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Patient Demographics

Marital Status, Children, Continuity and Turnover!

More keys to cash flows!

            So far we have discussed the following patient demographics, trends and impact on cash flow: Ability to pay!, Health Condition, Age, Gender, Nationality/ Race/ Religion, Occupation and Income level.

            Now we will discuss Marital status, Number of children, Continuity and Turnover.


Marital Status and Number of Children

The attitude toward marriage and families has changed dramatically in many parts of the world and continues to change. After World War II the number of marriages and children dramatically increase and the generation was named “baby boomers”. This generation was a highly positive driver for the healthcare industry and increased the number of practitioners in all specialties, especially pediatrics, gynecology and family practices areas. It stimulated the growth of hospitals, clinics and other forms of healthcare institutions.

This was the period of corporate healthcare benefits. The population was young, growing and for the most part healthy. The period also stimulated the growth of the suburbs and the move from the urban areas. Family was the focus.

In recent years this has changed and continues to change. The number of non-married couples living together has increased. The marriage age has increased and more and more of the “couples” are electing to delay or even rejecting having families.

Further over 45% of the marriages today end in divorce and in some cases multiple marriages and divorces. Divorce negatively impacts the ability of the parents to pay for healthcare. There are an increasing number of one parent or no-parent families.           

This has changed the type of healthcare. There are fewer needs pediatrics, obstetrics and even family practices. The need for specialties focusing on AIDS, and other similar diseases is increasing.

The number of “fatherless” families has increased and the growth populations are primarily among the poorer segment of the population.

It is important for healthcare providers to know the mix of married, unmarried and the size of the family to determine the type of services and specialties required. If the population is declining it may force some to decide to move to other areas where they are increasing and will support their services. Remember that these trends and attitudes towards marriage and children will continue to change!

Marital status

PERCENTAGE          5   10 15    20   25   30   35     40   50   60   70   80   90     100

MARRIED                                                             <——x

SAME SEX MARRIED            

SINGLE                                                  X—–>

DIVORCED                                   X—->


Number of children

PERCENTAGE           5   10   15    20   25   30   35     40   50   60   70   80   90     100

NONE                                                             X—–>

ONE                                                     X—–>

TWO                              < ——- X

THREE                            X

FOUR                          X



Patient Continuity/ Turnover and Frequency of Use

Good healthcare requires that the provider have a long-term and continuing relationship and understanding of the patient and their healthcare history. This requires patient continuity. The longer the relationship the better the ability to diagnose, prescribe and treat the patient. If there is a continuing turnover of patients then the provider is more like a public clinic than a personal guide and consultant.

Record how long and how frequent the patients have been using your services. It is also worthwhile to note the reasons for their visits. If the patient only comes when they are sick this will mean that the provider will not have the insights in the changes that may cause the problem. If however the patients are convinced they need to have a “long-term” wellness program the provider will be able to provide help in improving the overall health of the patient and be able anticipate and even prevent some illnesses.

From a cash flow perceptive the ability to convince the patient to have periodic check ups, annual physicals, have the appropriate “shots”, will not only enhance the patients health but will also enhance the cash flow of the practice.

How Long a Patient?

PERCENTAGE            5   10   15    20   25   30   35     40   50   60   70   80   90   100

NEW                                                       X

ONE YEAR                                                   X

TWO YEARS                             X

THREE YEARS                             X

FOUR YEARS                 X


How Frequent ?           5   10   15    20   25   30   35     40   50   60   70   80   90   100



QUARTERLY                                X

SEMI-ANNUAL                                      X

ANNUAL                                                X

ONLY WHEN NEEDED                             X——-à


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Categories: Business Strategy

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