Do you ever feel a bit lost as to how you should be improving the business of your medical practice? While patient care may be your forte, do the staff demands, administration, risk management and financial matters seem to get in the way of what you set out to do?
If so, you’re not alone.
Your primary degree is in medicine or health care not business, and many of the business lessons you’ve learned along the way will have come from family, friends, and experience rather than formal education. It is tempting to work on the things that come most naturally, the things we have most confidence in, rather than the things that we have less exposure to or are less skilled at. Perhaps you get stuck moving transforming an idea into actions and outcomes. Or maybe you get stuck knowing which idea to implement first?
It’s possible to improve your confidence and financial position by making solid improvements to your business this year, and we can show you how. Implementing just one of our six new years resolutions for your medical practice will improve your bottom line, streamline your administration, and for some recommendations, improve employee morale.
Automate one aspect of your medical practice
When you think about your practice, there is likely to be at least one system, procedure or workflow that could be automated or improved.
If your patients still ring you during office hours to book in, investigate online booking systems such as health engine, appointuit or cliniko.
If you collect patient fees and distribute them to doctors or dentists at the end of the month, consider implementing Surgical Partners to automate the calculation of doctor service fees. Trust us, your practice manager will love you for this one.
You may also like to introduce an automated reminder system for patient appointments to improve attendance rates and increase daily billings.
Improve one employee process
Nothing frustrates employees or business owners more than clunky or non-existent HR systems. There is always something that can be streamlined or improved – and if you are not sure what, your employees are sure to have ideas if you are brave enough to ask the question.
Some apps we are loving for employee process improvement include:
- Enable HR or Employment Hero for employee contracts, policies and work health & safety compliance
- Tsheets for recording employee rostering, attendance and timesheets
Reduce one risk
As many risks cannot be totally eliminated, risk management incorporates risk reduction and risk sharing (insurance).
Allow yourself five minutes to think of the biggest issue keeping you up at night – the one you worry about most. Then work out what the risk (or fear) actually is – is it litigation, is it conflict, is it cyber crime?
For the risk identified, determine procedures and processes that can reduce this risk. For example, improving employee processes as outlined in item 2 may reduce the likelihood of serious conflict or litigation and give you confidence that you are making steps towards this risk being less of a concern for your business in the future. You may also like to consider whether the risk can be insured so that you are financially protected if the risk ever becomes reality.
Many practices are under insured for cyber insurance, and directors and managers insurance. Booking a meeting with your insurance broker to discuss whether these insurances are relevant to your business is a positive step forward in your risk management plan.
Set a budget
Most practice owners don’t know where to start when developing a budget for their medical practice. Profit doesn’t happen by accident, but losses certainly can. A Squared Advisers are experts at helping medical and allied health practices ensure their operating model is profitable, and reduce the uncertainty of feeling like you’re ‘flying blind’. If you’d like to improve your practice bottom line in 2018, book an appointment with us now to get this one ticked off the to do list. We promise it will be easier than you think.
Improve one patient experience
A patient’s experience of your practice will directly influence whether that patient raves about you positively or rants about you negatively. Visiting a doctor or dentist can be exceptionally stressful for patients, so any experience you can make easier will stick in the memory of that customer and help win you a customer for life.
Some patient experiences you may wish to improve include:
- Online booking systems – if you only accept bookings over the phone during office hours you are losing patients to nearby businesses who allow bookings online 24/7.
- Patient follow ups – if you are a dentist and you haven’t seen a customer for 6 months you may like to automate a reminder program for this customer. A gentle reminder with an easy way to return can make the difference between getting that appointment and missing out altogether. Similarly GP practices who haven’t seen a patient for 12 months may like to send a reminder about men’s health or women’s health check up services to assist busy patients in remaining on top of their healthcare.
- Patient appointment reminders – minimise the no-shows by reminding clients of their appointment the day before and day of their scheduled booking.
Improve one business reporting system
Your first reaction may be that you don’t have a business reporting system.
We are sure you do, in fact you likely have many. But you probably haven’t looked at them in a while so let’s consider what information you do have readily available.
Your accounting system
Hopefully you’re on our favourite cloud accounting program xero, and so you can see your business profit, loss and asset position in real time, at a glance. If you’re not yet online this is a really easy way we can help you improve your business reporting.
Your patient management system
This is one of the richest sources of information for your business. It is likely to contain the following:
- Number of new patients per month
- Average revenue per patient per month
- Number of patients not seen for 6 months
- Percentage of privately insured/DVA/Medicare patients per month
- You may even be able to see the concentration of your patients by postcode.
These metrics are useful because they allow you to see trends, and to analyse marketing and business decisions in light of information you have about your practice. For example, if 50% of your new patients are coming from one particular postcode it would make sense to ensure your advertising and marketing efforts are targeted to this postcode, particularly if it is more than a few kilometres from your practice. It is also important to keep an eye on the number of new patients per month to ensure this is not steadily declining. A steady increase in new patients may also provide forward indicators for you as a business person that it may be time to increase your practitioner staff levels.
If you are kicking goals with the above systems – and by that we mean that the information is complete, accurate and key performance indicators are regularly monitored, then consider what new business reporting or metrics you can bring into your practice in 2018 – perhaps consolidating your marketing and customer acquisition reporting may be of benefit.
If you are feeling a little uncertain as to how well you’re reporting your financial and patient metrics, or which ones to monitor then reach out to your accountant for some help.
Remember – improvement in even just one area will make a difference to your business. It is far better to implement one new improvement well than start on three and not finish any of them. Also remember that you don’t need to do this alone. Practice managers, administration staff and A Squared Advisers are here to help you .
What first step are you going to take today to improve your practice for 2018? If you need assistance getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact us.