It is safe to say that 2020 was a difficult year for a lot of people, financially and otherwise. When it comes to increased financial responsibility for healthcare, it was an especially difficult year for most patients. According to new research, the average consumer spent considerably more money on healthcare than they did only a few short years ago. This trend of increased financial burden on patients is likely going to continue in 2021 and will be further exacerbated by higher healthcare prices.
Encounters with difficult patients, while often unpleasant, are something providers and staff have to learn to deal with as part of their jobs. And, sadly, they tend to pop up fairly regularly. In fact, one study found that 30 percent of patient encounters were rated as “difficult” by responding physician practices. These sorts of negative interactions can be frustrating and demoralizing for everyone at your practice. However, with the right methods, you can reduce the stress caused by difficult patients and improve the outcomes of these uncomfortable situations.
Recently, online healthcare review site Healthgrades analyzed 2.4 million online reviews to create their 2020 Patient Sentiment Report. This report reinforces something that most people in healthcare already know, which is that online reviews can either make or break a healthcare practice. It also discovered that 75 percent of healthcare reviews mention quality of care and that “a patient’s opinion of a doctor can be dramatically influenced by the overall experience of the visit and interactions with office staff.” This means that, in order to encourage patients to leave positive reviews, there are additional things your practice needs to do beyond simply providing quality care (though that is still important, too).
According to a recent study, the number of in-person outpatient visits declined by nearly 60 percent in 2020. While there has been a small rebound in the first quarter of 2021, some practices are still struggling to get their patient volumes back to pre-pandemic levels. Telehealth has been able to help fill some of the gaps, but it is simply not enough to consider things as being back to “business as usual.” As vaccines roll out, however, now is a golden opportunity to begin new efforts to invite patients to return to in-person care as well as to invite new patients to your practice.
Even the most well-established practice can struggle to find ways to grow their business and acquire more patients. Oftentimes, this is due to budgetary constraints, especially in a market where profit margins can be thin and even more so for practices that are already overextended with new investments. However, there are plenty of ways to grow your practice without breaking the bank. In this blog, we will go over a number of cost-effective measures that you can employ to help grow your business.
Millennials and Gen Z are often mistakenly blamed for “killing industries“ as well as wrongly accused of being disconnected and self-absorbed. If you look at the facts, however, you will see that none of these stereotypes are accurate about the majority of today’s younger generations. In all honesty, they are struggling in the face of an uncertain future while stuck with stagnant wages that have long lagged behind the rate of inflation. The truth is that they aren’t intentionally “killing industries.” For the most part, they simply do not have as much disposable income as older generations such as Baby Boomers and Generation X.
A lack of patient loyalty could be costing your practice more than you might think. According to one study, a patient leaving due to dissatisfaction can result in a financial loss of $200,000 over the life of a practice. The same study also found that one in eight patients claimed they had left their healthcare provider in the last year, and that one in three were planning to leave their current providers sometime in the next two years. In a healthcare marketplace where consumers have taken more control of their healthcare choices, it can be easier than ever to lose patients due to a poor patient experience.
We did it! We survived 2020! Hands down, 2020 was the toughest year (so far) of the twenty-first century. But we got through it. As we move into 2021, this is the time when many of us are making New Year’s resolutions. To help our readers commit to new initiatives for practice success in the coming year, this blog will suggest a number of useful New Year’s Resolutions for Specialty Practices.