Many physician owners and practice administrators feel overloaded with day-to-day demands. With so many balls in the air, they may find they have very little time (or desire) to invest in the continuous improvement needed to become a best-run practice. It’s relatively easy to see how management effectiveness could improve profitability. But if you’re satisfied with your collections and productivity, and your practice is very busy, are there still good reasons to create an even better-oiled machine?
Of course, the answer is yes. Consider the following benefits that best-run practices enjoy:
1. The payoff of a better patient experience. When coupled with stressful health issues, even modest inconveniences can feel overwhelming to your patients. This negative impact on patients alone may justify the ongoing effort required to up your administrative game. Patients annoyed by business-side issues may also divert precious visit time to share complaints that physicians can’t answer on the spot, undermining the clinical encounter. The best-run practices stay ahead of what patients expect as consumers. This attention to the overall experience doesn’t just pay off in lower marketing costs and better patient retention. It can even enable physicians and patients alike to keep their focus where it belongs: on care.
2. The bandwidth to think bigger. Strategic decisions like adding a physician or location, exploring new payment models, or conducting clinical trials can elevate your practice, inspire your team, and boost profits – but only if you have the bandwidth to carefully consider them. The best-run practices root out the systemic inefficiencies and repetitious problems that would otherwise deplete their ability to pursue higher-level goals.
3. A nimble and resilient organization. At Capko & Morgan, we’ve witnessed how stress affects an entire practice—and how much more smoothly and happily a well-run organization functions. Practices that have not taken the time to correct repetitive administrative problems and inefficiencies may be barely holding things together on a normal day—so throw in one additional challenge or two and chaos ensues. If this happens often enough, burnout and staff turnover will result—making all problems worse. In contrast, highly efficient organizations can comfortably handle the existing work load and easily step up to meet the extraordinary demands that happen so often in a clinic. This helps avoid the cost of turnover. It also allows everyone in the practice to focus on the mission—the lofty goal of serving and healing patients that makes working in medicine rewarding for both physicians and staff.
If your practice is currently bogged down with many challenges, making meaningful improvements may seem like a luxury you can’t afford. But developing the mindset of a best-run practice can help your team address current challenges—and roll more easily with the ones that come your way in the future. With less need to focus on firefighting, you’ll have the capacity to think bigger about the business. And since employees can be an invaluable source of ideas, developing an improvement-minded culture can help you enrich their jobs and give them the respect they crave—creating a happier workplace for everyone in the practice.