The Full Value of a Patient

If podiatrists truly understood the incredible value of a patient to their practice over time, far more of them would market much more to their existing patient list.

Here’s a marketing secret:  You already know everyone you need to know to grow your practice: your patients. Your list or database of active, inactive, and really inactive patients is the single most valuable asset in your practice other than you and your well-trained staff.  These people know you and like you and trust you and will return to you and refer to you for the rest of their lives if you don’t drop the ball. And most professionals do drop that ball. They discharge the patient and never communicate with them again, thinking it is too costly to maintain a relationship with that patient.

Let’s examine that for a moment.

The Value of a Single Patient

I would like to propose that on the average, if a new patient comes to your practice and you treat them, they will produce $450 of revenue to your practice in the first year.  That is, they have a problem, you treat them, and they get better, and on average, they will produce $450 of collections to the practice.  Now, you know some will produce less and some much more, but if you can agree on the $450 average number, then we can continue.  If you don’t agree, then just plug in the number YOU think is appropriate for you and then use that.  Don’t let what I am about to tell you be invalidated because you don’t agree with my number.

That means that that patient is worth $450 to the practice when they come to see you once.  But what is the lifetime value of that patient to your practice? If that patient returns to see you at some time in the future, that is, they come back before they die or you die and they see you again for something else – just once – then they will be worth another $450 to your practice.  Add this to the first time and they have a lifetime value to your practice of $900—if they come back once before you die or they die.

Fair enough?

What if they refer one other person to you before they die or you die?  And what if that person comes back once in their lifetime?  That second person would be worth $900 a lifetime, too. 

So therefore, if a new patient comes to you and they return once, and refer a person who comes to you and returns once in the future, that original new patient is worth $1800 a lifetime to your practice – their own $900 value and their referral’s $900 value.  Are you with me?

The Value You Could Be Seeing

Just a little farther to go here.

That means that if you have 50 new patients this month, and they return sometime in the future only once, and refer only once before you retire, those 50 patients have a lifetime value of $90,000 to the practice.  And if you get 50 new patients a month for one year—600 new patients—they will bring $1.08M in collection to your practice before you retire!

This only holds true IF they return and IF they refer. If not, then they just produce that original $450 one time for the practice.  Doctors that understand this understand the number one secret of successful businesses. Getting patients to return and to refer, then, is the real key to seeing the growth and profits you want.

This is where your internal marketing makes a difference. If you communicate to your list every month, through newsletters, mailings, emails, and on all of your internet properties, you will never have a slow month again.  Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com is obsessed with this. Customer communication and satisfaction is the number one thing he is concerned about, and you know how successful Amazon is. Every great business that maintains a relationship with its database of people who know them and like them and trusts them is rewarded.

This is truly one of the greatest “secrets” of practice marketing. The value of getting new patients to return and refer to you far outweighs the cost of marketing to them. This is why you should have a fully-functional database and something like our Top Practices Newsletter Program for your podiatry practice. We can help you get started so you can actually see the difference and return for yourself. Contact us about newsletters by e-mailing [email protected] or by calling (717) 725-2679.