For example, a good reference business entity that is built upon solid principles, helping it to thrive despite being faced with great challenges and competition, is the coffee shop business model, which this article will use as reference.
What lessons can a private medical practice learn from the coffee shop business?
1. Word of mouth mattersSimilar to the popularity of a coffee shop being influenced by customers’ recommendations, the success of a private medical practice can be influenced by patients’ word of mouth. Patients are influenced by each other’s feedback on the medical practice and this is a strong factor that can influence their choice of clinic.
In the current era of digital information and social media, a private practice needs to have a strong online presence. It has become more or less necessary to use social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook to shape the image of the practice. Even more importantly, maintaining a good reputation is ever more vital now than ever given the transparency of communication amongst users on these pages, thus gaining positive feedback from patients means more than ever.
2. Environment mattersAs patients would naturally and normally form an all-important first impression upon entering the clinic, the waiting area and the reception area will have a strong influence on their perception of the medical practice.
Although this generally does not reflect the practicing clinician's clinical competency, it will significantly affects the patient's overall opinion of the medical practice itself. For instance, elements such as seating arrangement and the type or intensity of lighting have an impact on a patient’s mood and well-being, and no one will like to remain at or return to an establishment that makes them feel antsy or uncomfortable.
Similar to how the interior design and concept of a coffee shop gives the business its identity, the medical office's interior and ambience can entice and attract patients to the medical practice, and give the clinic a distinct character that can be shaped to be both memorable and appealing - this is what will win patients over.
3. Emphasis on consumer relationship and experienceIn any business, it is important to build up customer loyalty, which is strongly influenced by the quality of the services provided. The same concept is applicable to private medical practices – the quality of treatment given to patients very largely determines the probability that they will come back to the clinic in the future.
The idea that that all staff need to make conscious efforts to be friendly and responsive to patients’ needs can no longer be appropriately called an 'idea' - it is more a necessity if the practice wants to retain patient loyalty, as this is what will provide them with an optimised, patient-centric experience from the moment they step into the clinic and all through their journey in it.
4. Right equipmentThink of any of the better coffee shops or cafes you have been to recently - what sort of coffee machines did they carry? Were they proper machines, imported from manufacturers that specialise in the area, or the cheap coffee vending machines you get in the office? Though many in the older generation will claim that handmade coffee is still the way to go, there is no doubt that when it comes down to the modern cafe scene, choosing to invest in machines that produce a product that keeps the customers returning is a key aspect. Similarly, investing in the right medical equipment is crucial as it can help doctors to provide better care and treatment for patients, which keeps them returning.
Of course, from a financial aspect, it goes without saying that the practice will still need to be prudent when purchasing medical equipment. Buying excessive equipment will incur unnecessary costs if they will not re required often. Additionally, large medical equipment will require space, which will also lead to a rise in storage costs. There are many factors to consider, and ultimately, equipment and supplies must be practical, resourceful and efficient while also taking spatial considerations into account.
Private practitioners who are keen to build up a private medical practice can consider consulting business experts as well as doctors who have experience in this area. Essentially, if you are keen to make you business more appealing from a patient's standpoint, consider reading up on successful businesses and applying the tips found there. MIMS
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 Schierhorn, Carolyn. “Waiting rooms, too, can promote patient health”. The DO. Amerian Osteopathic Association, 1 May 2014. Web. 13 Feb 2017. http://thedo.osteopathic.org/2014/05/waiting-rooms-too-can-promote-patient-health/
 Haynes, Drew. “Medical equipment: Should practices buy or lease?”. Medical Economics. Modern Medicine Network. 22 Sept 2014. Web. 13 Feb 2017. http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/content/tags/buy-equipment/medical-equipment-should-practices-buy-or-lease?page=full