[Partner Post] 5 Ways to Build Your Patient Base

Although your patient base will naturally grow every year, there are a few techniques for boosting growth to meet your goals. Even if your practice has been around for years, adding new patients is always top of mind.

Practice growth can come in many different forms whether you’re looking to bring on new patients, strengthen existing patient loyalty, or improve your workflow to make time for a heavier patient load. The following methods both make space for new patients in your practice and help you strategize your 2019 plans.

Patient Recall Metrics
Having an automated patient recall that can be customized for time, content and different segments of patients is crucial. Of course, you should automate most of your patient recall messages in advance, but we think it’s a good idea to update your messaging every few months. This way, the same patients aren’t seeing the same wording year after year. Tracking the success of your recall will help you decide which messaging leads to higher open rates. Ultimately, the goal is to get patients back into your practice. You can only measure the success of that goal if you know which recall methods actually worked.

Delight Your Loyal Patients
Loyal patients are valuable to your practice and they should be treated that way. If patients seem to return year after year, it lets you know that they are enjoying your services. If you have patients who offer constructive advice for improvement, it’s likely they’ll stay and recommend you to their friends if you listen to their advice. Word of mouth is one of the strongest, most reliable methods for gaining new patients. The best way to make sure your loyal patients are spreading the word for your practice is through delighting them, taking their feedback and prioritizing their needs. Finding unique ways to delight your patients is overall mutually beneficial.

Adapt Your Workflow
If you find your appointment slots are filled day after day, there might not be much extra time to plan avenues of new growth for your practice. Analyze where your workflow could improve by identifying inefficiencies. These inefficiencies could be a clunky hand-off process, common miscommunications and other tasks that might be wasting your staff’s time. Not only will optimizing your workflow make life easier for your staff, but your patients will also be thankful for quicker exams and more thorough communication. It shows that you value your patients’ time and prioritize their care.

Evaluate from a Patient’s Perspective
Similar to optimizing your workflow, performing a patient experience assessment can help you point out patient interactions, experiences and tasks that need improvement. You’ll start by taking a makeshift patient through the front desk process, watching your technician perform the pre-testing exams on them, performing the exam itself, and then taking notes on how the optician showcases products and fits the patient. This is the best way to understand which points in the process aren’t being prioritized for your patients.

Marketing Campaigns

Finally, building both outbound and inbound marketing strategies is necessary if you’re willing to actively gain new patients. If you have a good amount of competition nearby, you’ll need to be creative and plant your strategies months in advance. In the OD Handbook: Small Business, Big Profits for your eyecare practice, we cover the business basics for setting your practice up for success and marketing your strongpoints. We hope 2019 is a year of growth for your practice.