The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted independent practices across the country. You may have been in survival mode for much of the past two years, but now is a good time to plan for a successful future. You can expand your independent practice in 2022, by growing some key skills.
Technology skills. A large part of the sustained success of independent practices is the expansion of telehealth options. Over half of the practices in the US were able to stabilize the number of patient visits in 2020 by taking advantage of technology that enabled them to provide telehealth visits safely and effectively. About three-fourths of the independent practices expected the number of patient visits to grow in 2021.
Developing the skills to provide telehealth services and to connect health platforms such as electronic health records (EHRs) to deliver quality care can enable you to expand your independent practice in 2022. Using technology to connect with patients using communication tools and the digital platforms that are becoming more popular, particularly among the younger generations, can contribute significantly to a growth in your patient panel.
Technology provides for seamless care across multiple providers also, giving you the opportunity to provide coordinated care that results in improved outcomes for your patients. For example, EHR interoperability can improve convenience, reduce duplication and errors, and reduce costs for you and your patients.
Your independent primary care practice can evolve and thrive with Elation Health’s technology solutions, so you can own your key role in today’s healthcare environment. Learn more here.
People skills. The use of technology is increasing in healthcare delivery, but the key to expanding your independent practice in 2022 will be rooted in your ability to develop quality people skills. Improving the provider-patient relationship through strong and effective personal communications can be one of the more important factors in patient engagement. Patients who are engaged are more likely to become involved in their own care, improving their outcomes as well as their satisfaction level with your practice.
Developing communication skills means more than learning how to send a secure message via their patient portal. In-person skills are focused on customer relationships. Your independent practice is a business, and your patients are your customers. Yours is special type of business, though, as healthcare is highly personal. Your patients – your customers – need to feel safe and valued and they need to feel as though you and your staff truly care about them.
Speak with your patients in a manner that shows respect and concern for their individual situation. Learn how to listen intently to your patients and to learn more about who they are, what they fear, and what they want from you as their healthcare provider.
Marketing skills. Satisfied patients can become an integral part of your marketing team. Growing the skills necessary to market your practice successfully will lead to your ability to expand your independent practice in 2022. As you work to reach out to new patients, learning how to leverage your current patients’ experiences can be an important step toward growing your patient base.
In the digital age, most people will review online information when deciding on a new healthcare provider. Improving your online presence, so that your practice is seen in a positive light every time a potential patient conducts a search, will go a long way toward bringing in new patients.
Growing your marketing skills can be relatively simple and easy, when you have a solid base of satisfied patients. Ask those patients to leave feedback on sites such as Yelp and Healthgrades. Maintain a professional social media presence. Keep your website updated with current, accurate, and helpful information. Respond to all inquiries and comments in a timely and positive manner.
Developing these skills will enable you and your team to move forward into the new year with a realistic plan for expanding your independent practice and succeeding in providing the quality care your patients want and deserve in 2022.