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How to Increase Patient Visits without Marketing

Written by Lea Chatham

With reimbursement declining it can be hard to justify spending extra money on practice marketing. At the same time, you need to keep those appointment slots full of patient visits to stay competitive.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to increase your patient visits on the cheap, without investing in additional marketing.

Use your patient data to get patients in for needed check-ups and screenings.

If you aren’t really marketing your practice, reaching out to existing patients based on your own data is a good, and essentially free, way to start. If your initial efforts are successful then you can decide if it’s worth it to invest a little more to add some online marketing or direct mail.

Your practice management and electronic health records (EHR) software are full of information that you can use to increase patient volumes and revenue. Dig into your data and run reports to identify the following types of patients:

  • Patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension who are due follow up appointments
  • Patients who may be due for Medicare physicals, well-woman, or well-child checks
  • Anyone who may need immunizations, including childhood vaccinations and annual flu

Once you identify patients you can contact for appointments, be sure you have a process in place to do the recalls via mail, email, text, or phone. Exporting lists for mail merge makes the process much less time-consuming for staff. Also, be sure your appointment calendar is up to snuff and designed to maximize visits.

Don’t forget to reward your staff for the extra effort.

Do remember that by reaching out to patients to make appointments, you’ve created more work for your staff. You may feel that it is their job, but they could balk at an increased workload. Your staff is more likely to work hard to get those patients in the door if you set a clear goal and reward staff for achieving that goal.

For example, if you decide the goal is to increase patient visits in the first quarter by 10%, offer a bonus of some kind if your practice reaches this goal. It could be gift cards or a party—whatever you think your staff would like. You can even do straight cash bonuses based on individual achievements—like the person who schedules to most recall visits in a month. Show your staff that their hard work is appreciated and that increases in patients and practice revenue will benefit everyone.

Emphasize the value of additional visits to your patients, too.

If patients say they don’t see the need for more appointments, have staff remind them that many of these preventive care services and appointments are a crucial part of maintaining good health and catching problems early. Also, many preventive care services are covered by insurance, often without a copay or deductible. It’s is a great way for patients to maintain their health at no cost.

Targeting patients for more checkups, and follow-ups not only increases your patient visits at a low cost, it shows you have your patients’ best interest—and health—in mind.

What methods do you use to increase your patient visits on a tight budget?


Published: March 18, 2015