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Five Steps to Building a Successful Pain Practice…Anywhere

In large metropolitan areas, building a pain practice is agreeably easier than to build the same business in a smaller city.  For starters, there is a larger patient pool to draw from.  Likewise, because many other medical practices will have specialized in one thing or another, referrals will be more common.  However, with the right approach, building a successful pain practice should be possible almost anywhere.  Here are five keys to building a successful pain practice.

  1. Know your market: not all pain patients are created equal.  Some patients will present with chronic debilitating pain from an underlying condition, while others may have more acute pain from trauma.  Each kind of patient will have different pain management needs and it’s your job to know how to cater to those.  But that’s obvious, no?  

    When we talk about knowing your market, we mean “who” are these people and what do they “care” about.For instance, with the opioid crisis on the front page of the newspaper every day it’s easy to assume that every patient is hoping for pain pills, but in truth many patients do not want them at all.Whether they do not tolerate the medication or hold strong religious beliefs against their use, knowing the people in your community and their inclination is key to providing a satisfying experience – one that will create a repeat visit and word of mouth.

  2. Reduce risk: remember those pill-seeking patients we talked about a few moments ago?  You need to have alternatives.  Options not only open your practice to greater numbers of patients, they also help you weed out addicts and other patients who may present greater risks to your practice.

  3. Invest in marketing: price, product, promotion, and place – the four P’s of marketing that you may recall from your college business class.  A solid marketing plan tells you where and how you’ll find patients.  Whether you develop your plan yourself or hire someone to handle the details, you need to think about marketing your practice.  “Price” is a concept that doesn’t get discussed very often in non-politicized discussions of medicine, but the fact is that price matters.  For a patient facing a high annual deductible, access to a lower cost alternative therapy may be the thing that brings them through the door for the first time.

  4. Find the right billing partner: “you can’t be good at everything” as the saying goes. Not all billing companies are created equal when it comes to pain management reimbursement.  Make sure you find an organization that can guide you and add value in this specific area of medicine.

  5. Creating loyal patients: finally, go the extra mile in creating a welcoming and safe environment for your patients.  Pain is an extraordinarily personal experience that can make one agitated and distracted.  Take steps like decorating and outfitting your waiting room to please both parents and children.  Make sure you print out instructions for medications or device use as your patient may not catch every word you say.  Ask your receptionists to place follow-up calls to patients just to inquire how they are feeling – it will go a long way to differentiating your practice from other providers.