If you are a Specialist it’s all about the New Patients

As we begin the New Year it is important to pay attention to your practice metrics, especially if you are a specialist. With a specialty practice it is all about the new patient visits.  As you monitor monthly activity the new patient visits drive your practice volume.  With many specialty groups, high dollar diagnostics and procedures are always followed closely and they should be given the reimbursement dollars they generate.  But it usually is the new patient encounters that feed those diagnostic and procedures.  Follow up visits, annual and semi annual office visits account for far fewer diagnostics and procedures.  Going into the new year will present the challenge to bring more new patients into the office and here are some ideas to accomplish that.

New screening offerings in a group can attract new patients.  If you are a cardiology group you may want to consider vascular screening.  Initial screening modalities are low cost and can lead to follow on diagnostics and procedures.  Orthopedic groups may look at Bone Density scanning.

Marketing can create awareness but if you are a specialist the majority of your referrals are driven by primary care physicians so focus your marketing on them and their practice staff.  Scheduling staff in these offices often direct where patients are sent for specialty care.  Make sure your marketing efforts include those individuals.

Also review your process for scheduling new patients into your office to assure it is easy for the referring’s office staff.  Scheduling staff in referring offices will send patients to offices where there is a relationship and where it is easy to facilitate the appointment.  Bring lunch into those offices and discuss the scheduling process with the referring office to make sure there are no issues with making appointments to your group.

With the new year, focus on increasing your new patients and your groups procedure and diagnostic volume will follow.