Healthcare Private Practice Predictions for 2024


Firstly an apology - I would normally create a video and an audio to go with my blog posts but these will have to come retrospectively as I've had laryngitis for over a week and so have not been able to record anything for this New Year's blog post - 😒 sorry.


Predicting 2024 in private practice

This is a biggie and I make no apologies for that - this is important stuff to be aware of.

None of us know what the next 12 months will bring, COVID taught us that, but I wanted to try and give you a taste of things I think will influence our industry and your practice in 2024 (based on things I have observed in the last 12 months and the thoughts of other experts in our industry), so you can be prepared.

Of course, I know none of this for certain, and you are all running very different kinds of practices in different professions and locations, so please do not take any of this as specific business advice. More just keep these ideas in the back of your mind and do your local due diligence accordingly, as you plan your practice development for the year ahead.


Healthcare practice influences


As the owner of a small local healthcare practice, your business is influenced by many elements both internal and external.
Internal influences are ones that you usually have some control over. Things like you, your personality and vision for the practice, the career aspirations of the individuals in the practice, your strengths and skills as a team, the cash flow and profit of the practice, as well as your comfort level with, and access to technology.

But here I want to focus on the external factors.

The things you have much less control over.

The things that are coming your way whether you like it or not.

How you do what you do in your small private practices is influenced externally by the ever changing trends in these 3 key areas :

  • Your profession & the healthcare industry as a whole
  • Patient/consumer behaviour
  • Local marketing trends


There is so much I could talk about in all of these areas 😳 but I know your time is precious so I've chosen 4 of the most prominent trends I see coming around the corner in 2024 in each of these key areas.

You are then free to create your own Venn diagram to show what you feel will impact you and your practice the most, and where you want to focus your attention in 2024 😁.




I also have one word of warning before we go on - well several actually 😁.

I believe that 2024 will be the year when practices failing to embrace technology will really flounder, experiencing reduced patient numbers and declining revenue because they are clinging to the wreckage of the belief that "My patients are not digital users". If that is you, and you want your practice to survive beyond the next 5 years, this is your final warning. This is the year you need to step up and focus on increasing your use of digital systems and digital marketing in your practice. 

 OK, so with that uncomfortable truth out of the way, what do you need to take note of so that you can work on futureproofing your practice?

Let's start by taking a look at . . .  


My top 4 healthcare industry trends for 2024


1. Growing use of AI based technology

Unless you have been living under a rock you can't fail to have noticed that generative artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere and is already seeping into many areas of medical practice. AI is already helping with history taking, clinical assessment, imaging, therapeutic intervention, and research, but how is it going to influence your practice in the next 12 months?

I suspect that you are seeing AI talked about everywhere, are possibly feeling it is all consuming, going at a crazy speed, and you are already getting left behind.

Well, fear not, I agree with Robert Galvin that that is not a true reflection of the real situation. 

Headlines and hype will make it seem as if the revolution in medical care is already a done deal. But it isn’t, as far as most clinical medicine goes. Close attention to the media barrage will reveal a lot of present participles and future tense qualifiers like “are looking into,” and “are in process of."
The administrative side of medicine will see traction but at the bedside, fears of GIGO - garbage in, garbage out - will prevail." 

Robert Galvin, Blackstone


In 2024 I think we will see the need within the healthcare industry for responsible and trustworthy use of AI, slowing down the speed of adoption and integration. So, it might feel crazy and there will be many headlines to scare you, and progress will be made in this field certainly in large hospitals and commercial healthcare settings, but I think it is not going to be quite as full on for you as it might feel.

I also think that AI integration won't be as difficult for you as a solo practitioner or small practice owner as you might be anticipating either because some of the doing will be done for you. For example, practice management software developers will do a lot of the leg work to incorporate AI into your practice in terms of utilisation for administration efficiencies, as will the platforms you may use in your marketing like Canva and Mailchimp.

As an aside - the success of AI integration largely hinges on the quality of the data it is given to work with. So 2024 might need to be the year you get your digital record ducks in a row, making sure you have easily available, quality patient data ready and waiting.

In short, I think the hype around AI will be greater than the speed of integration in small practices, certainly in this next year, but it is coming!



2. Taking better care of our people

The COVID pandemic created a rapid decline in the welfare of healthcare professionals at work. A situation that had been on the slide for some time. As a consequence, practitioners burnt out by stress, long demanding hours, struggling with mental health issues, feeling undervalued, and personally and professionally unfulfilled, started leaving healthcare professions, looking for more sustainable, rewarding, fulfilling work.

Clinicians, our support staff, and us as practice owners for that matter, are still feeling these things, and quick fixes like at work massage, volunteer days, and free teabags and biscuits are not enough to redress the balance.

In 2024 I predict a bigger focus on setting stronger boundaries and protecting the welfare of the human element in our practices. I hope to see a surge of practices taking steps to address the real problems by taking time to understand the career aspirations, personal drivers, skills, concerns, and passions of everyone in the practice. Then incorporating that knowledge to reduce burnout and stress for practitioners with tech and altered working practices, mixing up clinical offerings, and implementing creative reward schemes that support individuals in developing themselves and their careers.

In short, you need to listen to what your people want from their work and then get proactive and creative about supporting them in achieving it and at the same time creating a nurturing culture to work in.


I believe this will have to happen because my 3rd prediction is . . . 



3. Ongoing difficulties with recruitment and retention

We are struggling globally with a shortage of qualified, passionate, and available health practitioners and I don't see this letting up anytime soon. This problem ripples all the way down to small local practices like yours, where the importance of considering personality, beliefs, and values adds another layer of complexity to effective recruitment, and in time retention. 

We are caught in a difficult position, where demand for private healthcare services is booming but the people power to deliver those services is not keeping step. 
My prediction for 2024 is that this situation will continue, but that the practices that come out on top in this battle for personnel, will not necessarily be the ones able to pay the bigger salaries, but the ones that can show they care by understanding the importance of individual values, needs, and aspirations and find creative ways to incorporate those elements into the work environment, practice culture, and employment packages they offer.  I predict that those practices that offer, and importantly deliver, a genuine lifestyle and career development package and not just a "job" will be the practices that come out on top when it comes to recruitment and retention in 2024. 

In short, you need to create exciting lifestyle and career opportunities, not just "jobs" to attract and retain quality people. 



4. Focus on prevention

This won't be relevant to everyone in clinical practice but . . . partly driven by research, partly driven by the health insurance industry, partly fuelled by the growing financial burden of ill health in many countries, and partly fuelled by a population who want to avoid the downward spiral of ill health experienced by previous generations, I believe 2024 will see a rise in the need for healthcare provision to be increasingly focussed on prevention.
Dentistry has been using this model for many years, so it is nothing new, but I believe all of these external forces are bringing about a position where prevention will ned to be part of yor deliverables as a private practice. 

Personally, I think consumer interest in this as a paid service will initially be slow, because how do you prove something hasn't happened but probably/may be/might have/would have?
However, I think that those practices that see this trend coming can get ahead if they start:

  • Producing prevention based education material
  • Developing an opinion and brand voice around preventative health in their field
  • Looking at how they might package and deliver these services
  • Practice communicating and demonstrating the value of prevention
  • Embracing the use of any relevant predictive technology and research
  • Start incorporating prevention elements into their rehab work

I believe doing so will put them well ahead of their competitors, so at the point (possibly not 2024) where patients are ready to pay for prevention and insurance companies are insisting on preventative care, they are ready to step in and deliver those services.

 In short, start focusing on prevention education and adding it to your clinical services over time.


My top 4 patient consumer trends for 2024


1. We want speed

We've come a very long way since Maverick and Goose in the iconic 80's film Top Gun, between them, uttered the immortal words

“I feel the need...”

“the need... for speed!”

(It still makes me smile 😁πŸ₯°)
But fuelled by online businesses like Amazon, Netflix, and Google we are all becoming accustomed to and quite possibly addicted to speed. Specifically speed of delivery of a customer service.

  • Think how quickly Amazon will deliver something you never knew you needed if you live in a big city and are a Prime member – within a few hours
  • How quickly can Netflix serve you up a bingeable TV series – in a matter of seconds
  • How quickly does Google deliver a detailed list of relevant online sources? – 0.3 seconds for the last Google search I performed

Speed is becoming the norm and a serious buying consideration for many consumers, and like it or not, your patients are consumers of your services.


“Speed and responsiveness should be job one in any customer experience enhancement initiative.”

Jay Bear


So what does this mean for you in your practice?

Speed of response - When contacting a business, customers expect a response within four hours on most channels, and within one hour in some cases.

Speed in booking – Automated, easy to use, 24/7 online booking is a must.

Speed in availability of appointments – you need a system that reserves space every week for new patients and urgent follow ups. I believe that systematic re-booking may become a thing of the past fairly soon to free up diary space to allow faster appointment availability.

Speed of processing – you need slick systems and processes that keep the registration, assessment, and diagnosis part of the patient journey as short as possible.

Speed of throughput – In a recent study 47% of customers said they would not tolerate a wait for assistance of more than 3 minutes in a store, and I bet it won’t be much more in healthcare, so you need to make sure you are routinely keeping to your clinical appointment times.

Speed of payment - in this day and age there is no excuse for complicated time consuming payment processes. Make sure you have a great system and a backup in case it doesn't work.

Speed of reviews – utilising telehealth appointments or simple telephone follow ups to reduce the time taken to return for a review appointment.

Speed of recovery - People are accepting that clinical recovery takes time – although with advances in technology those practices offering the fastest results (even though they cannot be guaranteed) will win over those that can’t.

Interestingly as we are becoming accustomed to speed, we are also being conditioned, in many cases that we have to pay more for those services. Amazon Prime and Netflix memberships are great examples.
So greater speed in your practice can equate to generating more revenue.

 In short, make your systems and processes as slick as possible.



2. We expect things to be personalised

Again, thanks (or not 😳) to the likes of Amazon, Netflix, and advertisers like Google and their use of AI generated algorithms, we are becoming very used to a bespoke personalised experience from these service providers.

Amazon greets you by name when you log in and will suggest other things you might like to buy based on your browsing and purchase history - they know you and use that to sell more stuff.

Netflix collates watch time data and your feedback on the movies and programmes you watch and makes suggestions of other things you might like to watch based on percentage matching that data with other programmes. I’d say 8/10 times it makes a pretty solid suggestion, saving me the time and effort of searching for something else to watch.

And you only need to be talking about wanting to book a holiday in Turkey and Google will start showing you adverts for holiday accommodation in Bodrum, and travel insurance right in your browser 2 seconds later.

Day in and day out we are exposed to a curated customer experience and that is becoming the norm.

So, when you as a health provider send out a Dear Patient generic practice newsletter to everyone on your mailing list, or you send out an offer for older patients to every one of your existing patients no matter what their age, your marketing is going to start falling short of what we are used to and expect. Big corp are raising the bar and we have to work out how we follow suit with smaller budgets and no specialist expertise in our team.

 So in 2024, I recommend you start interrogating your practice management software and seeing how you can personalise their experience more for your patients using tagging, email, SMS, and alert automation, along with services like personalised video messaging from Bonjoro or Manychat to automated personalised responses in your social DMs. There are cost-effective, relatively simple ways to do it.


 In short, personalise the patient experience as much as possible



3.  Sustainability is hot

So this isn't me just licking a finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing 😁. It's now a fact that consumers are increasingly being drawn to businesses that demonstrate environmental responsibility and sound ethics, a trend that you could use to differentiate yourselves from your local competition if you genuinely care about these things.

In the recent report - 52 Huge Environmentally Conscious Consumer Statistics the author identified that:

  • 78% of consumers feel that sustainability is important.
  • 62% of people say they “always or often” seek products to purchase because they are sustainable
  • 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly brands.
  • 84% of customers say that poor environmental practices will alienate them from a brand or company.

We are now living in a time when consumers have never been more conscious of the social and environmental impact of the purchases they are making and are intentionally seeking out businesses and products that match their expectations in this regard.

So how could you work to reduce your environmental impact and increase your social responsibility?

 In short, take time to understand what concerns your dream patients have in this area and look to mirror their views in the way you do business BUT ONLY if they align with your own views too!!!



4. The need to embrace health ownership and proactivity

For many years in healthcare, we have been in a place where many patients wanted a quick fix, a magic pill that required little effort on their part to give them the result they wanted. As practitioners, we have been frustrated by the limited outcomes achieved by patients failing to play their part. But I believe we are seeing a change and that patients are moving from passive consumers of healthcare services to a more proactive approach, taking ownership of their health and well being. Driven I believe by a huge increase in wearable healthcare technology, availability of quality information, and a big increase in the number of health advocates finding a voice on social media, patients are becoming more interested and more importantly engaged with and empowered to take ownership of their health.

"In 2024 we’ll see the continued growth of a specific type of consumer – the proactive health manager. That isn’t someone who works in the health care industry, but those who actively take measures to better manage their health."

Tom Hedges

This switch, even though it's what we've been crying out for for years, comes with its challenges.


Patients taking ownership of their health has been challenging for some in the medical profession😳


Indeed self-diagnosis and the demanding of certain treatments with the help of Dr Google can be frustrating and difficult to deal with, but as the availability of consumer facing health technology and information increases, this trend is only going in one direction.

We can't have it both ways if we want our patients to be proactive in helping themselves and taking ownership of their health.

It is now our responsibility to make sure the information people access is high quality, research based, and accurate by making our websites, YouTube channels, and Google Business profiles great sources of accessible high quality information AND your marketing needs to be effective in getting this information into the hands of the people who need to hear it.


In short, you need to be encouraging of this behaviour not derisive, and become an enabler by providing information and services that supports this new bread of healthcare consumers.


N.B. You don't have to like what is happening
you just have to understand things have changed
and that you need to change to keep up with
the evolving nature 
of patient consumerism.



My top 4 local marketing trends for 2024


1. Going all in on Google

For all of you who hate the need for social media in your marketing mix, I bring great news. Online behaviour is shifting and social media usage is down!!
It's no secret that the companies that own the major social media platforms are in a holding pattern with them, not really investing in their future. For now, they generate great revenue but their focus is clearly away from social media and on AI and developments like the Metaverse.

Now before you rush off and delete your accounts I want to be clear, millions of people are still using the various platforms every day so there are still big benefits to having a presence on a strategically chosen platform - i.e. where your dream patient still hangs out (just maybe a little less often). So it is still very useful to have one really active social media account.

That said if I were you I'd have one eye on where else I should be focussing my online efforts and for me, there are 2 obvious contenders - the first one is Google (I'll talk about the second one in a minute)

To be honest I wouldn't mind betting that if you interrogated your website data, you're probably already getting more new patients coming from Google than social media anyway!!

So in 2024, I'd get very focused on:

1. Proactively managing your Google Business profile effectively, sharing posts, getting new reviews, updating images, creating special offers, and driving website traffic from your profile (see point 2)

3. Get comfortable using Google Analytics on your website to inform your marketing strategy

 2. Start using Google ads to raise awareness of your practice, who you help, and how you help, as well as to directly sell your service.

A note on Google ads - I know lots of practices have had poor experiences trying Google ads, but in my experience, this only happens if you or the person managing your ads do not know what they're doing.
Google ads work - this is because the ads get shown to people at the moment they are searching for that very thing and data shows users perceive contextual ads more positively than other forms of advertising, making them more likely to click on ads displayed in the context of their current Googling.
For more information on effective Google ads check out our Google Ads Programme

In short, double down on your use of and engagement with Google marketing tools to bolster your online presence.

The second place I'd be focusing is . . . 


2. Investment in your website is essential

As social media use is slowly falling, but online digital or audio search and research show no sign of slowing down,  you need to make sure your digital presence elsewhere is as strong as it can be, so as well as giving Google some attention I predict that in 2024 investing time and money in your website, providing you work with people who understand marketing, will be a wise investment.

Your website is the only piece of digital real estate that you fully own and control. It is effectively a business asset so an investment here is very rarely going to be a waste of resources.

I recommend you focus on:

  • Upgrading your site's functionality - to include online booking and payment, super simple navigation, easy readable fonts, easy communication channels, and of course making it fully mobile enabled
  • Updating existing content - don't reinvent the wheel, use your analytics to see what content gets the most attention and make it more current, create more engagement with videos, quizzes, polls, and more internal linking
  • Incorporate more effective local SEO practices including well researched keywords, FAQ's written in schema markup, and keyword based meta descriptions and alt tags (if you don't know what any of this means get expert help)
  • Creating more engagement - use more videos that educate, entertain or engage in activity


In short, take time to turn your website into a really effective marketing tool and valuable business asset

3. We need more community

I have for a long time been an advocate of focusing some of your marketing energy on building a community of local people around a common interest, around your practice, and as our lives become faster paced and often more disconnected from real people, I believe that on a local level, the practices who take time in 2024 to curate a real sense of community around their practice will reap the rewards.

More and more research is pointing at the fact that belonging to a community, having purpose, and human connection are all factors that lead to longer happier lives, and while big businesses are focused on the use of AI to facilitate business growth, I believe small businesses can benefit from building meaningful people focussed communities locally.


So in 2024, I think you need to do 2 things relating to your community:

1. Identify how you can build an engaged community with a collective interest - think about interests or pathologies to create common ground to attract people - Here is a brand new group started by one of our clients as a great example - with the intention of connecting people locally who share similar concerns and supporting them collectively.

2. Get good at articulating why what you do in your practice matters on a local level - people will feel a human connection and will be attracted to being part of something focussed on supporting local people to a better quality of life.

So then you are supporting your business but at the same time also supporting the real people around you.

If you are part of our Thrivers Club you can access the community building module here


In short, give time to establishing an active community around a common theme in your local area.


4. Authentic short form videos are not going away

Videos have been at the forefront of brand messaging and audience reach for a number of years now and I do not expect to see any signs of that slowing down in 2024.

So if you haven't already embraced it, 2024 should be the year that you get on board with producing educational, entertaining, or inspiring vertical format, short form videos.
Owing to the addictive nature of short form video there is a never ending demand for vertical videos, 3 minutes and under in duration, that either entertain, educate, or engage.

The secret is to make them authentic, with no fakery or corporate spin, with a genuine easy to understand message and good quality video and audio – note good, not brilliant!!

These kinds of videos can be cost-effective, quick to make, and impactful, plus they can be repurposed across lots of different platforms with little in the way of editing, meaning you get a lot of mileage from one easy to make video.

This brilliant example of a Christmas video went viral and got Charlie’s bar in Enniskillen Northern Ireland more publicity than it could ever imagined and cost about £700 to make.


@charliesbarenniskillen ‘There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met’ (W. B. Yeats) πŸ’« Filming & Editing: @aoifeteague1 #christmasad #christmasadvert #christmasadvert2023 #christmasadvert23 #christmasadvertisement #christmas2023 #northernireland #northernirelandtiktok #northernirelandfyp #irishbar #irishpub #christmaspub ♬ People Help the People - Birdy

 I hope that inspires you to have a go with short form videos if you haven't already. Please tag us in any videos you share on Instagram or TikTok so we can see what you are doing - @Practicemomentum.


OK that pretty much wraps up my predictions for healthcare private practice in 2024. If you made it this far, thanks for your attention and your time. If you have any comments or questions please use the comments at the bottom of this page.

I want to wish you and your practice all the best for a Thriving 2024 and if you are not a member already I hope to see you around inside our  free Practice Momentum Academy  

Until next time


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