Dermatology is a demanding field of medicine, yet also flexible. What we mean by that is dermatology care always requires a very specific set of skills and requires a keen eye, one that can see and deal with the immediacy of illness and that can envision the longer-term impact on how a patient both looks and feels. Sometimes, there is no medical treatment required and the dermatologist is asked to handle a cosmetic concern. Under these varying scenarios, planning for the future success of your medical practice means putting yourself in a position to both pay the bills, and possibly even earn a profit, can be challenging. Here are some thoughts on maximizing patient visits for both your benefit and theirs, too.
Eight Ways to Generate Repeat Customers
This practice is becoming more and more prevalent and our recent experiences with Covid may have helped to increase usage. As well, insurers are increasingly more likely to cover certain diagnostic procedures, although you will have to watch for fee deductions related to office expenses. Ensuring HIPPA compliance is still paramount, especially when any photos or videos are shared so you will want to be fully familiar with teledermatology before utilizing it. With that said, it presents a real opportunity to enhance your practice (as an added service) and makes it easier for some patients to obtain services where they may not otherwise have been able to. This results in goodwill which often results in repeat customers!
2. Positive Patient Experience / Social Media
This two-pronged approach asks you to ensure that every member of your staff, not just you but your clinical team, reception staff, and even the people who collect the bills, are all friendly, approachable, and service oriented. Then – you’ll want to do things like survey your patients and report positive feedback on social media. You’ll also want to maximize your social media presence, particularly targeting the market you serve whether that’s younger adults looking for enhancements, people with specific medical diagnosis, or older adults looking to “boost” their appearance. Finally, you may wish to enhance your own skills and expertise to expand your practice if you are only currently offering service to one type of patient.
3. Position Yourself as an Expert
Seek out opportunities to speak, get quoted in local papers or magazines or become a “regular” on local media outlets as an expert worth interviewing about how health and wellness and dermatology matters. Recommendations AND reputation matter in terms of bringing people back again and again.
4. Outsource to Make More Time to Invest in Your Clients
If some of these other strategies require an investment of your time and you don’t have any, you can improve your bottom line by outsourcing some services to experts, freeing up your clinical staff to provide better, more enhanced services. Consider billing – for some dermatology practices this is challenging and there are so many factors contributing negatively to the work (like codes and insurance variances in how to claim expenses) that outsourcing might make better sense for your clinic and allow you to better serve your patients. Better service means a better reputation and that means the return of existing clients as well as new ones!
5. Focus on the Follow-Up
Build on your customer/patient experience by offering follow up appointments for all types of treatments. There are many perfectly valid reasons for a follow-up, not the least of which is helping a patient with their peace of mind – especially after a scary diagnosis like skin cancer. A follow up, even after the simplest of procedures, tells your patient that they matter and that you care. It will enhance the “know, like and trust” relationship and quite possibly influence the patient’s decision to undergo further treatment, even if it’s not related to their original presenting area of concern.
6. Products, Products, Products
One of the best methods of increasing foot traffic into your clinic is with follow up services such as specific skincare products or even, selling the medical “after- care” items most patients might require after their procedures. Not having to make another stop on the way home to purchase supplies makes life easier for your patients and may encourage them to just keep coming back to you when it’s time for a refill.
7. Office Design and Extra Commodities
You may even want to make an extra effort when it comes to the design of your inpatient treatment rooms and offices. Demographics are changing and so are the legal requirements of providing safe and accessible care options. Consider making your space more user-friendly with adjustable height examination tables or chairs, wider door frames, or portable computers so that your office related questions and the patient examination can take place in the same location. This makes it easier for patients with mobility issues and it also respects a patient’s privacy and dignity as it helps alleviate fear of potential “hospital gown disasters” by limiting patient movement. The waiting area is also an experience that can keep your clients feeling welcome and willing to return. Include snacks, coffee, tea, and water to provide a calming and relaxing experience for your new clients and existing ones.
Each of these steps can significantly impact the patient’s overall feeling about your dermatology practice and thus influence their decision about whether they are more likely to return. Positioning yourself as an expert, as a one-stop spot to receive treatment and obtain care items and enhancing the patient’s overall comfort and experience will each contribute significantly to the potential increase in your bottom line – all while helping patients feel good and healthy!