New-patient Benchmarks

Is there a benchmark for new-patient appointments as a percentage of total appointments?

Question: Is there a benchmark for new-patient appointments as a percentage of total appointments?

Answer: According to the "National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey 2001" (published in 2003), 13.2 percent of the "average" physician's office visits were with new patients. Of course, this percentage depends on your specialty - for surgical specialists, who rely on a turnover of patients, the percentage should be much higher, but for primary-care physicians, the 8 percent to 12 percent range is fine. The greatest measure is to track your new-patient ratio over time - if you're satisfied with your volume, then just make sure that the rate doesn't dip.

The survey is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

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