Number of New Patients
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27-Feb-2013 02:22 PM
Do you have a rough guess as to the number of new patients you need to see a week/month to sustain your practice? Or asked in another way, back when you were seeing about 40 patients a week, do you remember on average how many new patients were scheduling each week? (and I would love to hear from any other practitioner who has a full practice who is reading this as well!)
I know there are the three key areas for a full practice – getting new patients, keeping current patients through their full treatment plan, and reactivating former patients – but here I’m just wondering about new patients. I’ve been thinking about some “funnel” activities. As an example – giving out 30 free mini-treatment cards – leads to 10 people coming in for the freebie – leads to 4 people signing up for a full treatment – leads to 2 really good long-term patients.
This came up when talking to a friend as a way to remove emotion out of the process of getting new patients in. I love acupuncture and I want everyone to love acupuncture, and that’s just not going to happen. That sometimes people just don’t come in or stay (for a myriad of reasons). But if I look at it as “I need to reach X number of people to make Y number of really good patient connections” it seems easier.
27-Feb-2013 06:13 PM
Yes – new patients, returning patients, and getting current patients to keep working with you to get the most out of the treatments are the three categories of patients that you need to work at getting the most out of to build a sustainable practice. Part of my model is about having modest fees so the existing patients will keep coming to you more often and over longer periods of time. This is especially important for those with chronic conditions that need longer-term care to get the most out of AOM. When that happens, you do not need as many new patients to grow. If you can average 2-3 new patients a week, that will be more than enough to grow over time.
You really need to worry about all three. Out of those three, the current patients are the ones you have the most ability to influence and getting better at getting them to let you treat them more often and for longer periods of time also directly improves the degree of care then end-up enjoying from your services so that is the number one thing you should work on. Getting pervious patient to return to you is something that gets easier over time as your number of “previous” patients grows. But even without a lot of previous patients you can work at getting a better percentage of returning patients by doing the things I advise like educating them about how acupuncture helps the body to heal itself and that is why you can help so many different problems and also sending out notices to keep you in their mind.
Attracting new patients is the hardest to master because it is more out of your control but getting your existing patients to be more active in referring to you is one thing you do have some influence on so that is why I stress that as so important. It seems to me you are doing a lot of things right and just need to refine those and give it more time – survive and then thrive.