Most physicians who open their own private practice do it out of a desire to provide service to their patients and to build on their relations with those patients. In short, to practice medicine. More often than not, the running of a business is secondary, or worse, an afterthought. Medicine is not the only industry where this disconnect occurs. Let’s face it, we don’t all want to be business people, even if we want to be entrepreneurs. In today’s environment, with the Affordable Care Act, ICD-10 revisions and other factors adding to the economic pressures, it is difficult to remain viable.
If you find yourself daydreaming of joining a hospital or a large healthcare provider to escape from the headaches of running a business, you are not alone. Your medical practice is a business, fundamentally similar to any other. There’s money coming in and money going out. The trick, of course, is to maximize the former while minimizing the latter. Certain areas of your medical practice have a high impact on its financial performance. By approaching these areas with sound business practices in mind you will inevitably increase the financial health of your operation while providing yourself more time to do what you started your practice for in the first place: care for patients.
At ProMD Medical Practice Management we see time and again practices that undervalue this important role. The general attitude seems to be that the front desk person has to be friendly, able to manage a calendar, call insurance companies and tell patients what room to go to. In truth, the front desk position is essentially the face of your practice and needs to be a multi-tasking powerhouse. You want someone who makes a great impression, is knowledgeable and able to answer patient’s questions. There are times when your front desk person’s actions will make a patient stay for life or never come back again. Find the right person and train them well.
The meat and potatoes of running a business. Pick an aspect of your practice’s operations to focus on each quarter. Once it is under control, make sure someone is monitoring it and move on to something else that needs fixing. For each particular task pick the staff member that you believe will have the most success or hire a consulting firm.
The right technology (EMR, practice management system, even your website) can make workflow more efficient and attract new patients to your practice. Make sure that the systems you are using are meeting your needs. There are some excellent all inclusive systems that handle all of the essentials, but it is often best to go with a-la-carte offerings, the ProMD approach, each of which can be selected for how it addresses your particular circumstances.
Your website should be more than a collection of office photos, a list of phone numbers and your office hours. The best websites offer usable information for the reader, not only about your practice, but about your industry. Including a blog with informative articles will cement your position as a leader and expert in your field. And if you don’t have the time to write it, there are good ghost writers that can do it for you. Also, talk to your website designer about optimizing your site so it ranks higher on search engines like Google and Bing. Finally, increase your social media presence. More and more, people are getting their information on the web through sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Healthgrades. An entire industry has grown out of businesses’ need to have their social media identity managed. Consider hiring a firm to post, tweet and even Instagram about your practice on a regular basis.
There is of course much more to consider, but use this as a starting point. The issues touched on here could take months or more to address and require your on-going attention. Make sure to put your best people on it. For guaranteed results think about hiring professionals. At ProMD Medical Practice Management we can help your practice in all of these areas and much more. Call us to have one of our experts help you.
To learn more about how ProMD can make your practice run like a well-oiled machine, call 888-622-7498 or fill out our online form to request a billing assessment.