Report: 72% of patients choose physician based on word of mouth

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Word of mouth (72 percent) and a reputation for providing quality care (70 percent) were the two biggest factors physicians cited as increasing their patient volume, according to a recent report by Medcape.

For the report, titled "Practice Management Report: Strategies, Staff Issues, and Complaints," researchers surveyed 1,150-plus physicians from 25-plus specialties about how they managed their physician practices.

Here are five statistics from the report.

1. Apart from word of mouth and maintaining a reputation for quality care, physicians said accepting a patient's insurance (49 percent), appointment availability (42 percent) and a reputation for being an expert in their chosen specialty (38 percent) all contributed to increasing patient volume.

2. Most physicians (40 percent), whether they were self-employed or employed by a hospital or physician group, said they were satisfied with their practice's annual income.

3. Approximately 30 percent of physicians surveyed said they require patients to pay after their appointment, compared to 29 percent of physicians who said they require payment prior to seeing the patient.

4. To remind patients of overdue bills, physicians said they engage in specific actions:

  • Issue bill reminders via mail or email: 61 percent
  • Have an administrator call the patient: 49 percent
  • Require past due payments before scheduling an appointment: 42 percent
  • Turn bills over to a collection agency: 40 percent
  • Discontinue seeing the patient: 11 percent

5. The majority of physicians learn about patient complaints:

  • During a visit: 64 percent
  • Written complaints: 47 percent
  • Medical receptionists: 44 percent
  • Phone calls from patients: 43 percent
  • Periodic patient surveys: 36 percent
  • Online reviews: 17 percent
  • Suggestion box: 11 percent

To view the full report, click here.

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