Welcome back to another episode of Shorr Solutions, The Podcast. We are going to be talking today about why your patient care coordinator is losing your practice money. First things first, medicine is a business, medicine is a science, medicine is a way to heal the sick and injured. In our industry it’s a way to keep people looking young and beautiful. We know that medicine is still one of the most respected businesses today. We want to make sure that you’re always keeping in mind even though it’s called a medical practice, that medicine is a business and you want to make sure you’re treating your practice just like a business.
Opportunities to increase your profit:
What are the opportunities for improvement that can lead to additional financial success in your practice? No matter where you’re located in any part of the country, these are tips to keep in mind. We’re going to go through what happens before the consult, what happens during your consult, and what happens after your consult. Whether they’re a new patient to the practice altogether, or they’re an existing patient that at first came in maybe for a facial or neurotoxin and now you’re ready to talk surgery, you’re ready to talk body contouring, an upsell pick as they move along that stage.
One of the things you want to make sure is that your patient care coordinator and your front desk receptionist, whoever it is that we’re looking to call that person, are working very closely together to create a tracking spreadsheet of all incoming leads. Now, this can be a spreadsheet as far as Excel. You want to make sure obviously if you are still using Excel that you are storing and saving that file in a place that is HIPAA compliant. I can’t stress this enough, every step of the way we want to make sure that we are HIPAA compliant. You have to make sure that you’re either using a spreadsheet or if your EMR is sophisticated and has the ability to track all incoming leads, which it should at this point, that you are making sure every new lead is entered into that system.
You also want to make sure you’re not just getting first and last name, date of birth, but we also want to know what is it that they’re interested in. You want to make sure you’re getting their phone number and email address as well. Email addresses are going to be something that either your patient care coordinator or your marketing coordinator in your practice is going to love you for because we are going to make sure that we have the ability to email them later with personalized follow-up emails. We want to make sure that we’re able to add them to your email marketing campaigns. So obviously, you want to get a phone number for the lead as well. You also want to find out how did that patient come to find out about your practice because this is going to help you do more of what’s working and less of what’s not.
Also include, how does the patient wish to be communicated with so text, email, phone? How did they want you as a patient care coordinator as the practice to communicate with them moving forward? I always use our team as an example. Different generations prefer different tactics often and so if you have someone like my business partner, my father Jay Shorr, then he’s very big on just pick up the phone and call me versus other people that I know don’t want to pick up the phone and speak with people. If you want to meet your potential patients where they are a patient’s email should, like I said, immediately at this point go into your database.
How your marketing team comes into play:
Now, you want to make sure that you have been working with your marketing team to include a wide variety of before and after pictures. That is going to be a patient care coordinator working very heavily with two or three different people in the office. Number one, your medical assistant, or whoever is in charge of making sure that the practice captures every photo and then the after photo during the patient’s journey. We want to make sure that number one, this is captured. Number two, we want to make sure that they don’t just stay on a phone, they don’t just stay on a camera somewhere, they’re actually being put to good use. Then, number three, we want to make sure that they’re organized and that they are available publicly where the patient can find them. Make sure that there is a great wealth of before and after photos for different procedures that your practice offers on your website. If we’re talking about Body Sculpting, if we’re talking about surgical, think of all the different surgeries think of something like a mommy makeover that may be in a couple of different places. You might have it categorized as mommy makeover, breast augmentation, or tummy tuck. If we’re talking about solutions for acne, you might have that posted on skincare. You might also have it posted when we’re talking about a microdermabrasion. If you use multiple treatments, you want to make sure the before and after photos are really easy for your patient to buy.
You also want to make sure that you’re including a variety of demographics. Now for this particular example, we used a female and we used a male. You also want to make sure that you have different demographics as far as different age ranges. So when we’re looking at some things like perhaps a mommy makeover patient she could be 30, she could be 50, or 55. You don’t only want to have one age range, you also want to make sure that there are different suspension levels and Fitzpatrick tones when you are talking about skin. You want to make sure as you’re treating your patients and you have your before and after photos that you don’t just necessarily have a 25-year-old white female patient, but you do have black and brown patients included in there as well. Patients want to see themselves so make sure your patient care coordinator is working very closely with your marketing team to make those things readily available.
Before your patient comes in, you’re going to have a phone conversation and we want to make sure we’re implementing something that we love to call the four magical closing questions. It’s all in how you’re going to have this conversation. Now, during this phone conversation, you’re also going to repeat these questions when the patient is in the office with you:
1) When are you looking to book your consult? So is that patient just on a fact-finding mission? They have a couple of questions. They just want to find out some pricing while they’re on the phone with you or are they looking to get in for a consult ASAP?
2) How does the thought of this procedure make you feel? Cosmetic procedures, surgical or non-surgical, they’re emotion-based. The majority of the time these are not medically necessary and so when we talk about booking a patient we want to tune into their emotional side. Is this going to make you feel more confident in a swimsuit and so you are going to be able to enjoy spring break coming up in just a few months? When you’re able to travel again, this is going to just make you want to put on a bathing suit and go frolic in the water with your children and your grandchildren. If you have a relatively young grandmother that’s coming into the office, this patient has gone through a divorce and this is going to make them feel more comfortable and able to explore dating again.
3) How soon are you looking to have this procedure? They could be looking to get in ASAP. They could say, I’m a teacher, for example, and I need to wait until Christmas break or I need to wait until next spring break but I want to get everything lined up. You want to know, when are they looking to book this procedure because you don’t want to be pushy. If they say now, but they’re still hesitant to actually put that on the books, this is a great time to say, what is stopping you from booking this procedure today?
4) What is stopping them from having this procedure today? Is it financials, they can’t get the time off of work, they need to wait until somebody is able to be with them after the procedure. You want to hear what it is so that you’re able to best talk to them about the accommodations the practice can make because they may not know specifically, all of the options that you have available. Once you speak with them, listen to any additional questions that they have. Those are going to be if they asked during this phone conversation because again, you want to get as much information as you can during that initial phone conversation. What you want to then say is…
5) what other questions do you have? If they’re questions that are specific medical questions and you are not a provider that’s speaking with them over the phone instead of saying, I don’t know or I can’t tell you that, what you want to say is that is a wonderful question to ask the provider. That’s a great question to ask nurse Genie, or that’s a great question to ask Dr. Smith. Once they are actually in once they’re in the office, they are able to answer all of those questions. I also encourage you to ask the patient on the phone if there are any members that are going to be assisting them after the procedure. Or if there are any family members that are going to assist them in their decision making and invite them either to join. You want to make that an option. This is going to keep it from being a stopping block along the way.
I also encourage you to plant the seeds about financing options that your practice offers during the initial phone conversation and just ask them while you’re in person. Would you like to discuss the patient financing options that we have? That way they don’t have to feel vulnerable about saying, “Oh, I can’t afford that.” They might not tell you that they can’t afford something they might not say “oh, I don’t have the money right now.” You don’t want to wait for the patient to actually ask about financing, tell them you have multiple financing offers available and that you would love to discuss that with them during their consult.
During the consult:
Speaking of during the consult, let’s talk about some of the options and some of the things you want to be sure we’re really hitting on during the consult. Make sure that during the consult you have the provider, so whether you’re the provider or you’re the patient care coordinator, make sure that you’re both giving the patient your undivided attention. Often having an additional team member scribing is going to be the difference between the patient feeling like the provider and the patient care coordinator are listening versus they’re not listening. Make sure that you’re both seated at the same level. Instead of one person hovering over the patient, you want to make sure you’re both seated at the same level. Those are a couple of different components and a couple of different tips to make sure that you have a patient’s undivided attention and that they have yours because it really is reciprocal. Now, once the provider has explained all of the nitty-gritty and medical answers during the course of the consult you want to circle back on those four closing questions. This is where the patient care coordinator is able to relate to the provider. “Sue, she isn’t looking to have this procedure for another three months, or she wants to have this procedure just after the holidays. That’s the timeline that we’re talking and she had a couple of additional questions. First, but she was telling me on the phone that she really wants to make sure she’s able to be all healed up for spring break because the thought of being in a bathing suit just makes her so happy.” Have your quotes ready, so the patient shouldn’t be left alone. Now, if a patient has their family member we want to make sure that you’re speaking to both family members that are there or a family member and a patient. That person is going to have questions as well. We want to make sure that you are answering the questions of the family member, not just the questions of the patient. Remember, your patient comes first but you’re also speaking to both parties. Then you ask, what other questions can I answer? So what concerns do you have that I can answer today? We would love to get your surgery on the books because we are filling up and we are booked out through, blank. You want to make sure you’re answering those questions right then and there. If they choose not to book that day, you want to schedule a time that you’re able to speak with them by phone as a follow-up. I understand you have to go home and check your calendar, I understand you got to go home and check on a travel schedule if the world is able to travel again. Are we able to speak next Thursday at 2 pm at a time on the calendar, we can regroup then. I will call you and I’m going to block off 10 minutes for us to have an additional conversation so that we can book and want to make sure that you’re actually doing it at a scheduled time.
After the Consult:
After the consult we started talking about putting that next phone appointment, just to follow up, on the calendar. This is what we want to follow is a drip campaign. After the patient leaves, if you haven’t been able to either schedule a time for them to speak or after you schedule the time to speak with them again we aren’t able to get them on the surgery calendar, you want to schedule a drip campaign. You want to follow this schedule as far as contacting them 24 hours later, three days later, one week, one week after that, one month after that, and then one month after that. We don’t just want to let them fall off the radar, you also don’t want to become a nudge. You don’t want to become a pain point that they think holy, moly, these folks won’t leave me alone. Follow this schedule and during the course of all of this, they are getting your regular email marketing, just to be another touchpoint. You want to make sure that they follow you on social media while they’re in the office so that they will continue to see you pop up in their stories when they’re scrolling through social. Those are some of the many ways that your patient care coordinator could possibly be losing your practice money.