Monetising your Practice
Dr Tamilarasan Senthil Founder Ophthall Practice Development
• How much Should I charge my Patients for Consultation?
• Is my Surgical Charges Right?
• Am I charging too Low for my services?
• Will I Lose patients if I charge more?
These are common questions which we as practicing Doctors keep asking regularly and do not have the right answer. Let us discuss a few concepts which can help us find the answers to these questions.
Charge for Value Provided:
As Doctors when we consult or operate on patients, we provide a certain level of value, and our charges should be proportionate to the value we provide and not based purely on market levels alone. For example, the average consultation fee for an Ophthalmologist is Rs 350 so I should also charge Rs 350, this is a wrong way of arriving at a pricing for consultation. If you are providing customized services and spending x amount of time for each patient and you are someone with experience and you work on value and not on volume, then you must fix your Fee accordingly. Even Surgical rates should be based on the value and level of service you provide and not according to market costs alone.
How much to charge:
“Acceptable, Expensive and Prohibitively Expensive”
There are three types of pricing models, Acceptable Price, Expensive Price and Prohibitively Expensive Price. An acceptable price is something where you are okie( not in a loss) and customer is happy, for example Rs 350 for a consultation , An Expensive Price is a value based price as discussed in the above section, so you charge for the value, customer may feel it’s a little expensive but is okie to pay for the value he received – For example Rs 750 for a consultation , A prohibitively expensive price may drive out customers, for example Rs 2500 for a consultation.
Focus on Benefits:
Whenever we communicate details of a Procedure for example Cataract surgery we should focus on the benefits the patient will get when we implant a particular type of Intra Ocular Lens( IOL) but common mistake we or our counsellors make is that we focus on features of the Intra Ocular lens, for example this lens is made of abc material, and is imported and so on, what we have to focus is on how the patient will get benefitted by this surgical procedure, for example better near vision, cosmetic benefit of multifocal lenses, not requiring to wear glasses to read the newspaper, enhanced contrast while driving in night time and so on. We have to sell the surgeon and not the Intraocular lens
Differential Pricing Strategy
Let’s take example of a Coffee sold in star bucks, for same product there are very many different pricing and combinations, similarly we should also try to have differential pricing for our services, for example consultation by Junior Doctor is 500 Rupees and by Senior Doctor is 750 rupees, Surgery by Dr X is 25000 and Dr Y is 35000(More experienced Doctor), Consultation on Sundays should be charged more and so on
Create Right Packages:
“Leaders, Fillers and Killers”
For every package there are three components for example a Mc Donald’s Burger combo, the leader product or main product is the Burger, the filler is coca cola , French fries which can add value to the package and customers love it, but the wrong or killer product to add in the package would be coffee, since coffee has to be sold separately to earn revenues and should not be added in the package since most people don’t want the coffee in the combo. Similarly consider a Glaucoma Package, or a Cataract surgery package, you should be adding the right product in the package as per the above concept.
Many of us are scared to increase our surgical fee or consultation fee, since we are not sure of what will be the willingness of our patients to pay and if we will lose patients. Only way to do this is to communicate the value being offered to patients and increase the charges gradually and experiment step by step. Let say increase consultation fee from 500 to 600 and see if there is a drop in number of patients and then slowly progress to the next level of increase. We will discuss more on this topic
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