Maintain, Grow Market Share

Vol. 19 • Issue 9 • Page 18

Perspectives In Pathology

The most important byproduct of the billing process aside from cash in the bank is creation of management information to monitor the effectiveness of billing efforts and have information to make timely strategic decisions as well as maintain and enhance a practice’s financial stability and market share.

Pathology practices and laboratories often utilize their billing and collection reports to monitor financial data such as collections, charges, contract adjustments and bad debt. However, some do not realize their billing and collection reports also contain valuable information that can be utilized to monitor and maintain clients and identify opportunities for business development.

Inpatient, Outpatient and Non-patient

Factors and politics impacting work referred in a hospital setting may differ from those affecting work referred from a physician office. Therefore, it is important to be able to analyze this information separately.

Your billing provider should be able to track and report on work by place of service. For example, one place of service may be “ABC Hospital In- and Outpatient,” and another place of service may be “ABC Referring Physician Office” or “Non-patient.” A physician may be referring work performed in a hospital to your practice because of your affiliation with the hospital and may be utilizing another provider for work coming from the physician office setting.

Comparing these places of services by physician will allow you to identify possible new business opportunities by approaching those physicians who are
utilizing your practice in the hospital setting but not the referring physician office.

Referring Physicians

An important part of client maintenance is identifying and monitoring referral patterns of referring physician client accounts.

Each month, PSA provides billing clients with a “unit trend report,” which lists referring physicians grouped by practice and the number of units referred by each physician for the trailing 12 months. Monitoring this information will provide the resources necessary to measure fluctuations in referring physician clients and take proactive marketing efforts to maintain existing business.

Eighty percent of your referral volume is received from your top 20 clients. The unit trend report also provides the percentage of outreach volume referred from each client. Understanding where your referral work is coming from will help ensure your practice is focusing its client maintenance efforts effectively.

Identify Leakage

Never assume your practice is receiving all of the work from any referral source. Analyze top referring physician clients by physicians to compare monthly volumes and ordering trends within the practice. Is there a physician in the group who is referring less to your practice compared to his colleagues? Investigate to determine if there is an opportunity to increase these referrals.

Specialty and Geography

Analyzing the report by specialty and geography is another tool to better understand your client mix. Identifying the top referring specialties will assist in focusing your marketing efforts on issues specific to that specialty.

As well, sorting by geography is a way to analyze your client list and will assist in identifying areas for business development. Perhaps there is a town in which you receive no referrals, but your courier travels through en route to another area. This is an excellent way to grow your business in areas that already have established courier routes.

Business Development

After identifying your top clients, identify those clients who make up the bottom 20% of your referral business. Consider it an opportunity to identify those clients who are not referring a majority of their work to you or who have not referred anything for numerous months. Target these clients that you already have a relationship with to determine if there is an opportunity to gain additional referrals.

Leigh Polk is business support services director for PSA, a billing company partnering with over 80 pathology practices and clinical labs in 30 states.

Tips to Grow Market Share

• Approach physician clients about adding services in new settings.

• Define referral work sources and monitor drops.

• Determine ways to increase numbers of referrals from practices/physicians.

• Analyze business by specialty and geography to target marketing.

• Identify the bottom 20% of your referral business to gain new referrals.