As an allied health professional working in private practice, you’ve worked hard to hone your clinical skills. You’re brilliant at treating patients, and understand how to diagnose and address their concerns. You genuinely care about patient outcomes, and you’re passionate about helping others. So why isn’t your hard work translating to financial success?
Chances are your training in allied health has equipped you to become an excellent practitioner – but to be successful in private practice you also need strong business acumen. Clinical skills are very different to business skills. Often, private practitioners know they need a strategy to attract and retain new clientele, but lack the required technical skills to carry this out. AHPRA regulations that govern how to advertise health services also add another layer of complexity.
To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of five simple tips designed to attract and retain new patients. You can get these ideas underway today:
- Evergreen content
Just like ‘evergreen’ trees that retain their leaves all year-round, ‘evergreen content’ does not become dated and will continually be found by search engines online. In the context of private practice, evergreen content might include fact sheets, brochures and instructional videos related to common injuries or ailments. Developing evergreen content will position your practice as an expert resource, with the skills and knowledge necessary to treat new patients.
- Location targeting
Location based marketing, or geo-targeting, helps you to turn people living or working around your practice into new clientele. You can use Facebook ads or Google Adwords to target audiences within a set number of kilometres from your practice. Be sure to add your practice location into the wording of your ad, in order to improve its relevancy and performance.
- Online bookings
According to industry reports, it costs 5 times more to attract a new patient than it does to retain an existing one. Making it easy for existing patients to book and confirm future appointments can help improve retention figures. There are plenty of free online tools and booking apps that can integrate with your practice calendar, and make it easy to show your real-time availability.
- Seamless payments
Just like us, patients are time-poor. Seemingly small tasks, such as having to lodge a seperate claim for services with their health fund, can influence the choice of one clinic over another. Integrated technology can make the payment process seamless for your patients – creating a more positive customer service experience that keeps people coming back.
- Patient journey maps
What happens to your patients after they’ve left your clinic? Does the patient receive a text message prompting them to book a future appointment? Does the practice manager send an email to follow-up on their progress? These types of questions form a ‘patient journey map,’ which is designed to track your clinic’s engagement with existing clients. Patient journey maps help you to identify new ways to communicate with your clients – with the ultimate goal of achieving greater levels of retention.
There’s never been a better time to become an allied health practitioner. Australians are living longer, with our current life expectancy reaching over 82 years of age. At the same time, Aussies expect to enjoy a higher quality of life, and are placing a greater emphasis on proactive healthcare.
The catch is that being successful in allied health doesn’t just involve having well-developed clinical skills. In a competitive market where patients have a world of information at their fingertips, we must also prioritise building strong business marketing skills.
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Jade Scott is a leading identity within Australia’s allied health community. Having successfully established a number of osteopathy clinics in Victoria Jade recognised an opportunity to create meaningful change and innovation within the Allied Health Industry.