Challenging Times In Private Practice

Expanding your practice in challenging times

Fuel prices. Surcharges. Layoffs. Real Estate mortgage cruel jokes. Stupid property valuations of the last few years. And now for those needing health care services its health insurance benefits that are often laughable. 40$ co pays. But, this is the stuff swirling with angst in your patients head, and in some areas of the US and abroad, in differing socioeconomic strata way more than others.

For most practices this is Future Shock!

So, doctor, when the patient before you today has little or no insurance benefits, or a third party system gets yanked from your area, are you just continuing to try sell just an office visit?

Or, like I teach my upper level clients, are you and your entire team offering absolutely everything that an office visit and great patient care can create in your patient’s life? Do you have all the tools and systems to really create the practice of the future?

The answer should be obvious. And doctor, do you continue to be only about their “coverage”, or are you really and honestly only about their health, just like I had to tell and then wrote about my “Mrs. Jones” many months ago.

If you are only about their health, does every one of your staff know this, and reinforce it on every visit? Or, do you play games like free services, forgiving co-pays and deductibles, dual fees? I certainly hope not, on ALL the preceding issues.

Do you instead of games have systems fully in place to deal with all these issues in your patients mind? And what about your team? Without having your doctor’s income, it can be tougher around their homes too these days.

So what’s the solution to these issues going to be in today’s world?

Its Pollyannaish in my opinion not to acknowledge all these issues of today’s brave new world. To do so could be really insensitive in dealing with staff and patients.

It is however a huge error in judgment to let these current economic changes dominate your thoughts. The only constructive thing to be done right now is to work on continually evolving your systems, mechanisms and procedures to deal with all the issues at hand.

But most especially, first take a hard look at your attitude. Is it “Chicken Little (you know, ‘The sky is falling!’)? Or Zig Ziglar like (“You can get anything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want!”).

The people you associate with, what your coaches teach you, what you watch on the tube, listen to and read, what has this done for you lately? You get my point.

The fact is changes, yes especially economic are natural, and cyclic. Sometimes they hit really hard. This might just be one of the toughest cycles in recent memory, after the boom of the last 20-25 years.

Big problems I see ahead in private healthcare are more likely with doctors who have never had to manage a profitable practice in tougher economic climates. Or have not yet established simple mechanisms for patients to want to pay you out of pocket.

Doctor, the truth is your patients want only you. They want your knowledge, decision-making skills and expertise. They want a compassionate human being, not a stuffed shirt.

Doctor, the real truth is your patients want the benefits of your care. They are not going to pay for “office visits”. They will however, pay you for an experience.

And so here it is with private healthcare practices today. We can ill afford to be about office visits, anymore than Starbucks is, or will ever be just about coffee.

Your patients need, and want way more from your office, now more than ever. Especially when care opportunities and choices abound for them. You only need to look at the explosive growth of massage clinics, medi-clinics at Wal-Mart and CVS, and now even franchised alternative healthcare chains, spas of all types and economics, and even cosmetic dentistry and surgery centers to figure this out.

Patients need and are looking for an office environment, which helps them escape all the crap in the rest of their lives. A receptionist that is warm and welcoming, and caters to them. An office that looks and feels clean, calming, more spa like than clinical. The right colors and feel. Product sales that support and enhance the experience. Support Staff that is friendly, helpful and upbeat.

And your patients really want true health and fitness, well into their later years. Now they expect and will seek out ways to ensure less physical pain, more energy, less stress, weight and blood lipid (cholesterol) control. They want not to be diabetic due to poor fitness, suffer with fibromyalgia, or be chronically stressed out or depressed and anxious.

They want no undesired side effects from treatment. They want financial clarity. And today’s patients expect complete technological literacy with an incredible human touch behind it.

Do this right, and you will really have a fantastic practice. Raving fans, tons of referrals, and yes, most especially patients who pay you handsomely for their experience which is unlike anything else in their neighborhood. You will be THE go-to doctor.

But, you will not pull this off without an effective strategy and market study. Do your homework. Study our guidance on practice makeovers. Make rock solid your staffing systems. Set it up fully compliant, and with the best legal and tax structure.

Lastly, come to “Future Shock”. Really learn this right. Let our experiences with practices from around the country help to plan your practices fine tuning, or if need be a makeover, the right way, the first time.

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