Learn how to calculate the cost per patient

If you are thinking about opening your own clinic or practice, you know that it is important to be thorough when making the business plan, which among other items, includes the calculation of the cost per patient – the foundation upon which you can keep paying the bills on time.

It is true that each type of company has specific criteria, but there are calculations that are common to all, and not taking them into account can bring a lot of headaches. Therefore, in addition to the cost per patient, it is also necessary to calculate the cost per medical procedure to be performed.

But how do you find all these values? What to consider when calculating? In this article, we will answer those and some other questions. Keep reading to learn more!

Evaluate your expenses

Make a survey of all expenses. You can create categories, such as fixed costs – which include payments for rent, water, electricity, employees, etc. – and variable costs, which include various expenses such as supplies, hygiene and cleaning materials, coffee and others.

With these data in hand, you will get an idea of what is the monthly amount needed to keep the practice or clinic operating, and as a result, it will be possible to calculate the cost per patient according to the daily care capacity. Note that this amount is the minimum needed to keep things running.

Find the amount invested

It is necessary to estimate the direct expenses involved in purchasing or leasing equipment and furniture. Also remember to include the depreciation and the maintenance required for these items when calculating the cost per patient.

The inputs involved in the use of medical equipment – needles, paper towels, gel, disposable safety items, among others – should also be taken into account when calculating the cost of medical procedures.

In addition, you need to consider the average time that doctors and employees take to prepare procedures, rooms and equipment. During this period, it is not possible to see patients, and an empty room has a cost too.

Calculate the hourly/clinic rate

Now that you have the monthly practice expenses and the cost of investments, it is necessary to set the cost/hour of running your business. Take into account the days you plan to work and multiply by the average possible working hours per day.

If, for example, your calculation showed that you need $ 8,000.00 per month to maintain the structure, and you are able to work an average of 6 hours a day; considering 20 working days, it will be 120 hours per month. This means that your hourly/clinic rate is around $ 66.00 – in other words, this should be the minimum charged per hour in order to pay the bills.

Of course, this is a base value, to which you should add your profit margin, return on investments and other expenses that you deem necessary.

Analyze the patients

Research and get to know who your patients will be and what services they will need. Will it be just an appointment or will small procedures be made available on site? How long does each process take? Will you need to invest in any equipment?

Also evaluate the profile of those who will be assisted. Will the appointments be paid by the individual or by insurance? If it is a combination of both, what is the percentage of participation of each one in the revenue?

When calculating the cost per patient, you should consider the purchasing power of those who will attend the clinic, but it should be an adequate amount in order to be able to pay the expenses and ensure a good monthly cut.

Check the assistance margin

When thinking about the types of assistance, note which are the most common procedures and which provide the highest profit margin. It is worth investing in those that bring the greatest financial return and use it as the practice’s marketing strategy.

The calculation of the cost per medical procedure will show which is the most financially interesting and advantageous, and from there, you can combine the most profitable one with the most demanded one, thus balancing the revenue.

Calculate your profit margin

Now that you know what the expenses involved are and what the project’s service potential is, set how many hours you and other employees will be willing to work. These data will allow you to add the amount you deem to be fair as a profit margin to the cost per patient calculation.

Other factors can also help to determine the return you desire. Evaluate the specialties and procedures offered, the demand for professionals in the same field in the region, and the clinic’s standard.

Evaluate market prices

Of course, this research will not influence the final amount in the calculation of cost per patient, but it is always good to know the service, quality and prices practiced by competitors.

Seriously analyze the level of experience of the professional with whom you will share the patients’ attention. It is difficult to want to match the prices charged without considering the investment that both have made in their careers.

That way, you can reach a competitive price and, at the same time, add value to your business. In addition, it is important to create a competitive advantage or a trademark that helps your work to gain prominence.

Set the appointment times

With well-defined start and end times for your appointments, you optimize your service time and help minimize the chances of delays and waiting lines. There is no point in scheduling one patient for every 15 minutes if you need half an hour to meet them satisfactorily.

A good way to organize this is to invest in management software for the medical field. In addition to organizing and controlling appointments, it will also help in the administrative and bureaucratic part.

Use technology to your advantage

We have already said that the systems developed for the management of health businesses help organize schedules, control expenses and make life much easier for managers. There are software developed specifically for medical practices and clinics.

With all the information centralized, including the ones you will use to calculate the cost per patient and the cost per procedure, management becomes simpler and you will have more time to devote to what truly matters!

Do you need help organizing your company data? Contact us, we can help.