Modern medical organizations are embedded in the framework of the national economy, as well. Although they operate on special terms, medical providers cannot neglect the generation of revenues and management of costs. Furthermore, this is not the case for the staff’s personal gains and shareholders’ enrichment, which may be present in a corporate scenario. Revenues in healthcare are essential for the development of the system, allowing it to purchase advanced equipment and complete breakthrough research. In 2020, PCP Clinic saw a dramatic decline in its income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With most patient visits rendered impossible, the majority of the costs remained the same, leading to record-low gross profits. In addition, patient visit levels did not suffice to ensure Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for the clinic.
Impact of COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 became a harbinger of an unprecedented economic crisis on a worldwide scale. This pandemic has quickly attained the status of a national public health emergency, disrupting the normal processes within the system. Khullar et al. (2020) state that the COVID-19 situation placed healthcare providers under an immense amount of stress. Most of the system’s resources were reoriented toward combatting the pandemic. Simultaneously, most outpatient visits were rendered impossible under the new circumstances, whereas elective procedures were halted in their entirety. For PCP Clinic, this situation has caused an unprecedented decrease in gross profits.
Patient Satisfaction and Revenue Management
In this new reality, it is vital for health service providers to engage new channels of revenue gain in order to counteract the impact of COVID-19. In this regard, cost and revenue management becomes a matter of the organization’s survival. Within the dominant patient-centered paradigm of today, patient retention is to become the cornerstone of this process. In fact, retention is inseparable from the notion of patient satisfaction, which creates an inner urge to return to an organization for any additional care, whether it is acute or not. It reflects the trust that a patient is ready to place in their provider. This way, profits are increasingly accumulated through the lifetime value of a single patient who repeatedly contributes to the organization’s cash flow. As indicated by Dandachi et al. (2020), modern tactics of patient retention should rely on advanced technological solutions. In this regard, the use of digital communication and telehealth options will help the PCP Clinic remain engaged with the community, expanding the lifetime value of a single patient for better overall profits.
Recommendations and Conclusions
Building patient retention through satisfaction and advanced technology is a complex process that depends on a range of variables. First of all, PCP Clinic needs to acquire a better understanding of the current state of patient satisfaction with the services. This parameter can be gauged through post-visit surveys (on-site and online), conducted both immediately after an appointment or remotely for the patients who failed to return. The drastic revenue decrease indicates that there is much room for improvement, but the Clinic’s management needs to understand the specific weak points to make informed decisions. For example, some patients may find the Clinic’s equipment insufficiently advanced, whereas others may be disappointed with the pricing policy or communication skills of the team. By addressing the identified weaknesses, PCP Clinic will generate better LVT, which is more beneficial in the long term than focusing on immediate earnings per patient. When combined with technology, these informed policies will allow the Clinic to overcome the impact of the pandemic and resume its growth.
Dandachi, D., Freytag, J., Giordano, T. P., & Dang, B. N. (2020). It is time to include telehealth in our measure of patient retention in HIV care. AIDS and Behavior, 24, 2463-2465.
Khullar, D., Bond, A. M., & Schpero, W. L. (2020). COVID-19 and the financial health of US hospitals. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 323(21), 2127-2128.