Here are some tips to avoid means testing patients

With the cost of living crisis at the forefront of everyone’s minds it can be challenging not to ‘means test’ patients or feel concerned about their ability to afford treatment and therefore inadvertently end up under-treating your patients

What is in the best interest of your patient?

Your patients’ needs have not changed with the cost of living crisis. One could argue that now more than ever they need to be fit, healthy and injury free to ensure that they are able to continue working, caring for their families and doing what they love.

Your role has therefore also not changed. You need to assess your patient and give them your best recommendation.

Whilst it might be tempting to be lean on your recommendation of care, this could potentially result in your patient spending money on a few treatments, going off to ‘see how they get on’ and end up back where they started.

Show evidence of the quality and cost effectiveness

Now more than ever you will need to demonstrate that your treatment works so that your patients feel confident investing their money in a course of care with you.

If you are a Physio First member and participate in the Data for Impact project and are a quality assured practitioner or clinic; or you are a chiropractor and hold the Royal College of Chiropractors quality marks in Patient Partnership (PPQM) and Clinical Management (CMQM) or have an award relevant to your profession and the quality of care and effectiveness you provide your patients, make sure you are communicating that to patients and what it means.

If you don’t have that level of evidence, perhaps now a good time to explore that.

Another good way to build confidence in your patients and potential patients is to have testimonials and reviews from happy patients. Ask your patient to answer specific questions so that the testimonials and reviews convey the quality and cost-effectiveness of your treatment.

Be innovative

Some clinic owners have found that when introducing packages patient compliance increases. We are not a fan of discounting but if a patient is more likely to complete their course of care because they have purchased a package and benefitted from a small discount then it is a worth considering. A HUGE caveat to this is that what is being offered needs to be ethical. The patient must clinically need and benefit from the course of care being sold to them.

If you provide more than one service, perhaps there are ways to integrate your different services to make it more cost-effective for your patient. Maybe some of the soft tissue work could be carried out by a different therapist who doesn’t charge as high a fee as the lead / senior therapist.

Do what’s right for your business and you

It is really important to do what you need to do for you and your business. If you want to keep servicing your community by treating patients and getting them better, it is vital that you look after your health and that of the business.

Whilst it is tempting as a practice owner to ‘rectify the problem’ by treating more patients to generate more income, it is a slippery slope to burnout. Make sure you give yourself adequate time to work on your business instead of trying to squeeze that into time between patients or after the kids go to bed.

Consider what is on your plate right now and ask yourself if you are truly the right person to be doing all the tasks you do. I am sure there are things you can delegate to free yourself up to do the higher value tasks or just have a break!

Know your numbers in your business so that you can take appropriate action. This might mean raising your prices (even in this cost of living crisis, it is possible to put your prices up); it might be time to differentiate your fee structure, charging your more experienced therapists out at more and it might be time to relook at all your expenses and make appropriate cuts or changes. Be careful not to cut expenses that end up depriving you of valuable support or end up making more work for you.

We hope the above helps. Why not get in touch with us to put together your own strategy

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