6 Tips for a Smooth Running Medical Practice
With an ever-evolving array of illnesses, injuries and emotional upheaval to deal with on a daily basis, the less administrative headaches you have the better.
So how can you get your practice running smoothly and efficiently? Here are 6 tips to help you do just that.
Disencumber by delegation
Delegation can be a nasty word if you've had bad experiences allocating general administrative tasks and 'donkey work' to others in the past. But with a little training your staff can add real value by releasing you from much of the basic procedural work, case-by-case prioritising and follow up. Even test result call-backs can be handled by your nurse or receptionist if the news is good. Take the time to fully explain each task and exactly how to perform it and, chances are, the results will be positive. Your staff will be more productive and you'll be free to do what you're qualified to do.
Mechanise manual work
How much are you currently paying your staff to manually copy, collate and staple practice paperwork? How much would it cost to buy a new photocopier that performs all those tasks automatically? Do the math and you'll probably find that a new machine will pay for itself in double quick time. Better still, staff will suddenly be free to better manage all those tasks you're about to start delegating.
Give your culture a medical
Sometimes we're so busy keeping our local community healthy, we don't see the symptoms when our own office culture gets sick. So carry out a thorough medical. How happy and engaged are your emplyees? Are their interactions with patients as professional and friendly as they should be? Are they operating well as a group in a healthy, helpful and proactive environment? Put together a staff engagement questionnaire to find out and seek total honesty in responses by guaranteeing confidentiality.
Build a business plan
While creating a comprehensive business plan is time-consuming, it clarifies a path and gives you easy reference points to ensure you're still on track. A good business plan will detail where you want to be in the short, medium and long term both professionally and personally. After all, we're in business to enhance our life in general, so personal goals intrinsically linked to your practice should be part of your overall goals and expectations. And if you're like most GPs who know their way around the human form, but not business forms, a business consultant is a wise investment.
Build profitable supplier relationships
Fostering strong relationships with your suppliers can greatly enhance your chances of preferential treatment. Any special deal or priority delivery you gain through suppliers reflects directly on your profits and performance. So make every company rep you deal with feel welcome and repay their support with reliable bill payments. Involve them in your business so they fully understand your needs. They may only deal with one product range, but a small improvement here, another there soon adds up.
Reduce wait times
Reducing patient wait times benefits your practice in all kinds of ways. Low wait times builds patient loyalty and minimises defections. It also reduces practice downtime for late arrivals and increases your daily appointment turnover. Gather new patient information via email ahead of their appointment. Create a strict policy for no-shows and late arrivals. Set a time limit – maybe 30 minutes – before they have to reschedule and charge repeat offenders a late fee. Another great idea is a mobile queue software tool. This allows you to communicate with patients automatically via mobile and create a virtual queue where you update them on wait times while they shop or have a coffee.