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The top 12 ideas to increase GP practice profits

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Most GP practices are under financial stress. The world is changing rapidly. The NHS is strapped for cash, and your GP contract is coming under financial pressure. We're finding that GP practices are creating increasingly innovative methods to increase their profits. In this article, we summarise twelve of the best we've heard.

How do you increase your profits?

Increased profits don't necessarily have to come from increased revenues. For example, there are several strategies that you can employ to reduce your costs or increase efficiency, as well as increase your revenues. By working smarter and thinking more creatively, you really can alter your bottom line. The thing to remember is that it's probably more effective to work towards implementing a few strategies rather than look for the one big win.

The following are methods that practices around the UK have told us they're using to increase their profits:

1. Offer virtual appointments

It's difficult for busy people to come to the practice for appointments. They get caught up at work, or they are overtaken by other events. Use technology to slash your DNA rate, and offer virtual consultations that offer a range of benefits to your practice and its patients, including:

  • Less travel
  • No fuel or parking costs
  • Reduction of the spread of infection
  • Encourages the patient to take responsibility for their own care
  • Far quicker for patients who lead busy lives

2. Get on board with wearable technology

Wearables look like they're going to be a driving force in healthcare. More people are taking to wearable technology to manage their own health. Keep up with the trends, and find ways to incorporate a patient's desire to take more control of their own health with your aims of keeping them healthy.

3. Keep your website updated

Make sure that your website is packed with useful information. Make it relevant to the changing needs of your patients. Highlight the strengths of your practice, and link to interesting articles, social media, and other items that your patients may be searching for.

4. Encourage patient engagement online

Make sure that GPs encourage use of your online resources. Put notices up in the practice. In your written communications, add in a paragraph that highlights the benefits of using your website and social media.

Ask your patients to post reviews of your services on your website and social media sites.

5. Expand your services

Consider adding new medical services to your practice's offering – an associated private practice providing chiropractic services, or massage, for example. Many practices are hiring in-house pharmacists, to offer more flexible cover and help prepare for CQC inspections and clinical audits.

6. Offer paid-for services to local businesses

Consider offering paid-for medicals, drug screenings and health checks for local businesses and insurance companies.

7. Offer health education classes

Provide affordable (or free) health education classes to the local community. Target diabetics, smokers, and dieters, for example. This could generate revenues as well as reduce patient appointments over a period of time.

8. Take action to reduce wait times

The amount of time spent waiting for appointments is a key reason for complaints. Reduce wait times by employing smarter-working practices, both when booking appointments and during the working day.

9. Buy your practice premises

If you're renting your premises, review whether it would be financially advantageous to buy them instead. This is an investment in the business, could be cheaper, and provide the business with an asset that increases in value.

10. Hire extra staff

Instead of paying overtime, would it be more efficient (and money-saving) to hire more employees? If you are regularly paying 20 or more hours of overtime every week, you may make some considerable savings by hiring another employee, plus you've got a natural source of cover for illness and holidays.

11. Should you be outsourcing?

You may be able to outsource some of your administrative work. This could be a more flexible and cost-effective solution to staffing needs.

12. Use online supplies

We may be just a little biased, but online supplies can save you a big slice of outgoings. Review your needs regularly across all areas of your business, including:

  • Office supplies
  • Services and training
  • Equipment
  • Disposables
  • Infection control
  • Furniture

You could save thousands every year.

How has your practice increased its profits? Are there any methods you've used that aren't mentioned here, and which have been most successful? We look forward to hearing from you.