Generating profits for a small practice can be much easier said than done.  Adding the hurdle of operating as a cash-based office makes the feat even harder to accomplish.  While many start-up practices are struggling to keep their doors open, providers are working overtime to figure out how to drive business on a consistent basis.  A new trend developing in the health care industry is the idea of becoming a one-stop-shop where patients can take advantage of multiple service lines under the same practice.
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Referred to as ancillary services, practices are relying on the added resources to help them thrive in a competitive healthcare landscape.  Ancillary services are services that are provided in addition to the main, day-to-day services the practice already offers. Mostly fitting into the categories of diagnostic, therapeutic or custodial service lines, ancillary services generate profits by keeping patients in-house for treatments or therapies often outsourced by doctors.  In 2012, 22 percent of respondents to a survey said they began offering ancillary services at their practice to improve profitability and help their practice survive.

A great example of an ancillary service that can yield additional profits is the in-house selling of vitamins and supplements. Sales for these products topped $23 billion in 2012 and continue to grow at a percentage rate of 5-7 percent. Although many consumers turn to the Internet and independent stores to provide them with these products, physicians who practice upselling when it comes to vitamins and supplements are carving out their own portion of the annual revenue generated by this line of business. By dispensing as many drugs as possible in-house, one physician can improve their annual profitability by more than $40,000 per year.

Although many physicians are incorporating a retail aspect to their practice, trends in consumer demand for certain types of supplements are driving the profits.

Here’s a list of the most sought after dietary supplements:

  • Multivitamins
  • Meal Replacements
  • Calcium
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  • Homeopathic Medicines
  • Vitamin D
  • Fish/ Animal Oil

 Have you witnessed an uptick in revenue since selling supplements out of your practice? Share your comments on this blog post with other P2P readers.