Physicians and other health service providers generally enter the field because they want to help people live healthier, fuller lives. Most providers are rightly focused on the clinical and customer service aspects of healthcare. But as much as they are places of healing, medical practices are also businesses. Well run businesses provide excellent value to customers, while poorly run ones struggle to serve or disappear entirely. Here are a few simple ways that you can run your practice like a successful business.
You might prefer to spend time with patients more than spreadsheets, but it is important to have a realistic view about where your business is now and where you want it to be in one year, and five years. Having clear strategic priorities for the business will make decision making easier for you and your team.
The healthcare industry as a whole is undergoing an important shift to thinking of patients as consumers. People are paying a larger portion of healthcare costs today, so they are more particular, seeking out the care options that are most cost-effective and convenient for them. Savvy medical practices embrace this new reality and create a culture of customer service with a focus on winning and keeping loyal customers.
You don’t have to become a marketing expert or spend a fortune, but there are some inexpensive and easy ways to make sure that the community knows you are there and that your patients have the information they need to take advantage of all of the services you have to offer.
Even if they haven’t had a major impact on your practice yet, you should be working to understand new compensation models such as episode of care, accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes, capitation, and incentive agreements. Make sure your strategies and technologies align well with these new arrangements.
Smart business leaders know that market needs change over time and that the right mix of offerings is essential. This is true in medicine as well. Consider adding new services like video visits, lifestyle coaching, pain management, and sports medicine.
The medical industry has been famously slow to embrace new technologies, but providers who are willing to keep up with technical advances put themselves in the position to take advantage of the increased profitability and better customer service that technology can provide. Today’s healthcare customers expect conveniences like online scheduling, telemedicine, and electronic forms.
Every interaction with the practice has an impact on the patient experience. Many patients report leaving a provider they love because of poor customer service from front desk staff or medical assistants. It is important to create a culture of outstanding service to every patient and to hire people who embody the qualities you want associated with the practice. Support your staff by using tools and policies to ensure office efficiency.
It is somewhat of a simplification, but business profitability is essentially a simple calculation of revenue minus expenses. Business minded practices are finding that telemedicine can lead to positive results on both sides of the equation.
Practices have discovered that they can see more patients in a day by conducting just a few of them via video. They’ve also found that un-paid telephone follow-up calls can be turned into reimbursable video visits. The increased flexibility of conducting encounters remotely, also opens up the revenue boosting potential of after hours or weekend visits.
The most expensive and precious thing in a medical practice is the provider’s time. Telemedicine helps reduce the waste of this precious commodity by making the practice more efficient, reducing no-shows and reducing the time it takes to conduct and document each encounter.