The ever-changing economy, insurance, state funding, levels of care, employee turnover, politics, and a whole lot more have an impact on what we do and how we do it. It’s what makes this industry so specialized and most confusing. Depending on whether you are non-profit or a for-profit organization, you have different factors influencing your tactics for creating and managing demand. These factors create indirect and direct barriers, but it will never mean you cannot create a system for continuous improvement.
It’s never a bright idea to only depend on, “more face to face meetings, means higher admission rates,” or, “more money spent on advertising means more appointments booked.” I can happily debate those fallacies with anyone any time, but for now, even though there are dozens of strategies on this topic I could write about, I have listed a few key assessment questions I find the most important to assess whether you’re a new or existing organization.
How solid is your program and do you really know your true outcomes?
A solid foundation creates everlasting demand. If you are not tracking outcomes in all of your programs with the proper indicators for a true assessment, you have a large area of improvement you need to work on. Outcomes can seem not fair between providers to publicly disclose or they can be hidden for unfair advantages for those who are trying to climb the corporate ladder. There are many fearful reasons to not make outcomes known or accurate; however, any reason to hide or soften them is putting your organization at a disadvantage. Your main goal to increase demand should be heavily focused on creating and producing effective programs that increase quality of care.
In order to create solid, foundational demand for your program, you need to make sure you have an honest demand by having honest assessments of program outcomes. Often, when I identify gaps in data, it can immediately trash the legitimacy of the rest of the data. Your data needs to be so strong, no one will be able to question gaps and if they do, you will be prepared to discuss the gaps in detail.
If you know your honest outcomes, you will be able to better identify areas for improvement to strengthen your program to increase more positive outcomes, at the same time, discuss whether the program needs to continue and if you need to restructure or cut your losses.
Bad news travels faster than good news. Bad news lessens demand. Good news creates demand. Good programs create good news. You need a solid, high outcome program to create good news to create high demand. Be true to yourself and true to others.
How efficient and happy is your internal team?
Happy staff, happy demand
As many of you know, it takes a team of internal and external employees to create and sustain demand. Even though your outside team may be creating demand, it is the internal team that has the bigger responsibility for solidifying that demand. They are key to adding or subtracting from your present and future demand. One missed phone call, accidental oversight on the wording of a sentence, over looked criteria can tremendously hurt future marketing demand efforts.
It is so easy for the internal team to get in a mind frame of robotics when reviewing files. They can become easily exhausted because of the constant negativity they subconsciously and consciously hear on a daily basis. This can lead to a numbness to where quality and efficiency can be heavily at risk.
Support Your Team
Some key priorities are making sure your internal team is continuously trained with the criteria you accept and making sure they truly believe you are not putting census quotas over quality of care. The, “accept anyone and everyone strategy,” to get appointments will lead to improper care and can be considered a form of patient trafficking.
Improper care will create less demand for your program and it is not ethical to accept a client into your program to increase census knowing they do not belong. Help your internal team by not putting them in unethical situations. Your employees are your best marketers to increase your demand, be sure you support them and listen to their needs.
How well are you working with other organizations in the industry?
Give and Take
Not every organization can do every single treatment program and be #1 at it. It is too big of a task for the public needs, crisis, and epidemics we have going on right now.
It is more effective to understand other company’s criteria for their program and let everyone know yours. People seeking care do not need to be hidden from another provider because you do not meet their needs. That is not where the phone call should end and forcing the person to be left in the dark. If a person calls your program and they do not meet your needs, do not be selfish and do not discipline or retaliate on an employee if they refer to someone else. Take the time to tell them other places they can call or give them the phone numbers of the people to call if you have it.
When you scratch the back of another provider, they will return the favor when the time is right. This way of working needs to be the only way of working in our community. It is possible to work together and rise together. We owe it to our clients, this is not the industry to be selfish and greedy, people’s lives depend on us and I strongly discourage any form of suppression in this industry and deem it to be unethical. Create and manage demand by the theory of, “Give and Take,” it will work.
Share this article, comment, ask follow up questions or topics you want discussed in future blogs, and subscribe.