If you are a primary care physician, you can increase the profits of your medical practice by diversifying your services. Customers appreciate the convenience of “one-stop medical shopping,” which allows them to get more services under just one roof rather than traveling across town to different specialists. Studies have also shown that, in many cases, patients would rather see a trusted family doctor than an unfamiliar specialist because they have a rapport with their primary care doctor, and he or she already knows their medical history.
You can diversify your services in a number of ways. For example, you may be able to buy a new piece of equipment to perform medical tests, or you can offer patients greater access to your nurses or physicians with a direct line for an added fee.
What you decide to offer patients will depend on your location and the demographics of your patient base. What works for one physician won’t necessarily work for another, so it’s important to know your audience and add new services accordingly. To find out more about which services match best with your patients’ needs and interests, consider generating an email survey.
As you ponder which ancillary services to add to your practice, consider these options:
Cosmetic laser services. Options include hair removal, varicose vein treatment, and laser treatment for acne, wrinkles, and skin hyperpigmentation. The startup equipment costs can be daunting, but many physicians who have implemented these services said that the equipment pays for itself quickly. Often, the company that sells the equipment provides free or low-cost training for you and your staff. Cosmetic laser services are in high demand in many parts of the country, and if you don’t offer them, your patients may go elsewhere and seek treatment that is not medically supervised. Having a physician offer these serves is a big draw for patients who want to know that they are receiving the highest quality of care.
Allergy testing and treatment. It used to be that allergy treatment was strictly the domain of allergists, but many primary care physicians are prescribing sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) to patients. SLIT is less time-intensive for both patients and doctors than allergy shots are, and it involves less risk. The drops work much like allergy shots do, desensitizing the body to allergens in the environment. The drops can be administered at home, though, thanks to their safety profile. They are also safer for young children than shots. If testing seems like a hurdle, companies now offer turnkey allergy test programs. All you have to do is order an allergy test kit for physicians. The company can train a technician in your office to administer the test and interpret the results. PCPs can then prescribe sublingual immunotherapy as appropriate through a compounding pharmacy. With allergies affecting at least one out of every five Americans, demand for this service is high nationwide.
Blood draw. If you have a large practice and are constantly referring patients out for blood draws, consider offering this service in-house. Depending on the volume that you do, some labs may be willing to send you a phlebotomist and pay their salary for you. It’s a great selling point for your practice, as patients will love the convenience of not having to visit a lab and wait a long time for test results.
Physical therapy. Joint problems, osteoporosis, and athletic injuries are common, and many of these patients need a referral to physical therapy. Consider bringing a physical therapist on staff. You don’t have to hire someone full time; having someone in your office a few days a week is a good starting place. An additional option would be to bring in a neuromuscular massage therapist to offer deep tissue massage for back and neck pain.
Whether you are a family doctor, pediatrician, or naturopath, there are many opportunities for expanding your offerings. Your patients will thank you, and so will your bottom line.