Medical practices are feeling the impact of the looming recession, as patients become more concerned about personal finances. They thiink twice before scheduling an appointment and put off treatment that doesn’t seem urgent. Yep, with gaps in the schedule, revenue starts to slide and practice economics become uncertain. So how can you fill those gaps and pump iron into practice revenue without spending big bucks on marketing? Read on…

1) Mine your data base. Find those patients that are overdue for an annual visit, follow-up care or screening tests the practice offers. E-mail or give these patients a jingle. Don’t just remind patients to schedule appointments, offer each one a specific time slot to increase your odds for filling the schedule. Be sure to confirm appointments 48 hours in advance with verbiage that accentuates the importance of keeping appointments.

2) Be visible. Participate in community social and fund-raising activities. The more you (and your staff) are in front of people, the more you remind them of who you are and what you do.

3) Be a media darling. Get to know the writers focused on healthcare for local newspapers and regional magazines. Become the “go to” person when they are seeking physicians to quote. It’s easier to do than you might think. Go on line to their websites and e-mail the writers that cover features on healthcare business and clinical issues. Invite each one to contact you when they need a source, and direct them to your website so they can check you out. When a medical topic becomes of interest to the community and you can offer solid advice, e-mail your media contacts.

4) Be active with the hospital and local medical association. Communicate your interest in being their media source for information and interviews.

5) Be responsive. When someone needs something from you or makes a query, respond without delay, whether its the media, another medical practice or your patients. Be timely and dependable.

Now watch your practice thrive!

Contact Judy Capko, one of America’s best known practice management and marketing consultants: www.capko.com

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