Running any business is stressful, but when you are running a medical practice, the consequences of your management decisions can have serious consequences. It’s a fine balance between being cost-efficient and being able to deliver a quality service that your patients deserve. Increasing your practice’s efficiency not only boosts you and your staff’s job satisfaction and morale but increases patient retention too. Here are 5 ways to grow your practice.
1. Technology to help
Entrepreneurs outside of healthcare would instinctively say that to boost your practice’s efficiency, you need to see more patients; however, this simply does not work within the medical profession. Doctors and healthcare providers will soon burn out and the quality of the care will slip if this is just thought of as a numbers game. The key is to reduce administrative inefficiencies.
Spend time reviewing where administrative inefficiencies are occurring. Outdated technology is one hurdle to optimizing productivity. A recent report found that manual transactions that could be made autonomous costs the dental industry up to $9.4 billion per year. This means that time is being wasted performing tasks that could be completed at a fraction of the time with the introduction of appropriate technology.
Everything from instantaneously retrieving a patient’s medical records to sending patients reminder texts of their appointment time can be streamlined to increase the efficiency. It’s not about technology replacing the human element of attending your clinic, rather it is about using technology to support the service that you provide.
2. Develop your Employees’ Skills
Your practice is reliant on the skills that your employees bring to the table; your reputation relies on it. Invest money in ensuring that your staff are trained in new medical procedures and technologies that will help them reduce the time that they spend diagnosing and treating patients. Or, for the non-medical employees, ensure that they are trained to use the technology and software that they have access to so that they optimize its use.
Ensure that you have up to date training records for all your employees. Annual performance reviews are an important part of being an employer. It gives you the opportunity to identify any gaps in their skillset and the training needs they have. Annual reviews also give your employees an opportunity to voice any improvements that they consider would benefit the efficiency of your business. You may be surprised at how their suggestions can reduce bottlenecks in processes and procedures.
3. Use your Employees for their Skills
How much of the working day do your medically trained staff spend completing administrative duties instead of the high impact, revenue creating tasks that they are trained for? Administration is an important and necessary part of every role, however, by outsourcing some aspects of the role such as the medical billing, your staff can see more patients rather than performing admin. Seek more information here on the pros and cons of outsourcing your medical billing.
4. Use data to shape your decisions
You will be well versed at advising your patients to come to you with their medical problems sooner rather than later with symptoms before problems escalate, but do you apply this to the finances and performance of your clinics?
You need to get into a habit of examining the key areas of your practice so that you can take any necessary action before any issues escalate. Metrics are a valuable tool to help boost practice efficiency.
Running costs: you need to review the running costs of the practice every month. Understand where your money is being spent. Office expenditure should be stable but schedule a review of your regular suppliers so that you can ensure that you are still getting the best market rates.
Financial metrics: you need to understand your monthly income, expenditure and any bad debts that your books are carrying. You need to be able to manage the debts so that you don’t have a cashflow crisis. Nearly one fifth of Americans have a medical debt, you do not want your business to carry the burden. A stringent payment policy can help alleviate this problem and remove the need to instruct a collection agency.
Performance data: monitoring and tracking your patients can provide you with data that can improve your clinical practices. Evaluating waiting time, appointment length and outcome can reveal which procedures are performed most efficiently and which are most profitable. By considering the performance data, you can adjust your schedules appropriately to ensure that health care is delivered more efficiently.
5. Engage your patients
For your practice to remain profitable, you need to attract and retain your patients. In the ideal world, your practice should aim to see between thirty and fifty new patients per month. With streamlined processes and procedures, embracing technology and employing qualified and expert employees, your reputation will ensure that you have referrals; however, there are other ways to engage patients.
We live in a digital age, and often the first point of contact a potential patient will have with your practice is through online search. For business growth it is essential that you have a website that details the services that you offer and provides information concisely. You can reach a huge number of people through your website, so it is important that you invest in its design. Not only should your website be visually appealing but responsive for mobile devices as this is how most people access the internet.
Use your website to engage your patients with information that they will find relevant. Are you running a diabetes clinic? Or perhaps you are running a free event on nutrition? You can further publicize events via social media platforms to attract new patients. Create content that your patients will want to read and share on their own social media platforms to further its reach. Connecting with your community gives you an opportunity to educate them on health issues but also to expand your patient list.
Working efficiently boosts practice profits. Working smarter not harder is the key. Outsource administration, train your employees and use technology to positively influence how you run your practice and provide a better user experience for your patients.