How to increase efficiency, productivity and net profit in a private practice

There is an impression with healthcare practitioners everywhere that all a practice has to do to increase production is to increase the number of new patients. More new patients is often the universal solvent for an under-producing office.

However, attracting new patients is only 1 of 7 areas of a practice that lead to the efficiency, productivity and the overall net of a practice. There are 6 other areas of a practice that a doctor/practice owner can improve on to increase the profitability and gross income of an office without seeing a single increase in new patients. This does not mean that attracting new patients should be ignored, but what it does mean is that the other areas of the practice should be addressed with just as much importance as the new patient area. In order to improve those areas one must, for starters, know what those areas are. Below you will see the basic actions of each of these areas.

Personnel: A practice owner should know how to hire the right staff and know when and how to fire staff that aren’t productive. Holding onto non-compliant and under productive staff, at a time when unemployment is still high in most areas of the country and the employment pool is more qualified that it’s been in 25 years, is both poor management and foolish. A practice owner can learn how to monitor staff productivity and not judge staff on “feelings” or what other people say about certain staff. Learning how to objectively manage is a key to a productive, efficient and happy office. Part of this is knowing how to train staff on their jobs with proper job descriptions. Having known and applied office policy can make a staff operate in a coordinated fashion and work together as a team resulting in higher productivity and morale. How you hire, train, monitor and take care of your staff is the basic concept of this area. Making this area work properly requires good job descriptions and office policies that are known and understood by all staff as well as having effective statistical monitoring systems for all areas of the office, a good internal communication system and good communication skills by those managing the practice.

Treatment: Exams must be comprehensive and relationships must be built in a very limited amount of time. Value must be demonstrated through excellent care and communication by all personnel involved in any aspect of treatment delivery. Five minutes of sincere, honest and meaningful communication is worth more than 30 minutes of superficial chitchat. Treatment must be top notch using up to date methods and equipment. This area is the province of the doctor and where the “Doctor Hat” is worn.

Enrollment: A practice can increase the quality of case presentations and show more value for the services they are delivering through very simple, basic communication and sales skills. There is still plenty of money being spent these days. A practice must be better at showing value than a competitor down the street. A successful practice never makes a patient feel uncomfortable or pressured through poor case presentation and sales skills. Proper case presentation results in patients/clients knowing what they need and wanting the service and willing to look at how to work out the economics of the service needed. Also, having a good recall system and an excellent patient reactivation program can increase a practice’s production by one third or more.

Part two of this article will cover financial management, marketing, quality control actions, personnel and your actions as an owner and executive that are vital to running a more efficient and viable practice.

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