Marketing: Keep your actual patients first.
uring my 22 years of experience working in chiropractic offices, I have seen offices growing with just 10 new patients per month, while some others need 50 new patients per month to grow. Why is that? It really depends on how you manage your new patients versus your actual active patients. Basically, it is no use to spend tons of money to attract new patients if they do not accept your care or drop your care prematurely. Before you make your next marketing plan and allow a big budget to achieve it, make sure you have a plan for your existing patients and new patients. Your management software is a great tool to use in that plan.
New patients should accept your care and recommendations.
You have a new patient and his exams are clearly showing that he needs intensive chiropractic care. You are convincing and give him all possible explanations. In your mind, he is in. But in reality, he may not be. He won't tell you, but he may never come back, and most of the time it has nothing to do with your explanations or exams. He might be convinced by his spouse when he arrives home. Or he may see an article against chiropractic in general. You don't believe that this is happening to you right now? Go into your actual management software and print the list of all new patients within the last 3 months who had 1 or 2 visits in your office. Make sure you are well seated before you do this. Then pull out their patient files and try to remember these patients. You will probably find there are more patients than you think and will be very surprised at who has not been following your care recommendations. Don't get negative at this point; use this list to fix the problem instead. Try to find out why they quit before starting care. And then make sure your presentation of care to your new patients improves. First, make sure new patients have a great first impression of the office and staff. Make sure a new patient has a nice office tour that shows him everything you have to help him for recovering his health. Put simply: Impress him. Second, make sure you have good communication with the new patient. The more you know about him, the more trust will be built between the patient and yourself. Every month, generate a list of new patients with 1 or 2 visits and make a regular analysis. This will take only a few minutes per month, but it will help you maximize your new patient conversions on a regular basis.
Prevent Actual Patients From Dropping Care Prematurely.
When the doctor talks about the next appoint-ment to the patient, he may detect a hesitation from him.
When patients start thinking about dropping their care, they will not tell you anything. But patients will show clear signs before dropping their care. One of the signs is when they leave without scheduling their next appointment. Most chiropractic software automatically tells you if your patient has another appointment or not. If not, the doctor should talk to the patient about it and make sure the patient will stop at the front desk to schedule his next appointment. The doctor should do this, not the chiropractic assistant. When the doctor talks about the next appointment to the patient, he may detect a hesitation from him. If this happens, the doctor should ask more questions to make sure that everything is going well and the patient is really committed to his chiropractic care. The doctor has knowledge and power that the chiropractic assistance does not have, and this is normal.
What is the use of running after new patients if you are not maximizing the care for the ones you have now? If you keep losing more active patients than the new ones you gain, your practice will shrink. Sometimes, we put so much energy into generating calls to the office that we forget about the patients we have, and analyzing existing patient data can be a key element for growing your practice.
Claude Cote is an expert in EHR systems, insurance billing and chiropractic clinic management for 22 years. He has installed EHR system in 18 countries over 5 continents and nationwide in USA. He is the President and Founder of Platinum System C.R. Corp (www.platinumsystem.com). For comments or questions, please email to