If you’re considering expanding your medical office, signing a new lease, or moving to a new office, it’s essential to examine the patient service mix of your area. This necessary market research will provide invaluable insight into patient volumes and potential demand for service, allowing you to make smart business decisions based on usable data. Having an understanding of the patient service mix will help you gauge resource needs in terms of space, staff, equipment, and accessibility.
Here’s how to go about it.
Undertake A Needs/Provider Assessment
A needs assessment is a way of determining the needs of a community. It usually consists of both qualitative and quantitative data. The latter can be obtained by looking at billing, financial, and demographic data, while the former can be achieved through interviews with industry experts and long-form studies and documents.
When preparing your needs assessment, strive to collect data from a variety of sources, as this will help provide a fuller picture of the needs of the area, as well as changing trends. When observing local trends, consider not just shifts in demographics, but also in the local healthcare market.
For example, is the local population younger or older, what languages do they speak, and how often and why do they typically seek treatment? Are they loyal to a specific provider, or do they shop based on price and convenience? What kind of services are already provided in your area, and how much of the market do they represent? Is there a shortage of certain medical specialties based on supply and demand?
By the Numbers
Once uncovered, the numbers will tell the story of the area. Typically, you’ll want to look at the numbers based on a five-mile radius of the potential location of your medical office.
Some numbers/statistics you’ll want to examine:
- The population density and growth rate
- The 65+ population
- The percentage of the population that has advanced degrees
- The percentage of the population that is employed full-time
- The median household income
- The median age of the population
- The payer mix (percentage of the population publicly insured, privately insured, and not insured)
Once you understand the patient mix and demographic profile, you can target a specific group of patients and start building a business case based on their needs.
Next Step: Begin Your Market Outreach
Now that you know who you’re trying to reach and what value you anticipate that they’ll bring to your clinic, the next step is to think about how you’ll attract them. Will you be referral-based, or will new patients find you at their discretion? Your answer will shape your outreach efforts. If referrals are your main source of business, you’ll want to engage other providers proactively. If patients are seeking you out, you’ll need to go to them with marketing efforts at their workplaces, schools, and local community centers.
All the Necessary Information
Understanding your area’s patient mix and what it means for your medical practice is vital to your success. Knowing what your local community needs now and, in the future, will help inform the decisions you make around the type of space you choose for your clinic, as well as the resources you’ll need to allocate toward staffing, equipment, and outreach. These will, in turn, drive your vision for your practice and its role in the community.
For help analyzing, defining, and taking advantage of the patient service mix in your area, or with selecting a medical office space aligned with your needs, get in touch with the medical realty experts at GZ. Our team is always happy to assist.