Podiatry is such an important medical specialty that the United States Podiatry Services Market Report for 2022-2027 estimates its current market size at $972.5 million, with the potential to reach $1,184 million by 2027. While those statistics sound great on a national level, how does that help you decide how to grow your medical practice? Podiatrists learn a great deal about patient care in medical school, but very little time is spent on the business side of attracting new patients. This article provides insights about creating a small business marketing plan, and looks at the top ten ways to grow your medical practice.
Attract More Patients to Your Podiatry Practice
In 2013, Jeremy M. Thomas, DPM, provided insights to the Podiatry Institute about his “5 Pearls of Solo Practice.” At the time, Dr. Thomas had been in solo practice in Cary, NC for three-and-a-half years. Although technology has evolved greatly in the intervening years, Dr. Thomas’ reasons for promoting practice growth are still valid today: “You got into private practice for a reason; to run a successful business. Remember at the end of the day it is a business and you are the reason why people are walking in the door.”
With that advice in mind, here are the top tips your practice can use for attracting new patients in 2022:
- Provide Outstanding Service: The most important component of practice growth is providing exceptional patient satisfaction. If you do not create a patient experience that satisfies your patients’ needs, they will not come back, and will most certainly not recommend you to family and friends. One of the ways to enhance your service is to fast track your appointment scheduling and make patient check-in easier with a virtual kiosk.
- Know Your Market: As you provide consistently high levels of patient care, you can turn your attention to tactics to grow your medical practice. Send out questionnaires to obtain patient feedback about what you are doing right, and ask about what you could do better. Study the demographics of the population immediately surrounding your location. Unless you offer a very rare specialty, the majority of your patients probably come from a 15-mile radius. The make-up of that area – young, old, income levels, work status – will determine your target marketing and growth strategy.
- Identify Key Differentiators: As you study your patients and learn about your market area, you might find there is something which sets your practice apart from its competition. Perhaps patients like the way they are treated, or the flexibility of your office hours. You might have the only office that specializes in elderly patients, or diabetic foot care. This key differentiator is something you can capitalize on in your marketing to give potential patients a reason to select your practice over others.
- Create your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Sitting at the intersection of what patients want and what your practice does well, a USP is a marketing statement you will use to brand your practice and present your services. Similar to a slogan, this sums up everything in one concise thought. Examples might be, “We’ll get you back on your feet faster,” or “Quality Care & Convenient Hours for all Your Podiatry Needs.”
- Determine Offers: Create offers that appeal to your target market and match your USP. If your USP is a faster recovery, you might offer a package rate for three appointments. If your USP is convenience, you could promise to set an appointment within 24 hours.
- Focus on Marketing and Advertising: Communicate this information to your target demographic. Audit your existing marketing efforts to determine what is working and what is not. Podiatric Physician Dr. Daniel T. Hall IV finds that a consistent outreach through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram helps to inform potential patients about his practice. Whether you focus on email marketing, local search optimization, or content marketing to drive prospects to your website, use the same branding message across all communication channels.
- Build a Great Team: Your team has to deliver what your marketing promises. Recruit, train and educate team members who can help achieve your practice expansion goals. They didn’t attend podiatry school, so you need to explain what the practice is doing, and how it benefits the patients.
- Use Technology to Your Advantage: Organize your office for efficiency, to help your providers and team members do their jobs well. Use a custom-tailored Podiatry EHR that includes common podiatry complaints, examination templates, digitized diagrams, and evaluation templates to facilitate charting and patient care. Incorporate telemedicine to treat patients remotely through the use of telecommunication tools such as smartphones and computers. Secure online patient portals are a form of digital engagement that can also play a major role in fostering patient-provider communication – use them to schedule follow-up appointments, manage prescriptions, or answer patient questions.
- Build Relationships: In addition to external marketing, build relationships with referring physicians to provide reasons for them to send more patients your way. The other great source of new patients is reviews and referrals from existing patients.
- Expand Your Services: You can only physically treat so many patients in the course of a day, so look for other ways to build revenue. Sell foot care products, bring on a physical therapist, or offer online seminars to educate more people about the benefits of podiatry.
Key Takeaways for Growing a Podiatry Practice
The key takeaway is that it takes work to grow your medical practice. Provide outstanding patient care, hire a super support team, use the latest in technology, and develop a small business marketing plan that communicates your message to the widest possible audience.
PrognoCIS EHR delivers a customizable, tailor-made workflow with rich and specialty-specific content for podiatry practices. Our cloud-based Podiatry EHR streamlines workflows through a platform of stable and mature modules and features that include Practice Management, Medical Billing, Revenue Cycle Management, Telemedicine, Patient Portal, and e-prescription.