Where does the time go? There are only a few weeks left in this year, which means it’s time to start thinking about and planning for 2017. Just as you make resolutions and set goals in your personal life to improve your health, pay more attention to your finances, or devote more time to your relationships, a business should have both short- and long-term goals in order to be successful. Consider the following categories when mapping out your practice’s goals for next year.
Financial goals. Review 2015 and 2016 year-to-date to get a snapshot of how your practice is doing financially. Take a look at the following factors:
- Patient volume/growth (new and established patient visits, plus procedures)
- Accounts receivable
Once you have a clear picture of where you are now, determine reasonable goals for 2017. For example, if you’ve been attracting 25 new patients each month on average, bump that number up to 30 and think about how you’re going to bring those individuals through your door. If your average days in A/R are at 56, you might set a goal to bring that number down to 45 by the end of 2017.
Staffing goals. Here you might want to take a look at things like your turnover rate (reducing it if that’s an issue), training and development goals, improving productivity or employee satisfaction, establishing a retirement or bonus plan, conducting a review/update of your benefit package, or updating your employee manual to be consistent with how you actually function.
Physical surroundings goals. Take a look around the office. What’s needed in the way of repairs, maintenance, redecorating, upgrades, or new equipment? When considering plans to tackle these goals, get input from staff and providers to prioritize your list. The front office staff might think that a new copier is essential, the manager may have her eye on an upgrade to the EHR system, while providers could be longing for a new piece of clinical equipment. Everyone might vote yes for updating the staff break room (and even be willing to help make it happen), but you might find that no one cares about repaving the parking lot this year when that upgrade is compared with other priorities.
Patient satisfaction goals. Could your patients be happier with the care and service you provide? If so, setting clear patient satisfaction goals might be your focus for 2017. Here are a few ideas to consider: (1) Conduct a patient satisfaction survey; (2) Reduce waiting times by X% by X date; (3) Make same-day appointments available; (4) Reduce billing errors by X%; (5) Increase referrals from existing patients by X% by the end of the year (this last one is evidence that you’re doing well in terms of keeping patients satisfied).
Four final tips on setting goals:
- Don’t set too many. Two to three meaningful goals for the year will keep you plenty busy.
- Whatever goals you set, make them ambitious enough to be engaging, but not so aggressive that they feel unrealistic or out of reach.
- Write the goals down and review them regularly.
- Attach a date to all goals. A goal without a date is not a goal . . . it’s just a dream.