A Guide to Goal Setting for Your Medical Practice in 2024

8 Medical Practice Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season

The end of the year is fast approaching & for many South Africans, that means taking a much-needed break. It’s not uncommon to experience a fluctuation in patient appointments & revenue over the festive season. Patients go on holiday, perhaps aren’t sick as often, or are stalling appointments until their medical aid benefits are renewed at the start of the new year. It’s not all doom & gloom though. With some strategic planning & a proactive approach, you can ensure a steady income over the holidays. 

In this blog, we’ll share some practical steps & tactics that you can use to prepare for the festive season & ensure a steady income for your practice.  

  1. Extend operating hours 

Schedules & routines often change during the holiday season. Consider offering extended operating hours. Or offer more flexibility in appointment scheduling to accommodate scheduled patients or walk-ins. Remember to communicate the changes in operating times to patients via BulkSMS as well as on your website & social media pages. New & old patients will appreciate your commitment & flexibility to their changing needs.

  1. Promote preventive care & check-ups

The end of the year is typically a busy time for everyone. End-of-year parties of every kind, schools breaking up, and businesses closing for the holidays can leave everybody exhausted. Encourage your patients to prioritise their health before & during the holiday rush. Use easy reminders to emphasise the importance of preventive care & regular check-ups. Not only is this good for your patients but it also helps maintain a consistent flow of appointments & revenue for your practice.

  1. Plan for staff availability

Staff also tend to take time off during the festive season. Be sure to have sufficient staff over the holidays & that they’ve been cross-trained to handle various responsibilities. This will help ensure that patient appointments & billing, for example, continue to run smoothly even with reduced staff.

  1. Implement efficient billing & Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)

If you haven’t yet reviewed & begun streamlining your billing & revenue cycle processes, now is the time to do it. Addressing the gaps & bottlenecks in your RCM can reduce billing errors & minimise delays in payment. Investigate the benefits of integrated billing & practice management software or outsourcing to billing services to ensure accurate coding, timely claim submissions, & efficient follow-up on outstanding payments.

  1. Be proactive in communication with patients

We touched on it briefly above but it’s incredibly important to keep your patients informed about your practice’s holiday schedule, any changes in operating hours, & the availability of on-call services. BulkSMS is a great tool to use but you should include various communication channels including email, newsletters, social media, your practice website & web listings, such as Recomed. You can also get your staff to print any changes & put them up in the waiting room for everyone to see. Your goal is to ensure that everyone is well informed, & your practice is front of mind should they or their friends or family need an appointment during the festive season. 

  1. Promote virtual services

Patients might be reluctant to keep appointments due to more traffic & busier roads in general. Virtual visits can be a convenient option for patients booked for follow-up consultations or non-emergency cases. By offering easy-to-use virtual consultations you maintain continuity of care during the holiday season in a way patients appreciate.

  1. Offer seasonal promotions or packages

You could consider creating special packages or promotions for services that might be in higher demand during the holiday period. This could include wellness packages, travel health consultations, or preventive health screenings. If done right, it will encourage patient appointments & create a steady income stream for the practice. 

  1. Optimise your marketing strategies

It’s a good time of year to review your marketing efforts, not only for goal setting for the coming year but to ensure that your marketing aligns with holiday trends & patient needs. If you plan to offer a seasonal promotion, it would be a good test of how well your marketing tactics resonate with patients. If you’re not planning on a seasonal promotion, consider running targeted campaigns to promote specific services you offer or highlight the benefits of being proactive about healthcare during the festive season.

By implementing these tips & strategies, your private medical practice can navigate the December/January holiday period with confidence. Simply put, prioritise patient care, streamline operations, & communicate effectively. These three in conjunction will help to create a steady income stream while adapting to the holiday season’s unique challenges. 

Take the opportunity to build patient trust & loyalty that extends well beyond the festive period. Healthbridge is the leading technology & bureau service provider to over 7,000 private practices across South Africa. Contact sales@healthbridge.co.za & a skilled Business Consultant will be in touch with more about how you can set up your practice for success in 2024. 

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