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How a report review uncovered a concerning trend for a Kansas practice

Do you need another reason why you should be monitoring your practice trends? Here’s another example of a concerning trend that was recently uncovered for a practice that was new to VetSuccess. During my report review with a Practice Manager at a three doctor practice in Kansas, we uncovered something very interesting.

Their Patients Summary shows a very significant downward trend over the past 10 months. In a lot of cases, we talk about patient reminder protocols. How frequently and in what format are you sending them? If we see a downward trend like this, it may indicate that a lot of patients are lapsing, and in this case, we would strongly recommend the implementation of a lapsing patient program.

Patients Summary indicating a downward trend in visits [1]
(click on image to enlarge)

However, when we looked at the Last Transaction Date portion, this told us a different story. Their lapsing and lapsed patient counts are really quite low, and well within the recommended parameters that our CVPM consultants recommend. So what is going on?

Last Transaction Date graph indicating low lapsing and lapsed patient counts [2]
(click on image to enlarge)

If we take a look at the next image, we begin to understand. Take a look at their new client and patient counts compared to last year. They are significantly lower! Look further at the next graph and you can see the impact this is having on their active client and patient counts over time. The gap is shrinking.

New Client and Patient graph with a decrease in new clients and patients from the previous year [3]
(click on image to enlarge)

We discovered that this concerning trend is directly related to the decrease in the number of new clients and patients that this practice is seeing. But why are they so much lower than last year? When I asked more about this, the practice manager had a very interesting story to tell.

The practice is located in a shopping center shared by several other businesses, and a large grocery store. The grocery store had been approved for a large renovation, and the landlord decided to go ahead and renovate the exterior of the rest of the shopping center as well, without consulting with the other businesses. Exterior work began in September 2015. The practice’s exterior sign was removed and scaffolding was in place for some time. The work on their end was completed by the end of the year, but parking lot work continues, and many of their parking spots were removed. During this time, it is possible that new clients did not know that this practice was even there, or was still open for business and accepting new patients. My recommendation to the manager was to put a sign out on the road so that passers-by would be aware that they are open and ready to accept new patients. I also recommended some additional marketing to try to reach new clients as well.

Fortunately, construction is a relatively short term issue, but it’s clear to see the impact it can have on a practice. Being able to spot this trend and do something to reverse it may help this practice from experiencing a significant financial setback.

What do your practice trends show?