Like most doctors, I am all about getting new patients through the door.

When considering factors such as lower insurance reimbursement and the natural attrition that occurs with patients, getting new people into the clinic is essential for the growth of any practice.

It’s really that simple.

Or is it? 

Whether or not spending money to pump new patients into your practice is worth the effort and expense all depends on how much income you generate during the life of that patient in your clinic verses how much it costs you to get them and keep them.

In other words… are your patient visits paying for the overhead associated with them including marketing costs, staff expense, owner income, rent, etc.? Chances are you do make positive net profit per patient visit but just as with any small business the goal is to increase that net profit per client life cycle.

There are 2 ways to make this happen.

–  Increase the amount of services provided to the client
–  Increase the  number of products sold to the client

The unfortunate reality for chiropractors is that we are only able to provide services and sell products to our clients when they are actually in the office.

Therefore, it is by increasing the Patient Visit Average (PVA) that will yield a greater profit per client lifecycle.

Of course this must be done ethically and within the boundaries of what the patient actually requires in care but that is exactly where I’m going with article – Most clinics do not keep patients on their treatment plan and coming into the clinic long enough to provide the amount of products and services that the patient needs to truly achieve a new level of health.

And the side effect of this premature patient attrition is that their client lifecycle income drops because their PVA is low.

Solution: Ensure you and the staff are good at the fundamentals that will boost PVA.

And the 2 of the most important of those fundamentals for achieving a higher PVA are:

1.  Strengthening the doctor protocols with new patients to ensure they are started on the right path towards getting the amount of treatment they need. It must have structure, purpose and direction that shifts a patient away from the allopathic mindset of ‘the pain is a little better so I’ve got more important things to do now.’

2.  Tightening the front office protocols for keeping active patients on the schedule and reactivating past patients so that as patients naturally let life get in the way of getting care, your staff has a method of getting them back on the books quickly.  This MUST be protocol driven or else it naturally becomes haphazard and patients slip through the cracks.

Every day that passes before a M.I.A. patient is put back on the schedule exponentially increases the odds that they will not be rescheduled. This not only results in patients cheating themselves out of getting the full amount of care they need but slowly whittles away at your practice PVA.

Before you spend money on that next marketing event or run that next ad on Google, spend some time tightening up the protocols that will keep patients on a plan of care. Remember, the chiropractic care philosophy is very far removed from most of our patients’ allopathic upbringing and mindset of seeking care when the pain is bad enough and assuming they are healthy again once the pain subsides.

It’s up to us to start patients in the right direction and help them maintain it even as the soreness in the neck or back improves.

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