When you are in your own practice, it can sometimes lead to seeing your patients as consumers. To make more money, or to maintain what you are already taking in, sometimes the answer is to see more patients.
As reimbursements sink lower and costs of doing business get higher, it is natural to want to do what you can to increase revenue. And there are times when trying to treat more patients is the answer.
Yet, it is not always the best answer. There are a few reasons why it may be detrimental to your practice and other ways to increase revenue might be better.
Here are some things to keep in mind before you start trying to attract more patients.
Documentation gets sloppy
We all know how much paperwork is required when you are a physician. You can spend more time poring over contracts and charting requirements than actually treating patients.
The problem then is when you add more patients, this paperwork can end up with loads of errors. Sloppily done documentation can lead to many adverse scenarios and should not be brushed off or not taken seriously.
Older patients need more care
The Baby Boomers are now quite elderly and living much longer. They take up a high percentage of many physicians patients.
With this being the case, it means that they require more frequent visits and even more time per visit. Generally, they require a more thorough treatment schedule.
Medications and their side effects need to be monitored, and complicated situations from illnesses often occur, among many other things. Rushing a visit can often miss certain symptoms or leave questions unanswered which could complicate a diagnosis.
This is not good for the patient or for your practice.
Increasing workload inevitably leads to burn out of your staff and yourself.
There are only so many hours in the day. Often, taking in more patients means rushing throughout the day at a high pace, leaving little time for breaks. Or, working later and longer hours to see every patient.
Being burned out can lead to making mistakes. And mistakes as a doctor can have serious consequences.
Patients have more questions than ever
Each visit now requires more time to answer questions that patients have. Too many people turn to Google to self diagnose before going to the doctor. The research they do often leads to many questions that need answering.
This is not necessarily a bad thing as it is good to have patients that are educated about their situation. Where it can be problematic is that if these concerns and questions are brushed off since you don’t have time to answer then that patient is less likely to return when they feel sick and will turn to Google to solve their problem. Usually detrimentally.
Instead of working harder, work smarter. Find ways to decrease missed appointments, renegotiate with insurance providers and try using a virtual office after hours to increase revenue.