Powering Profitability & Patient Retention for Physician Practices


Paul Jaglowski
by Ryan Phillips, Customer Success
December 8th

As frontline providers of primary and specialty care, physician practices are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking medical attention. They’re essential to the health of the patients they treat, but the inverse is true as well – at least in terms of financial and organizational health. Without a loyal patient base, most of these clinical centers will be plagued by growing existential resource issues.  

If you think this keeps many practice leaders up at night, you couldn’t be more right. In fact, one report by the American Hospital Association found that an overwhelming 94% of physicians think running a practice has become more financially and administratively difficult.  

The good news is that, with the right best practices and technologies, particularly for your overworked patient experience manager and staff, physician practices can supercharge their patient retention efforts and excel at healthcare reputation management to help mitigate costs.  

Free eBook – Engaging Your Patients: Pre, During, and Post Encounter


What Are Some Costs Physician Practices Face?

The first step in grasping why patient retention is so critical for running a financially sustainable physician practice is to understand some of the associated costs that can weigh down organizations’ budgets. These expenditures include: 


1. Regulatory Compliance Expenditures 

Running a physician’s practice involves adhering to a myriad of healthcare regulations, including those related to patient privacy (HIPAA), billing and coding (CPT, ICD-10), and quality reporting. The Medical Group Management Association found 90% of practices reported increased regulatory burdens over the past year. Staying compliant with regulations requires ongoing training, investment in technology, and sometimes hiring specialized staff. Non-compliance can result in hefty penalties and legal consequences, making it crucial for physician practices to allocate resources to stay up to date with evolving healthcare standards. 


2. Technology Expenses  

After a slow start, healthcare has entered the digital age. Modernizing physician practices isn’t cheap, however, and often entails substantial technology costs. Implementing and maintaining EHR systems, practice management software, and other innovative tools is necessary for efficient operations, satisfying increasingly convenience-centric patients, and, in some cases, regulatory compliance. These systems require upfront investments and ongoing expenses for maintenance, updates, and staff training. 


3. Operating and Administrative Burden 

Administrative costs represent a sizeable portion of overall operational expenses for physician practices. This spending includes the salaries and benefits of administrative staff responsible for tasks like appointment scheduling, medical billing and coding, insurance claims processing, and general office management. One prime example is handling prior authorizations. According to the American Medical Association, physicians and their staff report spending two business days each week simply completing prior authorization forms.


4. Reimbursement Challenges and Uncompensated Care  

Physician practices often face challenges in obtaining timely and adequate payment for provided services. Dealing with insurance companies, navigating complex billing processes, and handling denied claims can be time-consuming and resource intensive. Moreover, some organizations that partially rely on Medicare reimbursements can experience delays in essential patient experience data when working with outdated survey vendors. And those gaps in collecting these important insights could prevent physician practices from making necessary changes to improve their adherence to quality measures. 

Ultimately, these costs are largely inevitable to running a successful physician practice. And one of the only ways to effectively compensate for these expenditures is by retaining and expanding your patient base. 


Patient Churn and How Healthcare Reputation Management Can Help 

Patients might choose to leave physician practices for various reasons, and understanding these factors is essential for healthcare providers to improve satisfaction and patient retention 

One primary reason is a lack of effective communication. Patients appreciate clarity and transparency from their healthcare providers. If physicians fail to engage effectively — whether while discussing a diagnosis, treatment plans, or general information — patients may feel uninformed or dissatisfied, prompting them to seek care elsewhere. 

Underpinning gaps in communication is the overall quality of the patient experience. Long wait times, disorganized scheduling, and a lack of personalized attention can contribute to a negative patient experience — and, thus, a lack of satisfaction. Healthcare organizations that prioritize patient satisfaction by embracing efficient appointment scheduling, convenient platforms, and methods for minimizing wait times with digital-first strategies are more likely to report better patient experience. And, according to Accenture, better patient experience is associated with 50% higher revenues.  

To truly curb the churn, physician practices need to deploy effective healthcare reputation management strategies. That means prioritizing effective communication, improving the patient experience from multiple angles, and identifying gaps in care that can be effectively addressed.  

It also entails careful tracking of your practice’s progress to ensure your organization meets and, ideally, exceeds net promoter score benchmarks. Net promoter score (NPS) is a cross-industry standard that calculates your organization’s promoters, detractors, and the resulting delta to determine how favorable your service is perceived. When it comes to net promoter score benchmarks, a 50 out of a range of –100 to 100 is considered excellent in healthcare.  

But how do physician practice leaders understand how to start taking these steps? The only way is by regularly seeking patient feedback and using it to make significant changes that can contribute to a more patient-centered approach, fostering patient loyalty and satisfaction. 


Using Real-Time PX Data to Boost Patient Experience 

Improving patient experience is crucial for patient retention. Your program will only be as good as the patient experience manager you have in place and the data they collect. And that data is only as useful as the methods by which it’s organized and leveraged.  

To gather this information, practices have traditionally looked to paper surveys. But they’re inconvenient for patients increasingly accustomed to a digital-first world. And causing more inconvenience for your patients inherently goes against trying to improve their experiences. 

Another issue is time. Survey vendors that follow the status quo typically take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months to deliver accessible insights from the data they collect for you. By the time your patients convey their feedback, they might already be out of your reach and looking for other practices in their area that will quickly respond to their needs. 

That’s why more and more physician practices are ditching outdated paper surveys in favor of digital real-time listening tools. Feedtrail’s advanced PX application streamlines data collection with the option to proactively text or email relevant surveys to patients, even before, during, and after care. On the clinical end, your staff are equipped with the most accurate, real-time information they can get to course-correct whenever issues emerge, right when they happen.  

Ready to see what Feedtrail’s technology can do for your physician practice? Speak with one of our experts.

Ebook – Engaging Your Patients: Pre, During, and Post Encounter


About Ryan Phillips, Customer Success: Ryan Phillips is a member of the Feedtrail Customer Success team and based in Long Beach, California. Ryan’s background in management consulting allowed him to bring expertise in software deployment and professional services to Feedtrail as the company’s first employee. Since then, Ryan has played a pivotal role in implementing, supporting, and strategizing with customers both large and small. Ryan has also had in hand in facilitating the development of the Feedtrail XM Platform applications such as employee experience, flexible messaging, and rounding.