Digital health interoperability for new client acquisition

By Yianni Serpanos | Nov 11, 2018

In this blog I will share my thoughts on why digital health interoperability is a must have for a modern health practice.

In private practice it’s easy to fall into the mindset that you’re a standalone business fighting it out in a competitive and noisy digital space (like google search) with an ever-increasing cost to promote and advertise.

So why are you doing this? Well…you have to find new clients, right?

Well yes, of course you do…but why are we spending so much time, money and effort on appealing to self-referrers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to suggest that you stop doing that…but it’s important to be thinking consciously about why we do anything repeatedly within our health practices.

I’ve been thinking about how much effort our subscribers are putting into finding new clients and I’ve come to believe that most private practice owners think they are just an independent business.

After all, it’s called “private” practice…we’ve got an ABN…we lodge our own tax returns, BAS etc…of course we’re a standalone business!

But here’s a thought…Whilst you are the owner or director of your healthcare practice, you’re unable to operate such a business without being or having AHPRA registered health practitioners providing the services.

And why is AHPRA issuing registrations? So as to promote public confidence in anyone calling themselves a health provider with a practitioner type listed under the Act.

This is an important context to remind ourselves of: we are simultaneously private practices as well as a part of the healthcare system in Australia.

So a health practice is in fact a stand alone business whilst simultaneously being an integral part of Australia’s healthcare system.

Or put another way, each private practice is potentially the first point of access for Australian’s seeking access to healthcare, OR, the second or third etc… across a continuum of healthcare being provided to your client by other healthcare providers.

You are in fact an integral part of Australia’s healthcare system.

With this in mind, it seems essential then that when you think about client acquisition, retention and engagement, all your planning should have a component that acts toward making it as easy as possible for the rest of the healthcare system to inter-operate with your practice.

If you have never thought this way, then I hope this article expands your mind to an incredible opportunity that modern health practices who embrace the digital health interoperability channels that are now built into coreplus.

Client acquisition made easy with interoperability

Whilst I can talk about digital health interoperability in a variety of aspects such as clinical governance, privacy, security and the fact that the Australian Digital Health Agency has set the standard to comply with in this area, in this article I’m going to instead focus specifically on new client acquisition as one of the main benefits as to why you should take up digital health interoperability today and make sure you’re part of a connected digital health care system.

Let’s go through several conventional ways that we make ourselves available for prospective clients to find and book our services.

Clients book appointments with us generally as follows:

1.     Reception/ Front Desk: They walk into our clinics and make a booking with our receptionist

2.     Inbound Call Handling: They call our advertised phone number/s and make a booking with our receptionist

3.     Inbound/ Digital Marketing: They search advertising online or via other directories/ listings etc… to find practitioners in our field, do further research on our websites and either submit a contact form or call us.

4.     Website Management: similar to above but based on making a book now capability available for online bookings via website or social media channels

For tutorial purposes, we will generally define a new client as an “acquisition”.

Therefore, to understand this key benefit of digital health interoperability in business terms we need to consider the cost of new client acquisition associated with the above methods.

In simple terms, the client acquisition costs could be defined as follows:

Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) =

Client acquisition cost formula for private practices

And so, if:

Time period = Monthly, And

New Clients in time period = 10, And

The average monthly cost of operating the methods listed above are as follows:

CAC per new client per month
Client acquisition methods commonly used


NB: These amounts are for tutorial purposes. Please consider your own actual costs in time, HR, technology, services etc… that are necessary to be in place to support each method.

Then CAC per new client, per month, would equal:

CAC per new client per month for private practices

This example helps form an understanding for what each new client costs our health practices on a month to month basis.

The lower the acquisition cost is, the better the return to the practice for a given set of healthcare services being provided.

Now let’s consider the same assumptions above but based on the cost of operating digital health interoperability with coreplus. 

At the date of this article, we do not charge any fees to set up digital health interoperability, no annual fees, no service fees and no transaction fees. Therefore, the incremental direct cost for this exercise is based on a bit of your time to review new client referrals listed in your secure messaging in-box. I’ve estimated that might cost around $50/ Month in time/ effort.

Digital health interoperability’s outstanding Return on Investment opportunity


Digital Health Interoperability

To put this another way, let’s consider the Return On Investment (ROI) associated with the investment in each client acquisition method.

If on average you obtain $340 in revenue for each new client acquired, then the ROI for each of the methods based on the figures above are as follows:

NB: These amounts are for tutorial purposes and our assumption is based on 4 sessions at $85/ session. There’s a more detailed free calculator for psychologists here: which helps think through a more detailed understanding of your CAC.

As you can see, the ROI for digital health interoperability in this example is by far and away an outstanding investment in new client acquisition followed by online bookings.

By using this analytical technique we can demonstrate the power of digital health interoperability to drive extraordinary and positive ROI in your practice which can go straight to the bottom line or growth in your practice.

In reality, the power of digital health interoperability in addition to being the most cost effective client acquisition cost (CAC) and an incredibly good investment decision at a private practice level, also makes you structurally an integral part of Australia’s healthcare system.

When your practice is electronically connected to the rest of the Australian healthcare system, then you are at the center of a connected digital health network of clients, referrers, payers and private practice advisers.

This means that other health care practitioners who have determined that the client they are attending to requires healthcare services that you provide are able to search, select and send you the new client and associated healthcare information safely, securely and privately.

Your practice is now easily discover-able from within the referral workflows of the surrounding healthcare system e.g. GP’s, Hospitals, Specialists, Aged Care providers, Disability service providers, Community service providers, Primary health networks, Peers etc…

So just as you rely on those other “channels” to ensure you acquire new clients (which you’re forced to do in the competitive realm of private business), you should enable digital health interoperability as a must have method of new client acquisition as part of a connected healthcare system.

When you are made available to anyone within the connected healthcare system to be able to refer to you and given how insignificant the digital health interoperability CAC is, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by subscribing to coreplus today and activating digital health interoperability with secure messaging.

This article is reproduced from my previously published article. If you have any questions on the above, feel free to connect or contact me via LinkedIn or contact our incredibly friendly and amazing customer success team via our in product direct messaging or by email to

Wishing you success and practice happy.


NB: A trial starts with full functionality and is free. This means you have no cost or time limit risk to make a proper assessment of our suitability as a digital health interoperability platform for your health practice.

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