Everyone knows that Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are mandated under an assortment of Federal laws and Presidential edicts. Other than maintaining patient SOAP documentation and billing records, the better EHR programs include many marketing tools to build your practice and increase your income.
How much income did your computer create for you? Is your computer program capable of doing more than just one function, or is it limited to only billing or only documentation? In today’s world, it is critical for you to have and use a complete EHR computer program that is a multi-tasking, income generating machine.
Included in the marketing tools built into the computer software are letters, email capabilities, follow up reminders for staff and other functions and features that empower you and your staff to efficiently bring in new patients and referrals from attorneys, employers, diagnostic centers, and other doctors. Many of these same tools can be used to promote your practice to your existing and former patients, maintaining a high level of patient compliance with your recommendations.
Marketing the practice to attorneys, employers and other doctors requires that you build a list of each of these categories. Top of the line EHR software may label it differently, so look for lists, catalogues, directories, or registries for each category. Then enter the information in the system. Start with those attorneys, employers and doctors that are already connected to your patients. Next, have a staff member pull more names and addresses from your local phone book.
Once the lists are ready, depending on the software, you may have marketing letters already in your system, you may need to create your own templates, or you may want to revise and add to the letters from the software company. The marketing letters will have insertion fields that pull information directly from the lists, so that each letter is personalized to each attorney, employer or doctor. The final step is to print all the letters to each group and mail them. Doing this on a monthly basis gets the result of more referrals to your practice.
Patients love to be recognized and made to feel special. Sending personalized letters with regularity accomplishes this. Direct patient marketing educates patients as to why each needs to be consistent and follow through with the care you prescribe. Similar to the marketing to attorneys, employers and doctors described above, letter templates are in the EHR program that are specific for patients. These letters educate the patient about chiropractic care and encourage him/her about the benefits of not only therapeutic care but also the value of maintaining treatment after the symptoms are gone. Since each letter is personalized, the direct patient marketing builds rapport and trust with the patient. Letters in template format are easily merged with the patient list using search and sort criteria that you select. The bottom line is that your patient visit average (PVA) goes up, and so does your income and the referrals you get from patients.
Complete EHR systems that generate SOAP notes in dictation quality English and/or produce excellent narrative reports market your practice by building relationships with attorneys and other doctors.
With your patient’s written authorization, send a copy of your SOAP notes or narrative report to the patient’s other doctors. As long as it is easy to read, looks like it came from a professional, and lets the other doctor know what is going on, you will gain the respect of that doctor. As you demonstrate that you are part of the team working to get and keep the patient healthy, the other doctors will realize that they can work with you. Eventually, many will send referrals.
In a similar way, if you produce detailed easy to read narratives, attorneys will appreciate your work. The reason is simple. You are giving them the meat and potatoes that will win the case for the patient, meaning that the attorney makes more money. When you contribute to the attorney’s success, the attorney will frequently help to make you more successful.
Frequently, little things make a big difference. A mini-marketing tool in EHR programs is the ability to place messages on each billing statement or receipt that you send/give to a patient. These little messages can improve collections, increase patient visits, or engage each patient to be politically pro-active for laws that will benefit chiropractic in your state.
Although it is not commonly considered marketing, having an easy mechanism to follow up on missed appointments is recall and reactivation marketing.
Although it is not commonly considered marketing, having an easy mechanism to follow up on missed appointments is recall and reactivation marketing. Thorough EHR software includes missed appointment tracking in an appointment scheduler as part of the system. If a patient misses an appointment, then that patient’s name remains on a missing patient list until the staff either reschedules the patient or purposely removes him/her for some other reason. The staff can set reminder pop up messages for specific times or days on which to call the patient. Another aspect of recall and reactivation marketing is a report for patients without appointments. If a patient canceled without rescheduling and never called again, you have the ability to track down and get that patient back in the office for the needed care. Your staff now has the tools to track down every patient that previously “slipped through the cracks” and not to let go until the patient has been rescheduled. Once again, proper marketing increases your PVA and collections.
Marketing on a consistent basis is the key to success. In order to make your practice the most successful, be sure to use every marketing tool at your disposal. EHR systems provide many marketing tools; be sure that your office software includes and that you are getting the maximum benefit from the marketing tools built into your practice management computer program.
Dr. Paul Bindell is a 1975 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, in active practice in Rockaway, NJ, since 1976. He has lectured on chiropractic in Brazil and Israel. Dr. Bindell is a past Chairman of Public Relations for the Northern (NJ) Counties Chiropractic Society. Dr. Bindell and his family began Life Systems Software so that the profession would have reliable computer programs based on real chiropractic practice. Dr. Bindell and have appeared in several chiropractic journals. Dr. Bindell is available to speak to your group or organization and can be reached by email at [email protected], or you can call Life Systems Software at 1-800-543-3001