The Intake

Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

Grow your independent practice in 2023: The practice growth checklist for medical providers

Use this helpful checklist to review your current growth actions and develop a comprehensive, proactive growth strategy for 2023 and beyond.

Female practice owner looking at computer for their practice growth checklist.

Patients are incredibly savvy in their search for care. Nearly 7% of daily searches on Google are health-related. That’s almost 70,000 search queries per minute.

As more people turn to the internet for information as they make health-related decisions, healthcare practices that include digital marketing and convenient, digital access will be best poised for success in 2023.

We’ve created the following checklist to help your practice review current strengths. Review each section to see what you’re doing right to attract new patients and deliver an experience that keeps them coming back. Any box left unchecked is an opportunity to grow your practice in 2023 and beyond.

Drive business with a modern independent practice website

graphic for practice growth checklist

Optimize your practice website for the best possible rankings in search results

  • Create clear, helpful titles on every webpage, along with engaging meta descriptions and URLs that answer patient search queries.
  • Feature-rich, descriptive content about your services, dedicating a single web page to each one.
  • Make sure your medical practice website is designed to be mobile-responsive and can adapt to any browser size.
  • Confirm that your web pages load quickly to minimize visitors abandoning your site due to slow load times.

Ensure your medical practice website conveys a professional, modern brand

  • Bring your practice to life with high-quality photos that showcase your office (interior and exterior), staff, and services.
  • Feature positive testimonials that demonstrate a high level of patient satisfaction.
  • Publish blog posts that establish your medical expertise and answer patients’ most common questions related to your specialty.

Implement a website strategy to convert visitors into patients

  • Include prominent calls to action (CTAs) that influence patients to book an appointment.
  • Offer an online scheduling option to patients on your website, making it easy for them to schedule or request a visit.
  • Ensure your phone number is featured in text, not an image, so patients can call your practice with a single click.
  • Give patients the option to connect with you via text messaging directly from your website.

Make your website the hub of your practice operations

  • Create a positive, informative experience when people arrive at your website.
  • Offer patients a variety of ways to contact your practice right from your website, most notably on your site homepage.
  • Implement convenient patient self-service opportunities such as online booking, digital registration, and patient payments

Maintain a positive, influential online reputation

Take ownership of your profiles on healthcare, business, and directory websites

  • Claim each professional profile on every website that lists your practice and providers.
  • Ensure your contact information (name, office address, phone number, and website URL) and business hours are correct.
  • Optimize each profile with detailed content about you and your practice, and high-quality photos.

Claim and audit your practice’s Google Business Profile (formerly GMB) listing

Example Google My Business profile for practice growth checklist
Source: The Center For Advanced Pediatrics
  • Claim and verify your medical practice listing on Google.
  • Add or confirm your office location, business hours, and specialty to ensure those details  show up in filtered searches.
  • Update your Google Business Profile (or GMB, Google My Business) listing with new photos, direct links to your website, and detailed content about your practice.
  • Add a few questions and answers to your Google Business Profile’s “Questions & answers” section.
  • Enable appointment booking through your Profile listing.
  • Create 2 or 3 great posts to share news, showcase your s or drive appointments.

Proactively manage your online reputation

  • Ask each patient for feedback after their visit — preferably with a simple online survey that’s sent automatically.
  • Monitor any online patient comments, feedback, or reviews on a daily basis.
  • Reply to negative reviews swiftly and respectfully, and offer to resolve any issues directly with patients offline.
  • Thank reviewers who give positive feedback and add positive patient testimonials to your practice website.

Enhance the patient experience 

Offer patients online scheduling

  • Give patients the opportunity to book or request an appointment via your practice website, 24/7.
  • Enable online appointment requests via Google and other business listing websites that offer the functionality.

Send appointment reminders to reduce no-shows and meet patient preference

  • Send automated appointment reminders via email and two-way text messaging.
  • Enable patients to confirm, cancel, or reschedule their appointments digitally.
Example text messaging reminder for practice growth checklist

Offer patients text messaging

  • Give patients a “call-to-text” option: upon calling your practice, patients receive a prompt to send a text message instead.
  • Use a secure text messaging platform for patients to request an appointment and get questions answered.
  • Send feedback surveys after every visit to hear from patients about their experience.
  • Use text as an option to connect with your practice and help enhance the provider-patient relationship.

Provide telehealth options

  • Offer patients the option to meet you virtually for certain visit types, reducing wait times and patient no-shows.
  • Create a seamless telehealth experience by sending patients a unique video link that requires no software download or log in.

Accept digital patient payments

  • Have the ability to create and send digital invoices via email or text message.
  • Invite patients to pay their bill online, helping reduce payment time.

Increase patient engagement with email and social media

  • Set up an email newsletter and segment your audiences to send customized emails to your patients and stay top-of-mind in between appointments.
  • Pick one social media channel to communicate and build engagement with new and current patients (post 2x a week at least).
  • Write blogs about common patient questions or concerns. Share them in emails and on social media.

Streamline your front-office work

Empower your front-office staff to save time and accomplish tasks with less work

  • Send automated appointment reminders to patients, eliminating manual phone call work from your staff’s day.
  • Send digital registration and intake forms before appointments, optimizing convenience for staff and patients.
  • Manage your patient payment process digitally. Create and send digital invoices to reduce paper workload, and expedite the time to send a bill and receive payment it.

Track your business performance metrics

Example business intelligence software for practice growth checklist

Set goals and track metrics to help refine your practice success strategy

  • Establish medical practice key performance indicators — such as appointment volume, new patient visits, patient review sentiment — to help gauge practice success.
  • Set reasonable growth targets by month, quarter, or season.
  • Monitor performance data and refine strategy on an ongoing basis.

Done all your research, and ready to implement these tactics? Here is a quick list to get your plans in motion.

Printable practice growth checklist

Use the following checklist to review which tactics you’ve already completed, as well as those you’ll need to tackle in 2021 to attract new patients and keep them coming back. Consider each item an opportunity to grow your practice this year and beyond.

1. Optimized healthcare practice website

Your website is a great place to make a positive first impression with patients. But that experience is not only about your site’s look and feel.

In addition to looking sharp, clean, and readable, and providing all the key information about your practice, every healthcare practice website needs more. Your site must be written, designed, and built in a way that tells search engines to find it. This is search engine optimization (SEO), a key element of an effective patient acquisition strategy.

Fully optimizing your website — for patients and search engines — requires a keen understanding of how search engines work. It also demands exceptional, informative copy and imagery, and a clear and concise call to action. That invitation for website visitors to take action is usually to book an appointment or find out more information, both of which should be supported on your website and via phone.

This full optimization of your website will help prospective patients find you, learn about your services and, ultimately, schedule an appointment. Here is the list of critical elements needed to ensure your site is ready to support your 2021 growth strategy.

My practice website is optimized for the best possible rankings in search results.

  • All web pages have a helpful title, well-written meta description, and URLs that answer search queries.
  • Features rich content about my practice and services, with a single web page dedicated to each service.
  • Has a responsive design — it adapts to any browser size to look and work great on any device.

My practice website conveys a professional, modern brand.

  • Includes high-quality photos that showcase my office (interior and exterior), staff, and services.
  • Prominently features testimonials that demonstrate a high level of patient satisfaction.
  • Has blog posts and site content that establish my medical expertise, and answer patients’ most common questions.

My practice website is optimized to convert visitors into patients.

  • Includes prominent calls to action (CTAs) that drive appointment bookings.
  • Offers one-click calling to my practice office.
  • Has easy online booking for patients that syncs with my office calendar.

2. Positive, influential online reputation

I have claimed my profiles on healthcare, business, and directory websites.

  • I have claimed my professional profile on each website where my practice and provider listing appears. I have ensured my contact information (name, office address, phone number, and website URL) and business hours are correct.
  • I have optimized each profile with rich, detailed content and high-quality photos.

I have claimed and audited my practice’s Google My Business listing.

  • I have claimed our listing, and added or confirmed my office location, business hours, and specialty, so they show up in filtered searches.
  • I regularly update our Google My Business listing with new photos and rich content.
  • I have added a few questions and answers to our Google listing’s “Questions & Answers” section.
  • Patients can book an appointment through our Google business profile.
  • I use Google Posts to share news and special offers.

My practice has a business page on Facebook.

  • Our Facebook page includes contact information, and recent photos of our practice and providers.
  • I regularly post useful news and other information to my Facebook followers.
  • I have enabled reviews on my Facebook business page.

I proactively manage our online reputation.

  • We monitor any online patient comments, feedback, or reviews on a daily basis.
  • I reply to negative reviews swiftly and respectfully, and work to resolve any issues directly with patients offline.
  • I thank reviewers who give positive feedback and add patient testimonials to my practice website.

3. Modern patient experience

In a world of increasing competition, patient retention is critical for continued growth. As part of their overall experience, patients put a premium on convenience, and they want to feel valued. PatientPop research shows that 69.4 percent of patients would switch doctors for convenience or a better experience. This tells us that any investments made into enhancing the patient experience position your practice for long-term rewards. Here are tried-and-true tactics designed to help modernize and enhance that experience.

My practice offers online scheduling.

  • Patients can book appointments directly via our practice website, 24/7.
  • Patients can book or request appointments via Google, and across a variety of third-party websites.

We send appointment reminders to reduce no-shows and improve each patient’s experience.

  • My practice sends multiple automated appointment reminders via email and two-way SMS/text.
  • My patients are able to confirm, cancel, or reschedule their appointments digitally.

Our patients can easily share post-appointment feedback.

  • Patients have the opportunity to provide feedback through multiple channels, including email and SMS/text.
  • Patients can easily share their experiences on review websites including Google.

4. Streamlined front office

Eliminating time-consuming, manual tasks is a strong strategy that creates efficiencies, and can improves patient and staff satisfaction — while also supporting your practice’s cost-containment efforts. Ditching old-school paperwork and archaic phone call reminders by employing a virtual practice model can help support your 2021 practice growth in ways your staff will appreciate. Kick off the new year by automating tedious front-office tasks using the following list as a guide.

My front-office staff has the technology to accomplish tasks with less work, in less time.

  • My practice sends automated appointment reminders, so staff does not have to manually contact patients.
  • Online appointment bookings automatically sync with our appointment calendar.
  • Patients can fill out registration and intake forms online before appointments, saving time for staff and patients.
  • My practice uses email marketing campaigns to share medical and practice information with patients, and to drive patient recall and retention.
  • My practice tracks business performance metrics, including attainment of patient acquisition and retention goals.
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Written by

Nadene Evans

Nadene is a marketing expert with years of healthcare journalism under her belt, having researched and published medical content for NurseFly, Vivian Health and other healthcare provider publications. An advocate for independent providers, Nadene helps small practices promote their businesses through digital marketing and great content.

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