In the modern world, staying still is the same as going backwards – you need steady growth to excel. But markers of development will differ greatly between different general practices. Contributing factors can include your business stage of growth, the size of your patient base and the number of healthcare professionals employed. These elements all help to determine what success looks like to you and the goals you need to meet in order to grow.
Why is tracking growth important?
Monitoring the trajectory of your expansion is important to forecasting what may happen in the near future. For example, if your business’ revenue has increased year-on-year based on repeat bookings, if these patients start to go elsewhere you can expect growth stagnation.
If you don’t keep track of your growth patterns, you can easily make business decisions that may hamper future expansion. On the positive side, keeping tabs on your medical practice growth can help you determine when is a good time to invest in new equipment, employ new staff, or expand your patient base with lower risk of failure. However, to do that you need to define what ‘growth’ means to your practice.
Three ways to define growth in your medical practice
Regardless of your practice’s size or location, there are ways to define business growth:
1. The number of healthcare professionals employed. Practice sizes are, on average, increasing to accommodate a range of services delivered by different types of medical staff, according to a recent ANZ Health report. As your practice grows, so too will the number of primary carers you employ. This enables you to offer more services to a larger patient base which, if well managed, can lead to ever-increasing growth.
2. Patient retention and loyalty levels. Australian Medical Association statistics show that 93% of patients nationwide always go to the same practitioner. Loyalty is clearly important to patients, which means GPs need to do more to ensure they are happy with their medical experience. High retention rates and repeat bookings indicates that your practice is in a good place, and could be ready for new patients or to expand your facility.
3. Higher customer satisfaction ratings. The proportion of patients waiting ‘longer than acceptable’ for a GP appointment dropped from 23% in 2013-14 to 19% in 2015-16, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This is thanks to greater efforts sector-wide to improve the patient experience through online booking systems and digital access to medical scripts. Adopting these principles in your business will lead existing patients to offer positive word-of-mouth reviews of your practice, which could lead to new patients.
Above: Higher patient satisfaction is a good metric to measure growth.
Whether you want to grow your practice by reaching new patients or raising patient satisfaction, any strategy should accommodate digital solutions that help you meet different targets. HealthEngine offers a range of solutions helping practices connect and engage with patients.
Patient Connect allows medical professionals to attract more patients and generate more bookings from existing patients on Australia’s largest healthcare network. Patient360, meanwhile, is an all-in-one patient engagement platform which offers your patients the ultimate healthcare experience.
For help with defining a strategic plan to grow your practice, contact the HealthEngine team today.
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