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Thread: How do I build our patient base?

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    How do I build our patient base?

    I am looking for any tips you all may have on how to go about filling up our exam room. We have been open about a year and have a great part-time doctor that we would like to see busier. We are getting good traffic flow coming in for our great selection of specs but want to put more effort into building a solid patient base behind it. Also, I am wondering what unique marketing campaigns or promotions you guys may have used to increase business. Thanks!

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    The best growth is from patient referals. I found asking the simple question "do you want to book an appointment for anyone else in your family today?" increased our patient flow about 25%.

    We also left a bowl / tray of refrigerator magnets on the desk and when patients were checking out, we offered them the stack to invite thier friends or coworkers to visit our practice. "If you would like to tell your friends about us, please take as many as you like". I would have patients actually come back to grab a stack and bring it back to their offices.

    The key though is lavish customer service especially while you have time.
    Get a mini-fridge and stock it with water and soda, and espresso machine (pods are ok), offer drinks to everyone who comes in.
    Also, we often clean our patients glasses but don't neglect the thier friends and family in the waiting room, they are your next patients.
    One office writes two Contact lens RX's for every fit because they are new and have extra time, one for planned replacements and the other for dailies. Even if patients only choose one, they love having the choice.
    I also did a lot of special orders, and ask the patient to bring a friend along as a second opinion to help them choose the perfect frame. Time after time that friend became our patient.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ~Benjamin Franklin

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    Three words: Blood, Sweat, Tears
    Good Luck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Referral cards. For every referral card that comes back with a patient's name on it that patient recives a 25.00 gift certificate and the bearer of the card receives 20% off their purchase. When a patient picks up their new glasses they get a gift bag in which I put their case, a cleaning cloth, a pen, letter opener or magnet with our name on it and four referral cards.

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    Take every insurance known to man. Your business and profits will increase dramatically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by regional_manager View Post
    Take every insurance known to man. Your business and profits will increase dramatically.
    Oops...minor typo there RM - you meant to say: "Your business and workload will increase dramatically." I'm sure... Profits will enter a dismal downward spiral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cocoisland58 View Post
    Referral cards. For every referral card that comes back with a patient's name on it that patient recives a 25.00 gift certificate and the bearer of the card receives 20% off their purchase. When a patient picks up their new glasses they get a gift bag in which I put their case, a cleaning cloth, a pen, letter opener or magnet with our name on it and four referral cards.
    Its a very good idea, but there can be some remote chance of HIPAA issues with referal cards if they are not done very carefully. I would consult with an attorney before you go this route so it can be safely structured. It can be done, and it can be successful, but it requires some planning.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ~Benjamin Franklin

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    Redhot Jumper Just wondering.........................

    Quote Originally Posted by optical-rep View Post

    I am looking for any tips you all may have on how to go about filling up our exam room. We have been open about a year and have a great part-time doctor that we would like to see busier. We are getting good traffic flow coming in for our great selection of specs but want to put more effort into building a solid patient base behind it. Also, I am wondering what unique marketing campaigns or promotions you guys may have used to increase business. Thanks!

    ..............just wondering that you as a frame manufacturer operates a retail store ????????????????????????????
    Chris Ryser
    ________________________________________
    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter SeaU2020's Avatar
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    Having staff personally calling pts who haven't been in within 2 years. It's amazing what a friendly reminder can do! And when they make appts. be sure to ask if anyone else in the household would like to join them. Increased business tremendously!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post
    Oops...minor typo there RM - you meant to say: "Your business and workload will increase dramatically." I'm sure... Profits will enter a dismal downward spiral.
    You will have to work hard, but I don't see anything wrong with that. And if you know what you're doing as a business then your profits WILL increase period.

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    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regional_manager View Post
    You will have to work hard, but I don't see anything wrong with that. And if you know what you're doing as a business then your profits WILL increase period.
    Working "hard" for managed care pt's will not get you a penny more from the company. In fact, be prepared to simply hand over 60-90% of your potential margins direct to the insurance bank account. Because you will n-e-v-e-r see it.

    If you know what you're doing as a business, then you wouldn't want nor indeed need any sort of managed care. And THAT, is good business sense!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpstick777 View Post
    Its a very good idea, but there can be some remote chance of HIPAA issues with referal cards if they are not done very carefully. I would consult with an attorney before you go this route so it can be safely structured. It can be done, and it can be successful, but it requires some planning.
    The referring patient is the one who adds their own name to the back of the card and gives it to a friend so I doubt HIPAA would get involved. Plus we had "borrowed" this idea from a large corporation whom I assume covered the bases legally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RIMLESS View Post
    Three words: Blood, Sweat, Tears
    Good Luck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    True dat! If I may build upon your advice, (I have a great affinity for flow charts)


    -->Blood, Sweat, Tears ----->
    ^...................................... |
    | .......................................|
    |<---------------------------V

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    Nice Touch

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    Quote Originally Posted by regional_manager View Post
    Take every insurance known to man. Your business and profits will increase dramatically.
    He asked about patients not deadbeat bodies that occupy office space and little more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uilleann View Post
    Working "hard" for managed care pt's will not get you a penny more from the company. In fact, be prepared to simply hand over 60-90% of your potential margins direct to the insurance bank account. Because you will n-e-v-e-r see it.

    If you know what you're doing as a business, then you wouldn't want nor indeed need any sort of managed care. And THAT, is good business sense!
    Working smart will yield you a very profitable managed care business. If you really think managed care practices aren't profitable, then you are sheltered.

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    Smart and managed care don't really go together well in the same sentence......

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    Quote Originally Posted by David_Garza View Post
    He asked about patients not deadbeat bodies that occupy office space and little more.
    Quote Originally Posted by David_Garza View Post
    Smart and managed care don't really go together well in the same sentence......
    Given your view and likely experience, thanks for leaving those deadbeat bodies for others those of us that know how to make money and run a very lucrative business with managed care. I'm curious, what city are you located in?

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    The Man, The Myth, The Legend OptiBoard Gold Supporter Fezz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_Garza View Post
    Smart and managed care don't really go together well in the same sentence......
    I disagree.

    In my practice, managed care is here to stay.

    I am trying to get smart, and I think that you have to, about managing managed care. My goal is to educate myself as to how we as a practice can become more efficient, bill appropriately, present eyewear solutions, and prosper in the managed care environment that I know is not going away. I have to get smart about managed care to succeed!

    So, yeah.....smart and managed care do go very well together in a sentence as far as I am concerned!

    YMMV!!

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    To all you managed care guru's out there: What do you think are some commonly overlooked areas that ECP can incorporate to make themselves more efficient and profitable?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinEyewear View Post
    To all you managed care guru's out there: What do you think are some commonly overlooked areas that ECP can incorporate to make themselves more efficient and profitable?
    Show every patient what managed care really does. Show them how they lie, cheat and virtually steal the pt's money out from under their noses. We have a simple illustration we sometimes use to show the difference in what the insurance loves to mislead patients into thinking they're getting, vs reality of what their vision needs truly are:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Managed-Care-Comparison.jpg 
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    Worth 1,000 words.

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    You could try being nice and not overcharging. Doesn't help to provide a lot of services free (that some of us think we should charge for) like nose pads and adjustments.

    Chip

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fezz View Post
    I disagree.

    In my practice, managed care is here to stay.

    I am trying to get smart, and I think that you have to, about managing managed care. My goal is to educate myself as to how we as a practice can become more efficient, bill appropriately, present eyewear solutions, and prosper in the managed care environment that I know is not going away. I have to get smart about managed care to succeed!

    So, yeah.....smart and managed care do go very well together in a sentence as far as I am concerned!

    YMMV!!
    To each their own I say, but I prefer to work smarter not harder.

    Building up managed care volume for ultra thin profits can work, but the headaches and increased staffing required (not to mention the entitlement attitude these types of patients bring) aren't worth the headaches in my opinion. These practices do exist, but I'd hate to associate myself with this type of business model.

  25. #25
    OptiWizard OptiBoard Silver Supporter anthonyf1509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinEyewear View Post
    To all you managed care guru's out there: What do you think are some commonly overlooked areas that ECP can incorporate to make themselves more efficient and profitable?
    All EyeMed funded plans allow patients buying contacts to also utilize their frame allowance. Sell them sunglasses and Rx lenses.

    Davis Vision (sucks) but PM me if you'd like to know how to really do well with it.

    VSP we only take out-of-network, so that works fine.

    Etc etc....

    Either our area is full of people who use insurance as down payment and get all the options they need or were doing something right to make them see it this way. (hint: it's this one)

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