The core reason behind monitoring your competition is to compare the level of service and care you provide to your patients compared to other practices in an endeavour to find ways to improve. You want to ensure you have the best level of service in order to receive positive feedback from current patients and increase new patient sign-ups.
To effectively monitor your competitors, you should follow these four steps:
Determine who your competitors are
As patients tend to access GP practices in their postcode area, your competitors are likely to be practices that share the same postal code. Create a list of potential competitors based on your geographical area.
Once you have chosen your key competitors, you need to begin the monitoring process. However, you need to ensure you have a clear focus to understand which areas you want to compare. Therefore, it is important to focus on areas that patients consider to be significant to them as these determine their choice of GP. Some of the key factors that patients value is the easy access to appointments, convenient opening times, trusted GPs and their overall experience. Each one of these factors should be used as a category for comparison. Alongside this, you will have to create a scale in which you would like to rank against and determine what you have to do to reach each level.
Once you have collated all the information, it would be beneficial to input this into a competitor matrix, so you can visualise your ranking against your competitors. Take for example the diagram below, this is a template format of how you could layout your competitor matrix and alter based on your ranking criteria.
You can then put this into a chart format to really visualise how you stack up.
Learn from the Best
For the practices that rank above you or outperform you in one of the criteria, it is worth outreaching and requesting details on how they run their practice. Say for example one of the practices has great access to appointments, then it would be worth investigating what they do differently and how you could implement changes to your practice. Do they have an efficient online booking system or a strict cancellation policy to avoid wasted appointments? Whatever it may be, use their procedures as a best practice that you can follow.
It is important to repeat this on a regular basis, to see if you are improving your ranking over time after you have implemented the changes, to evaluate if you are benefiting from the changes.