Breaking EMR patient generated health data down by zip code can be an effective way of determining where to spend advertising budget for digital ads
While chiropractors are fantastic at treating patients, they are sometimes they’re not so great at marketing to patients, or attracting new ones. Marketing is what brings more patients to your practice — but it’s got to be the right marketing, and it can originate from your current patient generated health data.
Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L, principal owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and host of the podcast The Better Outcomes Show, answered our questions about how chiropractors can attract new patients by looking hard at their patient generated health data.
Part I of the interview, which follows, is edited for length and clarity.
What types of data should chiropractors have and be utilizing regarding their loyal patients?
The first metric that should always be tracked and managed when it comes to patient loyalty and retention is called “Course of Care Retention” or “Course of Care Completion Rate.” Basically, if the average plan of care for patients is 2x/week for 6 weeks, what percentage of patients are actually attending all 12 visits (or completing their plan of care)? That number provides great insight into patient engagement, satisfaction, and, of course, retention.
The other patient generated health data that should be collected involves demographics: age, gender, diagnosis, and even contact info (email addresses are great as they allow you to continue to keep in contact with patients after they finish a course of care or fall off the schedule for a while).
In addition to this, when you’re looking at patient generated health data, it’s important to also track:
1) average length of care (number of visits work: for example: number of visits per discharge or per new evaluation tends to be the industry standard for tracking this),
2) average revenue per patient (this can be calculated based off of average revenue per visit and the number of visits per POC), 3) average cost per new evaluation,
4) source of new patient (example: MD referral, social media, google ads, etc.), and
5) payer mix (insurance vs. Medicare vs. private pay).
These four data points give you everything you need to know:
1) how much you can spend to attract new patients,
2) how profitable each new patient is depending on their payer, and
3) where to allocate your advertising budget (should you spend money on Facebook ads or Google?).
Another useful tool to use is something that measures the patient experience of the process of care in a quantitative way. Something like the CARE Survey is benchmarked to standards, open source, and does a good job of providing a view of how patients experience the care they receive at a clinic. I’ve used it as an internal measure and benchmark for a while and have found it helpful in making changes to the process of care in a way that maximizes patient engagement and retention.
Once they know what patient generated health data they need to be looking at — what should the data be telling chiropractors?
When it comes to marketing for new patients, it’s important to consider what I call your Three Elements (I outline that here). Part of this process involves looking back at past patients and determining which ones had the best outcomes, experience, and feedback. Again, if you’re tracking course-of-care completion rate, then you can break that down by diagnosis and the like.
For example, if patients with cervical spine dysfunction are completing their courses of care at a higher rate than shoulder pain (or leaving more/better reviews or testimonials), then you may consider developing a marketing campaign to target more patients with neck pain/c-spine dysfunction. (It also allows you to troubleshoot what may be going on with those shoulder patients.)
The next thing to break down would be some of those basic demographics (age, gender, location, etc.). Most electronic medical record (EMR) systems collect this data and can display it at very broad or granular levels. Breaking it down by zip code can be an effective way of determining where to spend advertising budget for digital ads and the like.
That information, coupled with:
1) your clinic’s area of clinical expertise or specialization,
2) market need/demand, and
3) your organization’s mission or purpose will help you begin to craft a targeted marketing campaign designed to bring in more new patients to your practice.
In addition, information about patient-perceived quality of care (such as the CARE survey) can be used to make organizational changes, as well as provide opportunities to coaching and mentoring specific staff or clinicians for quality improvement.
What conclusions can they glean from this data?
The conclusions that can be drawn from the patient generated health data mentioned above have implications for both administrative and clinical processes. For example, the data about course of care completion and patient-reported perceptions of quality can be used to change clinical processes to improve patient engagement and can even highlight which patients would be good candidates to ask for referrals/reviews etc.
The data around course-of-care completion and satisfaction, coupled with demographic and geographic information, provides insights for both the geographic region to target with advertising and marketing dollars as well as the types of patients/diagnoses to target with specific offers. Once you combine that information with the three elements discussed above, you can craft powerful marketing messages and offers aimed squarely at your target market in a way that positions your clinic as the clinical experts and your offer as the most effective solution to their problem.