Nexsys Consulting https://nexsysconsulting.com Functional Medicine & DPC Practice Management Tue, 15 Oct 2019 23:49:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 3 Important Systems Every Integrative Doctor Needs in their Practice https://nexsysconsulting.com/3-important-systems-every-integrative-doctor-needs-in-their-practice/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=3-important-systems-every-integrative-doctor-needs-in-their-practice Wed, 30 Oct 2019 06:00:12 +0000 https://nexsysconsulting.com/?p=995 Very often when a doctor becomes an Integrative practitioner, they are focused on the clinical aspects of their role. They want to do the very best job to care for patients and give them the optimal treatment.

However, a key piece of the puzzle has little to do with the treatment diagnosis and more to do with the patient, and how they are handled before, during and after the visit with the doctor.

Here are three key systems that can help you have smoother and more successful new patient visits in your clinic.

Patient Intake

One of the biggest differences between the integrative model and conventional medicine is the time and attention taken in the beginning. Many Integrative doctors forget that patients are not as familiar with the process and will need a little hand-holding in the beginning.

Intake can include a conversation over the phone with an assistant or the doctor themselves before the visit. It is also likely to include the completion of health history. It is important to explain to each patient the value of these sources of information and to thank them for taking the time to complete the forms.

If there is the ability to send patients information whether by video or by written format before the appointment this can help to shape their expectations. A video from the doctor explaining the process can help to build trust with the patient even before they meet them.

Patient Education

Once a patient has met with the doctor and undergone an initial diagnosis, the next phase is to help the patient to understand how treatment will help them. Very often the resistance that patients have to alternative or holistic types of treatment is due to the fact they don’t understand it.

Patient education can come in many forms, but having a clear system in place is key to the success. Have a collection of resources, whether printed or online at the ready to share with patients. If you write a regular blog, you can forward the links to the most helpful articles. You can also record videos explaining the process, or ask former patients to share their experience and results.

Do not underestimate the value of good quality patient education. With the world going online to google their medical concerns, it’s key to be a provider of information that informs and makes patients feel comfortable.

Patient Follow Up

Just as it matters how you handle the intake process delicately, you must also be prepared for a smooth follow up process. Patients will need time to digest the information about their health. Remember a lot of decisions about health are very emotional, so you must give them the time and space to process everything.

Some patients may make a decision on the day, while others may take a week or more. For some patients they may not make a decision at all, and may defer treatment until the next time they are in pain.

Your records for patients and where they are in the treatment journey can help a lot. Make a time each week with your team to review current patients who are not yet decided on their treatment, and schedule calls where possible to help them make the right decision for them.

These three systems will do a lot to smooth out the patient care process. At every step, the better you can create a turnkey approach, the less stress both you, your team, and your patients will feel.

Looking to grow your Integrative or Functional Medicine Practice? Nexsys is a specialist consulting service with over 25 years experience in business and technical support for the Healthcare industry and focus entirely on the Integrative Model for Medical Practitioners. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our team to see how we can help you.

]]>
What are the Biggest Challenges of Running an Integrative Medicine Clinic? https://nexsysconsulting.com/what-are-the-biggest-challenges-of-running-an-integrative-medicine-clinic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-are-the-biggest-challenges-of-running-an-integrative-medicine-clinic Wed, 09 Oct 2019 23:32:52 +0000 https://nexsysconsulting.com/?p=982 Integrative medicine works on the philosophy that human beings possess emotional, mental and physical components that are essential in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and the cultivation of wellness.

Integrative medicine, also known as holistic or naturopathic medicine, is focused on the whole person rather than just the disease.

Of course, this philosophy is much more broadminded than conventional medicine, which focuses on diagnosing disease and prescribing prescription drugs or surgery.

This shift in approach is a key challenge that Integrative medicine is facing. Over the next decade the conventional model will continue to be challenged.

Why Do ‘Conventional’ Doctors Dislike Integrative Medicine?

One of the first barriers that integrative practitioners may face is the concept that alternative medicine is to be distrusted or isn’t proven.

Fortunately, many patients and the medical world are starting to acknowledge that there is value in a more holistic approach to health. It’s not about using only pharmacological treatment, or only naturopathic therapies. Both approaches must be combined and integrated (hence the name) to optimize care.

Here are three challenges that the holistic medical approach faces in the current market.

1) Awareness

Approximately 35 to 50% of individuals do not use complementary health practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, and natural products simply because they were unaware the were an option.

This is where an opportunity exists for Integrative doctors to educate patients about these options. Thanks to online information supplied by health bloggers, and the increasing numbers of clinical studies, a lot of the information is being shared more freely.

2) Affordability

There is a perception in the market that integrative medicine is only for the wealthy, or those people with premium healthcare. While it’s true that some services that integrative doctors offer can be expensive, a great deal of treatments are now covered by health insurance or even in some cases medicare.

The other challenge with the cost of holistic care is that very often people will not budget for it, or plan to spend money outside the realms of conventional medicine. As health consciousness grows, perhaps this trend will change, and people will budget more health and wellness similar to entertainment and leisure.

 

3) Recognition

To date, the volume of studies that have been undertaken for pharmaceutical drugs far outweigh the research for holistic treatments.

According to a study into Integrative Medicine in America:

“A growing body of evidence suggests that integrative medicine can successfully address – and to some extent, alleviate – many troubling aspects of our current healthcare crisis by helping to provide effective, safe, and cost-effective treatments as well as preventing future disease and fostering overall wellness. Moreover, integrative medicine holds special promise for reducing the burden of chronic illness on individuals and their families, and on the healthcare system”.

These kinds of findings from respected clinical studies will help to increase the recognition of Integrative and Holistic Wellness doctors throughout the industry.

In short, the future is bright ahead for Integrative doctors and the patients that they service. As the rest of the world becomes more aware, and begins to value the integrative model, the adoption will only increase.

Looking to grow your Integrative or Functional Medicine Practice? Nexsys is a specialist consulting service with over 25 years experience in business and technical support for the Healthcare industry and focus entirely on the Integrative Model for Medical Practitioners. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our team to see how we can help you.

]]>
Doctors are Switching to an Integrative Functional Medicine Approach https://nexsysconsulting.com/doctors-are-switching-to-an-integrative-functional-medicine-approach/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=doctors-are-switching-to-an-integrative-functional-medicine-approach Sun, 08 Sep 2019 17:32:05 +0000 https://nexsysconsulting.com/?p=931 There is a movement happening amongst doctors during the past 10 years.

Tired of conventional approaches to medical treatment, to overdiagnosing of medications and to the medical system as a whole, they are looking for alternatives.

And for many of them, the Integrative Functional Medicine approach is what is most appealing.

Integrative medicine is a holistic approach to the body, and all the elements that make up a person’s wellbeing. These elements can include sleep, diet, stress, hormones, genetics, exercise, digestion and a whole host of other factors.

Rather than just diagnose and medicate, these doctors are focused on what can be done outside the medical arena to impact the wellbeing of the person.

The Appeal of an Integrative Approach to Medicine

A 2017 study into the Integrative Medicine Market which 1,133 integrative MDs and DOs from 49 states, identified five reasons why doctors are switching their practice approach:

  • Treating the patient as a whole being
  • Treating root causes versus symptoms
  • Focusing on optimal health instead of disease management
  • A more personalized approach focused on the physician-patient relationship
  • Accounting for patient lifestyle and environment


Key Differences in the Integrative Approach for Doctors

As well as the appeal of treating patients in a more holistic way, there is an appeal from the business owners perspective as well.

Some of the key reasons that doctors enjoy the Integrative approach are:

  • Income and Quality of Life: 67 percent of the doctors surveyed reported that quality of life was better or since beginning to practice integrative medicine. 19 percent reported that their income has increased since transitioning.
  • Length of appointment: On average, integrative doctors spend at least twice as much time with their patients as conventional doctors. This reduces time pressure and the sense of stress it creates.
  • Post Medical School Education: Despite conventional medical schools not offering Integrative training, over 55 percent) of integrative doctors adopted an integrative philosophy post-schooling.
  • Use of Dietary supplements: 84 percent of Integrative physicians utilize nutritional protocols to support their patients’ health. This can act as a profit center for some Integrative clinics when added effectively.


The Changing Culture and the Adoption of Alternative Medicine

Seventy percent of Americans believe in the positive effects of complementary and alternative medicine.

Traditionally, the majority of physicians did not discuss alternative therapies with their patients, but this is slowly changing.

Studies have found that most traditional physicians now have a more positive attitude toward complementary and alternative medicine. In fact, a majority of obstetricians and gynecologists offer their patients at least one alternative medicine modality during treatment.

Many doctors feel that the insurance-based medical approach often doesn’t allow them enough time to properly diagnose and treat the true causes of disease.

For this reason, both the doctors and the patients they treat the Integrative model has a strong appeal. As it grows in popularity, the hope is that Integrative Medicine will become the norm and simply become known as practicing medicine.

If you are interested in growing an Integrative Medicine Practice, then Nexsys is here to support you. We have over 25 years experience in business and technical support for the Healthcare industry and focus entirely on the Integrative Model for Medical Practitioners.

 

]]>
The Differences between Conventional, Alternative, Complementary, Integrative and Functional Medicine https://nexsysconsulting.com/the-differences-between-conventional-alternative-complementary-integrative-and-functional-medicine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-differences-between-conventional-alternative-complementary-integrative-and-functional-medicine Wed, 14 Aug 2019 17:36:27 +0000 https://nexsysconsulting.com/?p=934 As the public becomes more aware of the new approaches to medicine, there is some confusion about the different labels it is known by.

In this article I’d like to breakdown the four approaches that lead to the approach known as Integrative Medicine.

1) Conventional Medicine

Conventional or mainstream medicine is what comes to mind when you think of standard health care.

The primary goal of conventional care is to cure patients by eliminating physical symptoms of illness and injuries. This is usually done through the use of pharmaceutical drugs.

For example, if you have an infection you get an antibiotic; if you have high blood pressure you get an antihypertensive.

Conventional medicine tends to be a much more reactive which can be very costly in the long run. In this model, there is high pressure on doctors to see as many patients in as little time as possible, making it difficult to create a good doctor-patient relationship.

2) Alternative Medicine

The alternative approach includes nontraditional treatments such as Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, acupuncture, yoga, herbal remedies, hypnotherapy, massage, or chiropractic therapy.

Although not generally recognized as effective by conventional physicians, the appeal with the general public is growing.

3) Complementary Medicine

The terms ‘alternative’ and ‘complementary’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re actually different concepts. When patients use non-mainstream (i.e. alternative) treatments in conjunction with conventional medicine, it’s sometimes referred to as complementary medicine.

The challenge with this approach is that some complementary practices have been studied and tested. However, most haven’t undergone well-designed trials. For this reason, there are still many questions about these practices.

4) Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is a unique approach to care. Rather than treating only the illness or disease symptoms, the focus is on the patient and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health.

It employs a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances.

The defining principles of integrative medicine are:

  • The patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
  • All factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration
  • Providers use all healing sciences to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
  • Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive are used whenever possible.
  • The care is personalized to best address the individual’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances.


5) Functional Medicine

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership.

It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of chronic disease management.

On key element of Functional Medicine is that it uses sophisticated testing and health history taking to get at the root cause of disease and dysfunction.

The What Versus The Why

You might think of Conventional medicine as the medicine of ‘WHAT’: what disease, what pill is needed.

Whereas Integrative and Functional medicine is the medicine of ‘WHY’: why is this symptom occurring now in this patient, in this way and what are its origins?

Functional medicine and integrative medicine are on the same page when it comes to breaking down the many segments of conventional, specialized medicine. The view is that the whole body matters, the patient experience matters, and the doctor-patient connection matters.

Looking to grow your Integrative or Functional Medicine Practice? Nexsys is a specialist consulting service with over 25 years experience in business and technical support for the Healthcare industry and focus entirely on the Integrative Model for Medical Practitioners. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our team to see how we can help you.

]]>
How Much Extra Income can an Integrative Doctor Produce? https://nexsysconsulting.com/how-much-extra-income-can-an-integrative-doctor-produce/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-much-extra-income-can-an-integrative-doctor-produce Tue, 09 Jul 2019 17:24:54 +0000 https://nexsysconsulting.com/?p=927 While most doctors who make the move to Integrative healthcare to focus on more holistic care, and to better align with their personal philosophy, there is the question of whether the clinic can be profitable.

Is there a Market for Integrative Doctors?

According to a report from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) since 2007, Americans have increased their use of fish oil, probiotics, and melatonin, among hundreds of supplements. This rising health consciousness points to a need for more holistic doctors who look at health and wellness rather than simply curing diseases.

Nearly 20 million adults in America have had chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, and nearly 18 million adults practiced meditation. These treatments along with the adoption of other alternative therapies all show the increasing care people want to take for their health.

The Rise of Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine careers have skyrocketed in the last decade and continue to remain popular among patients. Many patients feel uncomfortable with simply trusting in the guidance of Western or Traditional medicine.

In fact, American patients have increased their spending on alternative medicine products by 26 percent since the year 2000. This trend will continue to grow as awareness increases and generations shift.

What is the Average Salary for Integrative Doctors?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) health diagnosing and treating practitioners earn a median annual salary of $74,000 annually. Of course, this is the based rate and does not account for additional revenue available to clinic owners.

According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), naturopathic doctors (NDs) working in large practices earn between $80,000 and $90,000 per year.

Keep in mind that actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. Plus, as you gain more years of experience, you’ll be able to demand a higher salary.

Through offering supplements, IV Therapy and many other types of wellness solutions, the average Integrative clinic can become a viable and profitable business for all involved.

If you’re planning to run your own practice, it is wise to spend time networking and marketing yourself in the community where your practice is located.

Naturopathic doctors who have worked at building a reputable practice have been known to earn upwards of $200,000 per year.


Is the Integrative Market Competitive?

According to the AANMC, the amount of Naturopathic Doctors practicing in the U.S. has tripled over the last decade. While there are approximately 3,500 NDs working, there is also a growing interest from patients, therefore competition will depend on factors unique to your situation and location.

If you plan to run a private practice, it’s important to consider the area where you’ll be located. Look at how many alternative medicine practitioners in the community or will you be providing a solution to a demand? Networking and marketing yourself is one of the best ways to get your name out there and build your base of clients.

If you are thinking of moving your practice into an integrative health model, chances are you are wondering how much you can earn. Thanks to our years of experience in the holistic medicine field, we can assure you that the opportunities are available and ready to take for doctors practicing Integrative medicine.

Looking to grow your Integrative or Functional Medicine Practice? Nexsys is a specialist consulting service with over 25 years experience in business and technical support for the Healthcare industry and focus entirely on the Integrative Model for Medical Practitioners. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our team to see how we can help you.

]]>
How to Price your Direct Care Practice: Tips from Experts https://nexsysconsulting.com/how-to-price-your-direct-care-practice-tips-from-experts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-price-your-direct-care-practice-tips-from-experts Tue, 14 May 2019 16:33:21 +0000 https://nexsysconsulting.com/?p=583 by Zak Holdsworth

March 9, 2015

Set Yourself Up for Success

When setting up a new Direct Care practice, one of the most important decisions you have to make is how much to charge for your membership fee. If you charge too much, patients in your area may balk at the price, but if you charge too little, you won’t be able to keep the lights on.

Despite it being one of the most important decisions you need to make to get started, there isn’t a lot of information available out there to help you decide. To help you navigate the process of finding your pricing sweet spot, we spoke with a handful of provider experts from across the country to find out what went into pricing their practice.
The Numbers

Research by Concierge Medicine Today shows that the 61 percent of Direct Care practices, which includes Concierge Medicine and Direct Primary Care practices, across the US charge patients less than $135. And, of those same practices, more than 40 percent charge less than $100 per month.

While Concierge practices can have a much larger spread, with prices anywhere from $300 per month to over $5,000 as the base price, the providers who we spoke with for this post charge anywhere from $30 for an individual to $150 for a family. The average membership fee for a 40-year old individual is a little less than $60 per month.
Starting Out

Know Your Location and Your Local Demographic 

Lauren Griffin, Practice Manager of Radley Griffin MD, says that pricing a practice “starts with where you’re located.” As an example, a practice in a more urban environment like Tampa, Florida, where her and husband Dr. Radley Griffin opened their practice 8 years ago, is a much different market than a small town in North Carolina.

Lauren encourages you to take it one step further, going beyond your physical location, to understand your local demographic. According to Mrs. Griffin, providers need to take into consideration the market they will serve to help determine an appropriate and acceptable price point.

This is exactly the type of research that Dr. Thuc Huynh did before setting her prices at Good MD, in Rochester, New York. The local community consists of primarily blue-collar workers with a median income of roughly $30,000, and this helped her to decide on an affordable $30-$60-$90 model. Because she wanted to provide medical care that wasn’t cost prohibitive to people in the service industry and the arts, she decided that anyone under 21 years old would pay $30 per month, those who are 21 to 64 years old would pay $60, and those who are 65 and above would pay $90.

Dr. Rob Lamberts, who opened the doors to his practice, Dr. Rob Lamberts, LLC, in Augusta, Georgia 2-years ago, says he heard $50 a month was a pretty common monthly fee charged by DPC practices. That sounded reasonable until he thought about whether that price was reasonable for someone in their 20’s, eventually deciding that it wasn’t. In thinking about this specific demographic, he settled on $30 for this younger demographic, which works out to $1 per day.
Consider Buying a Marketing Study

Priya Kamani, MD, who does strategic healthcare consulting and has helped dozens of practices set their pricing, recommends buying a marketing study for your particular area. As Lauren Griffin mentioned, the price expectation of a patient in Manhattan may be very different than the expectation of a patient in a small town. Pricing yourself lower than expected in your particular region may even hurt you in terms of patient acquisition.

For a few thousand dollars, you can get a report on things like average household income and buying habits in your area, which can be extremely helpful when determining your pricing or choosing a new location for your practice.
Age vs. Service-Based Pricing

One of the decisions you’ll have to make as a provider is whether to structure your pricing based on the age of the patient or on a certain level of service.

For Dr. Devon Zoller, who co-founded Coho Medical Group in Bellevue, Washington, he didn’t personally like the idea of a tiered-pricing system based on level of service. He felt committed to the idea of treating everyone equally and offering everything to everyone. He didn’t like the idea of treating patients differently because of what price they were paying.

Many doctors feel the same way as Dr. Zoller, and opt to charge different prices based on the age of the patient. The theory behind this pricing model, is that the older the patient, the more likely they are to have chronic health issues which require more routine care.
Decide How Much You Want to Make

Dr. Bruce Jung, is the founder of The Doc Shoppe in Corbin, Kentucky. While the local demographic in Corbin, a rural, indigent community, played a role in determining how much he would charge his patients, it was a simple, straightforward equation that helped him to determine his current pricing model.

First, he looked at how much he wanted to make annually. Next, he added up all his practice expenses, things like salary for his nurse, rent, and other ancillary costs. Once he had added these two things together, he divided this number by the number of patients he could comfortably see (in his case between 600 to 700), and landed on a monthly fee of $50.

By deciding how much you want to make and determining your expenses, you’ll be able to get a good sense of how much you need to charge to make those numbers.
Research Other Practices

Many providers, prior to launching their practice look to other established practices in their local area. For Dr. Jung, he expanded his research to include national models like Atlas MD. Lauren Griffin, echoes how helpful it is for providers to research local practices to get a sense of what the market will bear.

For Dr. Devon Zoller, his research uncovered that some practices choose to price their practice using what he refers to as the a’la carte model. In the a’la carte model, patients pay a lower monthly fee but are required to pay additional fees for office visits and other services.

After thinking long and hard about whether to adopt the a’la carte model, Dr. Zoller decided he wanted to “keep things clean” and go with a $59, $79, and $99 model that included a set of pre-defined set of services like same and next day appointments and after-hours access to him via email and phone.
Keep it Simple

Dr. Lamberts, says the key to determining your pricing is to keep it simple. While it may be tempting to offer discounts for patients who pay up-front for 6 months or a year, he says, you run the risk of complicating the billing and causing yourself administrative headaches.

]]>
Build Your Direct Care Sales Funnel https://nexsysconsulting.com/build-your-direct-care-sales-funnel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=build-your-direct-care-sales-funnel Tue, 14 May 2019 16:31:48 +0000 https://nexsysconsulting.com/?p=580 My name is Dr. Paul Thomas and I’m a Family Medicine doctor in Detroit, Michigan. I own, operate, and am obsessed with my Direct Primary Care practice, called Plum Health! And we deliver affordable, accessible health care services in Detroit, a city with limited primary care resources. We have a mission to provide the best primary care service in Detroit.

I also have a personal mission of helping my Direct Primary Care colleagues build the best DPC practices they can muster. This is a difficult process, building a successful DPC practice, and I want to share some of my best practices so that my colleagues can learn from my mistakes.

In this post, I’m going to write about the importance of building a sales funnel for your practice, i.e. how do you attract patients or members or customers or clients or whatever you want to call them to your business? If you don’t have a plan for how to do this, let this be a wake-up call. Having a sales funnel is a must! And I’m going to show you how to build one.

As a little bit of background, I started Plum Health straight out of residency. I didn’t have a large budget and I don’t have a degree in marketing, but I have gone from 0 patients on November 1st 2016 to 185 patients as of September 20th 2017. We’ve added roughly 20 new members each month and have lost about 3 members each month.

Why You Need a Sales Funnel

How did we grow and how do we continue to grow? We built a sustainable sales funnel, and there are several key aspects to this. But, before we get into what a sales funnel is, you need to know why you need a sales funnel and what you are trying to accomplish by having a sales funnel.

You need a sales funnel to direct people to your service so they can make a purchase. This may be in the form of an online form submission, walking into your office directly, or calling you over the phone.

In order to have an efficient practice, you need to decide how best to convert those interested in your clinic and your services to members of your clinic. At Plum Health, I prefer that folks call me, and once on the phone, I am able to input their information under a new member profile and schedule an appointment.

Specifically, I use my electronic medical record (EMR) to create a new member profile that includes their basic contact info and credit card info. The credit card information is important because it confirms their commitment to the clinic and the concept. They understand that their card will be charged on an ongoing, monthly basis, and for that service charge, they will be able to receive services from the clinic.

I then set up an appointment on Google Calendar and send that meeting/appointment time to their email account of choice. This can also be done via the EMR software, and patients will get a notification email one day prior to their scheduled appointment time. Either or both methods work well.

But, you may be thinking, how do I get people to call our clinic? And why do I prefer phone calls to form submissions and online enrollments?

To begin with, many people have qualms about entering their credit card information online! It is more reassuring for my prospective members to speak directly with the doctor and understand that they are going to be well taken care of. They don’t have to worry about a security breach if they are giving their information directly to their future physician.

Second, the enrollment form for my EMR electronic medical record is roughly 20 pages long. Consider the following: for every page that someone has to fill out, you will lose 50% of your potential customers. At 1 page, you’ll retain 50% of folks who start, 25% for 2 pages, 12.5% for 3 pages, 6.25% for 4 pages, 3.125% for 5 pages, etc… Therefore, the people who complete your online signup form are both extremely dedicated to your brand or your service offering and technically savvy.

To compensate for this attrition, my website easily captures email addresses and comments. I have an email capture form on each page of my website, and I entice submissions by offering an e-book about direct primary care. I also have a one-page form that people can fill out if they have a simple question.

That being said, I optimize my webpage for phone calls. Over half of the people who call me will want to schedule an appointment and about 75% of those people who call and come in for their appointment will become members of Plum Health.

How do I optimize my webpage for phone calls? My office phone number, which dials my cell phone via Google Voice, is all over my website. It’s on my front page, it’s on the contact us page, and it’s on the enrollment page. And the phone number is hyperlinked, so if you’re browsing our website on your cell phone, you can click on the phone number and it will dial directly from the webpage. The potential patient does not have to enter the digits into their phone app. At Plum Health, we try to keep things automated, simple, and easy to use.

The Logistics of Building A Sales Funnel

So, you want to drive prospective customers to your website? The best way to do this is to create compelling and engaging content. This may be a story about your clinic, your mission, vision, and values, an event that you’ve participated in recently, why you picked the brand name for your clinic, etc.

There are hundreds of topics that you can write about that are interesting, that your neighbors and potential customers will want to read about. Here’s a softball: why did you leave an employed position with a guaranteed paycheck to become a direct primary care doctor? Bonus points: talk about what you’re afraid of, show your vulnerability, and allow people to get to know who you are as a person and what motivates you.

I’ll go first: I’m scared as hell that my Direct Primary Care practice won’t work out. But, I have already made people’s lives in my community measurably better, and to fail now would not be a complete failure. But, I digress.

Writing great content, having great images, and shooting videos to accompany this content will drive people to your website. The best way to display this content is on your blog. Engage people on your blog by talking about the above-mentioned subjects as well as topical issues in health care.

Then, share this content across your social media sites – post it to your Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn feed, Google Plus, and/or Google for Business. It will take you about an hour to write good content, but after that hour, it will only take you 15 minutes to share it across your social media platforms. If you don’t have these platforms, you should consider setting up only as many accounts as you can reasonably manage. I stick to the above accounts, but if you feel strongly about Instagram or SnapChat or others, venture forth!

Here’s a basic description of that sales funnel:

You can monitor the effectiveness of your sales funnel by keeping tabs on your web traffic. After I distribute my blog post across these social media platforms, I watch my SquareSpace account under the “Analytics” tab, seen here:

To give some context to the above image, I pushed out a blog post about the Tour de Troit on Sunday evening. Tuesday morning, I pushed out another blog post about an award I keep on my shelf. Thursday night, I pushed out a third post about an event that I took part in called Detroit Homecoming. These help to drive traffic to the website, and I noticed an up-tick in my phone calls, emails, and new patient sign-ups during this week.

And that’s the point! You can add more members to your practice by publishing thoughtful content on a regular basis.

If you want to take this to the next level, there are a few key practices that you can implement. First, you can analyze where the web traffic is coming from. For me, I get the most traffic from my Facebook account. How do I know? I keep track of it on my SquareSpace account:

Once you know which social media platform is your best traffic source, you can create targeted advertising on that platform. In Facebook, that looks like a ‘boosted post’. I wrote another blog post about that, and you can find it here.

In the more advanced method of getting folks to sign up, you can create a splash page, and then create content or advertisements to direct folks to your splash page. They will then input their email address or phone number, and you can use that information to reach them and invite them to enroll in your service. This is probably worth exploring further in a future blog post, but I wanted to at least introduce the concept.

Action Steps

Here’s what you can do today to build your sales funnel.

  1. Have a sales goal in mind: More phone calls? More online enrollments? More walk-ins?
  2. Optimize your website for the above sales goal.
  3. Set up a blog on your website if you don’t already have one.
  4. Start writing engaging, thoughtful content on your blog.
  5. Include pictures and/or videos to enrich your content.
  6. Share these blog posts across your social media platforms.
  7. Monitor your web traffic based on the above, and adjust accordingly.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if these strategies are not working for you, and your membership growth is stagnant, you need to come up with a new strategy. It may be different for each doctor depending on the size of their network, number of social media contacts, city or region.

]]>