Experienced healthcare managers and administrators understand that a medical practice is a business. They pay attention to staffing, scheduling, overhead, and accounts receivables, and they’re diligent about getting the best deals on supplies and equipment. But given the day-to-day hubbub of overseeing a busy office, many managers are forced to limit their attention to keeping things running smoothly this week and this month. What else could you do, in addition to the basics, to be more business-focused in running your practice? Here are three ideas.
Set goals. You probably already measure what’s going on in your practice in terms of number of patients seen, charges and collections, overhead percentage, overtime hours worked, and so forth. But what are you measuring against? What are your targets? Choose two or three benchmarks that you feel are most important to the success of your practice (new patients each month or referrals from specific sources, for example) and review those numbers for the last couple of years. Then, set some ambitious – yet attainable – goals for where you want to see those numbers at the end of this year and the end of next year. Be sure to share the targets you’re aiming for with staff (or, better yet, involve them in the process), and if possible, create an incentive program so that everyone can participate and feel invested in reaching the new goals. Read more about setting practice goals here.
Plan and strategize for success. Businesses leaders who take success seriously know the value of having well thought out strategic and marketing plans that everyone looks to for guidance. These plans are where you outline the mission and vision of the organization, big-picture strategy, agreed upon goals, and action steps that will be taken to achieve those goals. One effective way to create strategies and marketing plans is to hold an off-site retreat. Depending on the size of your practice, a retreat might include doctors and key management staff, or “all hands on deck” for a full day or even two days of intense planning (and a little R&R, too). Read more about holding a retreat here.
Invest in your staff. Having a competitive salary and benefit package is essential to attracting and retaining the best employees. But there is much more you can do to enhance team loyalty and support the professional growth of your staff – both of which benefit the practice. Examples include:
- Invite employees to participate in the annual staff planning retreat, or set aside a day for them to hold their own planning session.
- Budget for each staff member to participate in off-site or online educational seminars or workshops at least once a year.
- Pay for employees to belong to professional organizations related to their jobs (MGMA, AAMA, AACP, etc.).
- Hold regular staff meetings where ideas for improving the success of the practice are shared and evaluated.
- Offer cross-training within the office and look for opportunities to promote from within whenever possible.
Investing in employees helps promote teamwork, reduce turnover, and improve professionalism. It’s a good deal for all involved.