How Do I Compete Against Hospital-Physician-Corp Monopoly Attempts?
It sucks when Goliath doesn’t play fair.
In every industry, there will be bigger players trying to leverage their resources to gain an advantage–this is not new. So it is with our industry. Corporations, hospitals and physicians will try and steer patients to their therapy services, and rightfully so. I acknowledge that there is an argument of ‘conflict of interest’ but that’s not the purpose of this blog post. I want to focus on…
“How does a small private practice compete?’
The small practice CAN compete. There are many already doing it as we speak. The question is HOW are they doing it?
Start with taking the following steps:
1) Embrace the fact you are living in the age of “Consumerism”
Consumers largely control the market these days. Physicians, and corporations, are losing their influence over patients (it’s not like it was 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago). A recent study asked patients where they would go if they wanted more information on a medical condition–information that they’d trust. The options presented were 1) Family/friends, 2) Doctor, 3)Internet, 4) Magazine/books, etc. Over 78% chose the INTERNET. Consumers are becoming more and more informed, educated, empowered, and are making their own decisions today. For example, a doctor might write “3×4 weeks” on a script but patients are not listening. They may come once or twice a week depending on their copay or financial situation. The doctor’s orders are losing power. Another example…doctor tells patient to get “therapy”, but after a couple sessions of EMS/heat/general exercises/US, patient decides to try acupuncture, massage, chiro, yoga, etc. and pays out-of-pocket for it, and loves it. Very common. They are making their own decision these days.
2) Stand out and be exciting!
“Palatable” doesn’t work anymore. You must be known for something…anything. If you haven’t carved out a niche by now such as adolescent sports injuries, women’s health, pediatrics, etcetera, it’s time to start. You probably are NOT standing out in your community.
3) Go after the many channels of new patients.
And there are a lot, too. Medicare, workers’ comp, PPO’s, Auto, Personal injury, HMO (alternate list), Liens, industrial, private contracts, and more. Each has it’s own unique ways of being marketed to. Most are open or require minimal work to contract. Now once you get these patients, build loyalty so you can get their family and friends too!
4) Start selling an “experience” rather than offering mere treatments.
Yes, you are selling whether you like it or not. This is something most practice owners forget. You cannot offer mere treatments anymore, the way it’s always been done. You won’t get away with doing some exercises, heat/ice with ems, ultrasound, and some STM, anymore. You’ve got to be better than that. Create an experience that patients will remember for a lifetime. Then and only then will you get them to be customers for life…along with all their family and friends.
5) Start selling services such as fitness/yoga/weightloss and other electives.*
Offer your community things that the conglomerate isn’t and get them as customers before they do. Create an experience and make them loyal, then channel them into your therapy. Have them submit a “Request to be seen out-of-network” form, have them write letters stating the importance of their freedom and right to choose. If patients/customers are loyal to you, they will take a minute to send these letters. *Make sure to check with your local state board.
6) Stop Sitting and Waiting For Referrals
That strategy of going out “marketing” to physicians every 6-weeks is dead.
The bottom line is we are in the age of consumerism where consumers are exercising their right to choose more than ever. If you can get consumers to praise you and bring in their family and friends, you have nothing to worry about. You will have a strong foundation forever.
“It’s not the biggest, strongest, or most intelligent practices that survive and grow, but the one’s most adaptable to change.” -James Ko, PT
It’s your life. How do you want to live it? We can help. www.IndeFree.com