Top 5 Challenges in 2021 for Medical Practice during COVID Era
The worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has crushing effects on medical practices. Some small private practices recorded a steep decline in revenues, and they are struggling to pay their overhead. Many healthcare providers started introducing telemedicine, but it helped to pick up only a small portion of the slack.
According to a survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association on 724 medical practices after a few weeks into the outbreak of the pandemic, 97% had a negative financial effect. Another online survey conducted by the Texas Medical Association in early May 2020 found that 62% of practicing physicians in the state had reduced their salaries and 68% of them had to lessen their work hours. The scenario is similar to the medical practices anywhere in the world. Although slowly the situation is improving with more elective procedures being performed, yet consumers remain alert and sceptive.
What are the Key Challenges Medical Practices will face in 2021?
1. High Cancellations due to Changing COVID Restrictions
In 2020, medical centers and clinics recorded high cancellations due to obvious safety reasons. Now, even after the vaccination drive against the coronavirus has started ramping up, the cancellation rate is still high due to changing COVID restrictions globally. With the new strains of the virus being detected, several new travel restrictions are being imposed in many countries. In such a scenario, the medical practices are still dealing with high cancellations.
2. Cash Flow / Revenue impact due to Decrease in In-Patient Care
Footfalls in the private hospitals and clinics significantly fell following the outbreak of the pandemic. Preventive healthcare and elective surgeries, which account for the massive share of revenue, were largely postponed. Such a decrease in in-patient care is heavily affecting the cash flow of medical practices that are offering elective procedures.
3. Lack of Marketing Budgets to acquire New Customers
Due to high cancellations and less revenue because of reduced in-patient care, marketing budgets to acquire new customers are also suffering. Some of the significant challenges apart from budget cuts to acquire new customers are switching from in-person events to virtual events and lack of engagement from their target audience. Many healthcare providers are not focused right now on rethinking how people are trying to interact. As consumer interactions are now more inclined towards virtual interactions, it is important to understand the changing behavior.
4. Limited Technology Experience and access to Remote Consultation with Patients
Leveraging technology has become essential for medical practices during the COVID era. Patients are now using the digital medium to source a dentist, doctor, or a hospital. They want a retail-like experience where they get complete control of personalized shopping with transparency. As traveling is restricted and the cost of future travel is unknown, patients are anxious and expect to get many things done online. That is why they are searching for online consultations where they can directly interact with the doctors and get suggestions and prepare for the procedure when it is safe. Many medical practices lack this technology experience and that is why they fail to engage customers.
5. Poor Patient Pipeline Management due to Lack of In-Person Consultation
Due to lockdown, travel restrictions, safety concerns and fear, patients are not able to get in-person consultation. Many clinics relied on in-person consultation to acquire new self-pay patients. With lack of technology experience these clinics were slow to adopt new remote consultation models which ultimately impacted their patient bookings. Many clinics are still struggling to adopt new technological solutions in their practice to increase their patient flow to pre-COVID levels.
How Medical Practices can EVOLVE from these Challenges
Marketing and Education
With limited marketing budgets during COVID era, self-pay clinics need to evolve their practice by adopting innovative marketing and distribution channels. Traditional marketing channels are expensive and do not provide new solutions to get the targeted customers. Personalization of information specific to targeted consumer needs is essential. Clinics need to continuously present your solution to beat your competition by educating and marketing.
At PlacidWay, as a leading self-pay healthcare marketplace, we are helping customers to explore the power of digital health in medical marketing and education with various solutions such as educational contents, attractive medical center profiles, all-inclusive treatment packages, engaging case studies, video marketing, video chat, email marketing and more.
Systematic Patient Acquisition
Medical practices need to build a patient pipeline with proactive customer relationship management. This means you have to introduce the right solution to the right customer at the right time using the right channel. This required creating a hybrid model where clinics can integrate remote consultation with in-patient care and provide a systematic solution for aftercare and lifestyle management. This will help different clinics from their competition in customer acquisition as well as retention.
Limited technology integration and experience are some of the biggest challenges medical practices are facing in the COVID era. It is essential to recognize patients’ priorities and keep them informed and updated. Technology integration with the entire patient lifecycle is critical - the patient acquisition and post-care can be quite effective with the right tools to power the clinical workflow.
PlacidWay can help you experience the power of technology integration with the use of CRMs, Omni-channel communications such as video chat, smart online chat along with traditional email and phone to provide a seamless workflow. Adopting such direct communication technology tools to directly interact with customers will win their trust and reflect in bookings positively. Technology can also bring much needed transparency in the business which will instill greater levels of trust between a patient and medical center.
To get over this crisis, you need visionary solutions combining effective marketing strategies and technology integrations. As the leading global self-pay marketplace, PlacidWay can help you with top-notch digital marketing solutions where you can promote your medical center, doctors, packages, testimonials, videos, blogs and other services. We are here to help you build the best digital marketing strategies to survive and overcome COVID-19. Evolve your practice with PlacidWay solutions.
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