Questions to Ask before Adding Additional Services to Your Practice

Today’s thriving private practice often has multiple service lines for patients to choose from.  While this is a common course of action for alleviating some of the financial stress practices often endure, it can also add to the burden if not approached from a methodical, analytical stand point.

WomanponderingBefore choosing to take on the sometimes arduous process of adding ancillary services to your practice, considers the following questions:

How will it affect your staff?

Depending on the size and skillset of your staff, adding ancillary service lines to your practice could make a huge impact on its efficiency. When it comes to adding treatment options for patients, the physician has to consider the weight of change it could mean.  Do you have staff members who are able to assist in providing the service? If not, are you willing to hire new staff members? Will the new service require a significant amount of training or additional licenses? All of these factors will play a role in the structure of your office and, in turn, impact the way you facilitate the care process.

Does it make sense to add the new services to your practice?

Keeping in mind that patients come to you for a specific type of treatment as it is, physicians should take some time to review their current portfolio of services and determine whether the need is even there to provide additional options. Deciding on whether to add or not to add has a lot to do with determining if the demand is there. For example, physicians who see a number of diabetes patients could consider offering classes on dieting, meal prepping and weight-loss. This service coincides with the brand of your practice and can serve as a great way to add to the practice’s profits.

Are your patients interested?

No one said adding a new service to your practice has to be a big secret.  Sometimes the best person to run your ideas by is the one who would be taking advantage of the service.  Gauge the level of interest from patients who already visit your practice and use the feedback to help make your decision. An easy approach to doing this is creating a short survey for them to take prior to or after their visit. You can also simply work a few questions regarding the possible service into the actual visit, being sure to document responses as you get them.

How much will it cost?

This is really what it all boils down to.  Based on the information you’ve gathered from patients, staff members, vendors, peers and other experts, determining the bottom line cost of adding the service to your practice is often the deciding factor for physicians. While it seems simple enough, it can be much more complicated than the act of simply pricing equipment. Different components such as space to house the equipment, additional staff, additional licenses and cost of continued maintenance can all significantly impact the return on your investment. Draw up a detailed financial analysis and use it to make your conclusions.

The first steps in any journey often entail deciding whether or not to take the journey at all. By evaluating the current scope of your services and how you can best serve your patients and turn a profit, you can make a comfortable and sound decision on what course of action should be taken.  Having multiple lines of service available to patients is a great way to increase your revenue but poor planning and execution can only lead to additional financial stress.

How did you decide on adding services to your practice? Share your comments below!