Many podiatrists out there—perhaps you’re one of them yourself—wear two distinct hats:
Doctor and business owner.
As you know, this is not always an easy balance.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a turnkey resource for you because preparation for these two roles is wildly different. When you enroll at a top business school like Wharton or Columbia, there isn’t a podiatric medicine major. And unfortunately business marketing and management isn’t a core requirement at podiatry schools, leaving you with a tremendous amount of unanswered questions.
Consequentially, we know there are a lot of smart, talented podiatrists who do what they can on the business front – but strive for more understanding and ways to improve.
If what we are saying is perking your ears or you simply want additional insight into making your podiatry practice as profitable as possible, it’s worth learning about business and marketing goals. By doing so, you can better position your practice for success.
With that being the case, how do you establish practice goals that make sense for your practice?
That’s not really an easy question, unless you have a keen grasp on metrics and knowing which ones are pertinent to track.
At VMD Services, we know how much your practice means to you. It’s your livelihood and means for securing your family’s future. As such, we want you to have as much success as possible. To help, we’ve identified five key metrics you need to use for establishing your goals and tracking their progress:
Total Number of Patients
When it comes to the financial health of your practice, new and returning patients are your bread and butter. So, you should be paying careful attention to how many you’re seeing on a weekly and monthly basis.
Now, here’s something many podiatrists misunderstand about this:
They compare numbers from one month to the next.
Okay, why is that not accurate you may ask?
Well, if you think about it, there are seasonal factors at play that can skew numbers within certain months.
For example, the end of the year is packed full of holidays and everyone is incredibly busy (so foot health doesn’t tend to be “top of mind”). So it would be expected that you might find your December numbers to be lower than any other month. At the same time, insurance cycles could mean that you see more patients as they try to take advantage of insurance benefits before the year ends.
Either way, the best method is to compare December 2019 to December 2018. In doing so, you have more of an “apples to apples” comparison.
(Now you know why we report year-over-year data for performance analysis.)
Number of New Patients
Along with your total number of patients, you also need to be paying attention to how many new patients you are seeing every month.
Now, these patients are obviously included in that total number, so why break it down like this?
Easy. Because this is a better indication of long-term sustainability and growth.
Your existing patients are important. And it’s great when they come back to see you for additional podiatry services. But depending on what they are being treated for they may be a “one and done” type of patient and not need re-occurring or long-term care.
For that reason, new patients are the lifeblood of your practice.
As is the case with your total patient numbers, you need to be strategic with your tracking. Capture your data on a monthly basis but compare only to the same months.
When a patient comes to your office, you provide the valuable podiatric care. In exchange for this service, it would be nice for the patient to pay you right?
The amount you bill during the month is revenue you expect to receive.
Given that your goal is to generate profit from your practice, it’s probably quite easy to understand why this is an essential metric to be factored into your business goals.
The amount your podiatry practice bills is important. Even more important is the amount you take in with your collections.
If billing is “what you expect to receive,” collections are “what you actually receive.” In an ideal world, the two numbers are the same, right? Although this would be in the perfect world, we all live in the real world.
By tracking both metrics, you can analyze any discrepancies between the two. This will allow you to identify potential issues and create a plan to address them. In doing so, you will most definitely improve your practice’s profitability.
Per Visit Revenue (PVR)
Out of these five respective metrics, this is the one that isn’t necessarily affected by seasonal considerations.
As we’ve seen, it’s in your best interest to compare metrics in a year-over-year comparison. For PVR, that’s not necessary.
Here’s something else that’s different:
When you track and analyze per visit revenue, you most certainly should break the numbers down a little more.
With PVR, subcategories are quite important.
While there are reasons you may want to know your practice’s overall PVR, you can get more benefit by applying this metric to a variety of patient groups (heel pain, ingrown toenails, bunions, etc.).
Breaking it down to this granule of a level will allow you to see which patients are the most profitable.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see other kinds of patients—people suffering from less profitable ailments need help too—but you can/should use this information to provide direction for your marketing efforts and align with the types of patients you want to see.
The Role of Marketing in These Metrics
Once you have a solid grasp on these metrics and have used them to develop your practice’s business goals, the next big step is to create marketing goals and initiatives to support them.
Without a sufficient marketing knowledge base, you will have difficulty seeing how efforts like optimizing your SEO and email marketing campaigns can help.
Fortunately, we’re your experts and are always here for you!
Let’s look at some examples:
- Once you’ve pulled and analyzed your PVR metrics, you will know which patients are going to provide you with the highest revenue. In turn, you can use that insight to develop online ad campaigns designed to reach this target market.
- If you want to increase your total number of patients, you would benefit from devoting some time and effort for SEO initiatives – especially by focusing on improving Local Search results.
- Generate useful, valuable content (making sure to factor in searcher intent) to put your practice in position to bring in more new patients.
- Bringing back existing patients can boost billing and collection metrics, so make sure you stay connected to them with strategic email marketing campaigns. For best results, provide as much value as possible within your email campaigns.
Those are only a few examples, but you can probably see this will take a decent amount of time, energy, knowledge (on best current marketing practices), and skill.
If you want to try taking it on yourself, we sincerely wish you the best of luck and hope you’re able to make it work for your practice. You can find educational resources that can help on our site!
Of course, if you’d rather have someone else handle it all for you, our digital marketing agency is staffed with a team of experts who want to help you to succeed.
We’d love to be a part of your success, so think about giving us a call at 833-823-3335 or filling out the form on our website. If you do, please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions or request additional information. We’re happy to help!