National Headlines

New Patient Trend: “Why is September the new January?”

By Michael Tetreault, Editor

I love studying, reading and learning about anything and all things related to not just concierge medicine, but subscription-based businesses. There are so many lessons still yet not applied in healthcare that we can learn from other businesses with similar business models.

For example. Did you know that there are subscription-based mechanics who come to your office and work on your car?

Did you know there are membership car washers that come to your office park and wash your car?

Every heard of Amazon PRIME? Of course, you have! That’s a subscription-based business model too!

I also love asking questions. I love asking the questions only a few of you know the answer to. Over eight years ago, we asked the question of Concierge Medicine Physicians “What Month do most of your NEW Patients join your practice?”

As you might imagine, January was a popular month. We all know why! Resolutions, right?!

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September is also a hot season for new sign-ups and renewals. But, why is September the new January? We all know why January matters. So, why is September so amazing?

In September there is a lot of “Back to School Momentum.” People have returned from their Labor Day or summer vacations and now, millions of people are getting geared up for school year. There’s a huge national trend and a lot of energy that those in business are keenly aware of.

As an added bonus for those of us observing business trends, the seasonal factor exists as well. When the season switches from summer to fall in the month of September we officially feel a atmosphere of change around us.

While historically and date-wise, Open Enrollment isn’t usually in September, it is in many places, in October. Open Enrollment creates a bit of nervous tension among people. That in itself is why so many people see what you do in healthcare as a much better alternative. For some, know you can help them make these important decisions puts their minds at rest, somewhat.

So, this year, I don’t want you to miss the wonder of September.

But how do you prepare? What do you do? I think the more important question isn’t what you do in September but how you will address your October slump? Because, soon you will be asking yourself and your staff … “Why is October dead quiet?” or “What’s with this October slump?” or maybe “Where is everybody? Last month was so busy?”

Here are three steps you may want to consider:

  1. Let families know now what is happening in your practice “in October” during the month of October. For example: “Share your Recipes for Healthy Holiday Cooking: Take a step back and choose what you will cook for your friends and family before Thanksgiving.”
  2. Leverage your email list and start communicating with your Patients and families prior to October 1.
  3. Amp up Your Patient Testimonials, Online Reviews, Reputation and Social Media — There’s nothing better than a great patient testimonial, am I right? Well, with the holidays almost upon us, people, especially your patients, typically feel in a generous and giving mood. That being said, they’d probably enjoy writing a sentence or two about you, their experience with your practice and staff on one of the physician review web sites.
  4. Create an event for the community — For example, Starting Collecting Canned Goods or Host a Charity Drive and Email and Tell Your Patients face to face that your office is a drop off location for cans, coats and food. Put a nicely wrapped open washing machine box in your lobby area for people to see what others have dropped in. You might be surprised by the drop-by visits and conversations you and your staff may have when you do this! Remember, it’s one of the easiest and most charitable efforts you can do each year and still involve your patients. It’s easy to advertise, easy to collect and easy to drop off donated items once the charity drive is over.
  5. We recommend partnering with a locally based charitable organization for a holiday collection drive. Habitat For Humanity or the Habitat Home Store, for example, (if applicable) in your area might be looking for clothing, toiletry items, hammers, etc. Local churches are always looking for partners to assist them in their community with the collection of canned goods, food and other items. Ask your local area churches close to your practice about how you can help collect items and drop them off this holiday season. Then, send a list of these items to your patients by email, in the office via a flyer, etc. Ask for support relating to your charity drive by promoting your practice and location through social media and email.Besides doing something good for your community, if your patients, Facebook fans or LinkedIn followers know that they can knock off to-do’s on their list, fill their hubbies prescription, get a quick sore throat check-up and drop off a holiday donation, they’re more likely to make a point in stopping by. Because space is an issue for medical practice owners, consider collecting smaller gifts such as pet toys for a local animal shelter or hygiene items for a homeless center and put the collection boxes, nicely decorated of course, and positioned in a prominent location where most of your patients will see items being donated in your lobby or waiting area.

Have some other ideas you’d like to share with Doctors? Send us an email at editor@conciergemedicinetoday.com.

Categories: National Headlines