is just working you to spend een more money and who is just a complete scam! Any input would be so greatly appreciated!
As you have had a clinic for 9 years already...I am sure you already have an understanding on how things work when it comes to the physicians. The big question to answer here is "What's in it for them?" Unfortunately, it is just not enough to expect a physician to refer clients because of great feedback and/or good work.
If you can answer that question successfully, then you will have the physician direct marketing down.
One marketing idea that has worked well for me in the past: Make it a point to go with the client during a follow up visit. Ask questions and get to know the physician. Establish a personal connection. Bring your re-evaluation/progress report...ask the physician specifically what he/she looks for on the report (sometimes we write a really detailed report, but the doc just wants to narrow it down fast).
With regards to "productivity" in your clinic, go with EMR if you are not already. With all your data being handled electronically, you can slice and dice all the information to determine how you are billing, and in what areas need more attention. For example, maybe a physical therapist in your clinic is simply not billing for all the services he/she renders sufficiently enough. Therapists are notorious for under billing/under valuing rehab services. If they are not adding up the time appropriately during each session, it could mean losing many CPT units over the course of a week or month.
Joined: September 6, 2006
In addition, I believe the future is in social media: A great web page that is one of the first sites that pops up when searching for PT and stuff like that. I am meeting with someone this week to develop a stronger web presence.
I know you wanted a book, but I thought I would still give my input.
I was also hoping others would comment too about what is working for them
Unfortunately, I'm not able to offer any book suggestions for your either, but I've got some experience with the areas you mentioned that hopefully can be of some use.
1. Direct Marketing to Physicians I think the recommendation from Augustine51 to establish a personal connection is great. I've seen practitioners also send occasional articles that may be of interest to the physician based on something they previously discussed. You could also keep in touch over the holidays with a small gift of appreciation for their referrals. Is it possible to attend meetings that physicians will be a part of? For example, a conference on a topic that impacts both physicians or physical therapists. 2. Objective Ways to Measure Individual Productivity As pouring through data can be time consuming and overwhelming, I'd suggest picking a few key metrics to start. You will need to determine the expectations for each role and base your metrics on those. I've seen metrics based on patient wait time, billing cycle time, and patient experience to name a few. 3. Employee Incentive Programs This goes hand in hand with your second point and practices have approached incentives in multiple ways. One of the most effective models I've seen is pay for performance in the form of salary and bonus in conjunction with a team goal of performance that results in profit sharing or a bonus. This ties in closely with your company culture and how you measure performance.
As you mentioned, you've got a great grasp for changes, but may need some help with implementing. This can be challenging as there are always more projects than people. Even with the three projects you mentioned, that can be a large undertaking depending on your resources. A method of project prioritization that I often use is creating an "Impact / Effort" matrix. Impact on the X axis and Effort on the Y. Have your team take post-it notes with one project listed on each for each person. Then "vote" on the board which quadrant they should fall into. Those projects that are High Impact / Low Effort is your sweet spot - try to target these first. The High Impact / High Effort would be bigger projects that would need to be planned out over time.
Joined: February 1, 2002
From: San Diego
When it comes to marketing to doctors, it's really "selling" in my opinion.
You have to offer value to the doctor. Therefore, asking lots of questions to identify pain points that you might be able to address is the best way to go about things. Here are some suggestions: 1. have an assistant or marketing person set up the appointment to meet the doctor. That way you are on the same level as the doctor. You don't hear about MDs calling offices to set up appointments. It's all about posturing. One expert meets the next. 2. offer to bring them their favorite beverage. Don't feed the entire staff - it's a waste. 3. if possible, get an introduction from another doctor. A. best if all three of you do lunch. B. second best is to have the doctor call and set up an appointment with you and the doctor you are prospecting. C. get a letter of recommendation from a doctor addressed to the doctor you are prospecting. 4. Consider approaching the doctor in this manner. Tell them you see a need in the community for a service, e.g. a Spine Clinic. Tell the doctor that you are going to start it and ask him/her if they would like to participate. That way you are the leader and not the ancillary service provider begging for referrals. 5. Know your strengths - having confidence when you make sales calls is the most important trait you can have. You, a doctoring professional (Masters degree, etc.), have a unique skill set that medical doctors do not have. They know it too. Confidence it the key but you will be rejected by the high school receptionist gatekeeper which can be deflating. Be persistent and creative but most important, identify some value you can bring to the doctor's practice (e.g. save them time, alternatives to drugs, a better choice before a referral to a specialist, quicker access to care, etc.).
As Augustine51 said
What's in it for them?" Unfortunately, it is just not enough to expect a physician to refer clients because of great feedback and/or good work. If you can answer that question successfully, then you will have the physician direct marketing down.
I have posted extensively about my experience with Measureable Solutions, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but I love to talk marketing and business performance.
What metrics are you tracking now? At the clinical level we track weekly stats for: # of New Patients (NP), # of Patient Visits, % of Arrivals, % of Prescribed (PxTx), % of patients 3d/wk, 2d/wk, 1d/wk and not scheduled.
At the managerial level we also look at # of patient visits per clinical staff hours worked and number of units billed per clinical staff hours worked.
I am happy to provide you with more detailed info about any of these stats, but as they relate to “Incentive Plans” we have found over the past 12 years that if we hire the right person there has never been an incentive plan that improves performance. The right people in the right position will work as hard as they possibly can regardless of compensation. There is a great TED Talk about this that I highly recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrkrvAUbU9Y
When we judge clinician performance related to pay I explain from the beginning that the best indicator of - if a PT is doing a good job is - % of Arrivals and % of Prescribed. If patients are showing up for their scheduled appointments and not canceling the patient is receiving the value they expect for the PT’s service. If the PT prescribes x3 treatments a week and the patient is attending 3 treatments a week, again that patient is valuing the care received. I also explain that a therapist with 2 cancels a day treating 12 patients a day x5 days a week at an average collections of $75 per visit is costing the clinic $39,000 a year. A therapist with 1 cancel a day in the same situation is costing the clinic $19,500 a year. If my therapists can reduce cancellations and no-shows they will save much more than a 5% or even 10% raise. I will gladly pay above industry rates for a therapist that 1.) wants to treat patients, 2.) is able to get patients to show up for treatments, and 3.) has a high return rate, meaning year after year their patients return for care.
I hope some of these metrics help and make sense. I developed my own MS Excel spreadsheet to track all these stats as our patient scheduling tool. I am happy to share it with anyone that is interested.
No time to discuss marketing in this post, but I will share that info in the future.