When you start a clinic, your first major milestone is breaking even. Your break-even point is when your clinic’s total revenue equals total cost, i.e. there is no profit and no loss. After you break even, your clinic will start to turn a profit, as seen in the figure below.
Profit is important not only for your clinic’s survival, but also for its future growth. Speed up break-even and start earning profit earlier in three ways:
Let’s look at how each method could help you speed up your break-even.
The more patients your clinic treats, the more sales it makes. Expand your patient base by bringing in new patients using online appointment booking and welcoming back existing patients with recalls.
Bring in new patients with online appointment booking:
Market your clinic online to attract more patients, then convert this online traffic into actual clinic visits by offering online appointment booking in Plato. Let new patients book their first appointment immediately, direct from your clinic’s website or social media pages. At the same time, generate sales even before the patient sets foot in your clinic. With Plato, patients can prepay for your clinic’s goods or services upfront when booking their appointment online, improving your cash flow and increasing their commitment to their appointment booking.
Bring back existing patients using recalls.
Instead of spending increasing amounts of money finding and acquiring new patients, minimise your marketing spend by retaining existing patients — and grow your loyal patient base. Patients find it hard to adhere to their continued care amidst busy schedules. Help patients stay committed to their care and make them feel valued using automated recalls in Plato. Recalls are reminder messages sent to patients due for a visit or medicine refill, reminding them to book their appointment. Recalls are effective for appointment and medication adherence across different patient types, including those with chronic diseases (Schwebel et al., 2018). Send patients a personalised recall message with your clinic’s appointment booking link inside, so they can book their visit instantly online.
One way to increase your clinic’s earnings is to increase its prices. Some clinics are hesitant to raise prices for fear their patients will choose another clinic with more competitive prices. One strategy you could employ to substantiate your price increase is to pair it with increased patient value.
Justify price hikes with higher patient value.
A study by Pavel et al. (2015) found that patients were willing to pay more if they enjoyed higher satisfaction from their doctor-patient relationship and care outcomes. Notes sharing in Plato not only strengthens your clinic’s relationship with patients, but also improves care adherence and outcomes. Generally, it’s difficult for patients to retain verbal medical information, especially if they are very young, elderly, anxious, or dealing with overwhelming data. Sharing written notes with patients helps them accurately recall visit discussions, understand their health condition, improve their care adherence, and outcomes (Delbanco et al., 2012; Kessels, 2003; Tapuria et al., 2021; Vahdat et al., 2014). What types of notes could you share with patients? Start with summaries of visits, care plans, or direct lab/radiology results. Remember to clearly communicate the rationale for your price increase to patients, so they understand the price adjustment is directly linked to increased patient value.
Variable costs are costs that change with your clinic’s activities. For example, the more patients you treat, the more medical supplies you need. There are two ways to reduce variable costs. First, improve your clinic’s inventory management. Second, make it easy for patients to settle their rejected claims.
Improve inventory management.
When you understand your clinic’s inventory movements — from ordering to dispensing — you can ensure your clinic’s medical supplies are used before they expire to avoid wastage, and negotiate better prices through bulk orders. Plato simplifies inventory management, so your clinic team doesn’t have to spend more time and effort managing inventory with increasing patient volume and sales. Plato’s smart alerts and automatic pricing rules help you minimise dispensing errors and maintain healthy stock levels. Use Plato’s extensive reporting to automatically track profit margins and commissions, so you have the data insights you need to improve business decisions.
Manage rejected claims using PlatoPay.
Is your clinic working with corporate entities, like hospitals, insurers, or third-party payors to bring in more patients? Despite your clinic’s best efforts, claims submitted to a corporate entity could get rejected. The outstanding sum is billed to the patient, who has to settle the rejected claim. Patients find it a hassle to return to clinics to pay. Delayed settlements could lead to bad debt, increasing your clinic’s variable costs. Speed up payment by letting patients settle their rejected claims remotely using “Card not Present” PlatoPay. Hold your patients’ credit cards on file for free, before initiating authorised payments with the click of a button.
Delbanco, T., Walker, J., Bell, S., Darer, J., Elmore, J., Farag, N., Feldman, H., Mejilla, R., Ngo, L., Ralston, J., Ross, S., Trivedi, N., Vodicka, E., & Leveille, S. (2012). Inviting Patients to Read Their Doctors’ Notes: A Quasi-experimental Study and a Look Ahead. Annals of Internal Medicine, 157(7), 461. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-157-7-201210020-00002
Kessels, R. P. C. (2003). Patients’ memory for medical information. JRSM, 96(5), 219–222. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC539473/
Pavel, M. S., Chakrabarty, S., & Gow, J. (2015). Assessing willingness to pay for health care quality improvements. BMC Health Services Research, 15(1). https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-015-0678-6
Schwebel, F., & Larimer, M. (2018). Using text message reminders in health care services: A narrative literature review. Internet Interventions, 13, 82–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2018.06.002
Tapuria, A., Porat, T., Kalra, D., Dsouza, G., Xiaohui, S., & Curcin, V. (2021). Impact of patient access to their electronic health record: systematic review. Informatics for Health and Social Care, 46(2), 194–206. https://doi.org/10.1080/17538157.2021.1879810
Vahdat, S., Hamzehgardeshi, L., Hessam, S., & Hamzehgardeshi, Z. (2014). Patient Involvement in Health Care Decision Making: A Review. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 16(1). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3964421/