Solo practitioner gains 807 new patients in a year with help from practice growth tech
Dr. Angela Willis, a family physician, solo practitioner and practice owner, in Nashville, Tennessee, bought a practice and had been seeing that previous practice’s patient load for about a year. She had been slowly growing the new patient volume, but it was just that — slow going.
“We only have three people on staff,” Willis explained. “I’m the owner, manager and physician. I have a front desk person who also doubles as a medical assistant, and I have a referral clerk. We only had a simple website I created myself and, other than the occasional Facebook paid ad, I did not really have anything to drive new patients to our office in this competitive area.”
Willis did not know how to optimize for Google search results or anything along those lines. The practice was dependent on word of mouth, and that just was not enough to drive in new patients.
Willis discovered PatientPop, a technology and services vendor that specializes in practice growth, online reputation, scheduling, appointment reminders and professional profile audits.
“Two of the major factors were the ability to have a beautiful, well-organized website – which we needed and did not have with my do-it-yourself kit – and search engine optimization,” she explained. “I knew SEO would potentially drive patients to us; without it, we would not be where we are today. With such slow input of new patients to the practice prior to PatientPop, we would still be struggling in terms of patient numbers.”
"Before the new technology, we were only getting about one to two new patients a week. Now we bring in approximately 40-50 new patients per month."
Dr. Angela Willis, solo practitioner
Now, not only are more patients finding the practice, but when they visit the website, they are getting what they are looking for and can easily find out more about the practice or schedule an appointment.
There are various practice growth technology and services vendors on the market today. Some of these vendors include AdvancedMD, DoctorLogic, HubSpot, Kareo and Vanguard Communications.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
Within the first 10 days of using the new technology, the practice began to see an immediate uptick in new patient appointments.
The front desk manager uses the system the most: She tracks the dashboard, responds to online appointment requests, and keeps the calendar up to date so patients can see Willis’ real-time appointment availability.
“As the practice grew with the process, we also saw an immediate jump in online reviews,” Willis recalled. “Not just reviews on my website, but also on Google and health websites. So many patients who booked online took the time to reply to the PatientPop request for feedback with either a quick rating or submitting an actual review of their experience.”
Within the first month, the practice’s website went from page two or three of Google search results to the top three listings on page one. And often it was the first practice that popped up in a search.
“Before the new technology, we were only getting about one to two new patients a week,” Willis said. “Now, about two years into the PatientPop experience, we bring in approximately 40-50 new patients per month. Almost every one of those patients say they found us in a Google search or an insurance company physician search, and then went to our website to check out the practice.”
Those patients added that they really like the website, they read the reviews on the site and on Google, and those factors solidified their decision to call the practice to book a new patient appointment.
In the 12 months ending July 2019, Willis’ practice acquired 807 new patients (average of 15.5 per week), and gained 81 new patient reviews. During that same time, her website converted, on average each month, roughly 11.4% of all visitors into a booked appointment.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
Using this kind of technology has allowed Willis’ practice to grow exponentially, despite being a small office with only a few employees, she said.
“In the two years since we started, we have made this new office profitable,” she reported. “We have been able to invest in equipment purchases, add technology to the office, and grow our patient acquisitions exponentially. All of this is far above average for new family practices in this area, and even on a national scale.”
The SEO functionality and maintenance of the practice’s online reputation are big benefits, but Willis also is able to advertise expanded services she provides related to integrative medicine.
“As my certification in that field progresses, we’re adding it into the practice and doing a lot of supplement-based care, with links to all our personalized online supplement stores listed on our website,” she explained. “Updating or changing that information has been so easy.
“Between adding the SEO and driving new patient acquisition, as well as adding the search functionality for our supplement lines, we have increased our bottom line substantially and helped make this a profitable practice in just a short period of time,” she said.