The ABCs of better medical practice management

April 30, 2015

Physician practices are undergoing major structural and economical change due to shifting healthcare policies and demands, so it is important to address these changes head-on with the tools necessary to be successful

Staying economically viable may be difficult and may require alterations in management and decision-making in a practice setting.

With the help of your colleagues, staff and patients, you can face healthcare reform with a plan that keeps your practice stable and ever-improving. It is important to look at all aspects of a practice setting and ensure that they are optimized.

Below we outline the ABCs of streamlining your practice management.

Adhere

Patients’ adherence and engagement in your practice will occur only if you do the same. Adhere to your practice goals and guidelines.

Budget

Budgeting is imperative for your practice to be successful. A constant review of your expenditures is necessary to optimize your practice.

Call

Stay in contact with your patients, call them regularly to create a more personal vibe in their healthcare management.

Denote

Responsibilities must be denoted in a practice setting. Tasks should be clearly outlined to keep your practice operating smoothly.

Educate

Key to success in all fields of medicine is the education of patients and staff alike. In addition, learning about practice- specific guidelines and capabilities is beneficial for your patients.

Follow

At times, communication between practice and patients may be lacking. Follow up with patients and their experience under new healthcare policies. Where there is a will, there is a way, especially to improve patient experience.

Grow

Expand your horizons and your practice. When feasible, see what other services you can provide without compromising quality of care. You will have to grow with your practice and learn to control it, not let it control you.

Help

It’s important to let everyone associated with your practice know that help is only a phone call away. Being available allows individuals to be active in your practice.

Initiate

Make sure to initiate some in-house rewards and recognition programs for the staff. In addition, initiate some community activities to engage patients in your community.

Jump

Jump to action! If you notice any changes in the way your practice starts functioning, address it immediately. Complacency is not an option!

Keep calm

Unexpected events are a part of all practices. These may elicit a panic response. Keeping calm will ensure that such situations are managed properly without making the situation worse.

Liven

Liven up your practice. To keep patients engaged in your practice, let them know about practice activities. Greater transparency means a better experience not only for the health care professional but the patient as well.

Money

Money is at the center of all businesses, and your practice is no exception. It’s important for all aspects of your practice to be sufficiently funded for smooth operation.

 

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Negotiate

Negotiating is important in all aspects of business. It is important to negotiate with payers. It is also important to have a give and take negotiation with patients (i.e. lifestyle modification, weight loss, etc.). This will enable you, without compromising too much, to achieve your goals.

Order

Chaos is only good for entertainment. Making sure that your practice is in order requires active participation in administrative and managerial activities.

Prioritize

To properly manage a practice, prioritizing actions that are for patient betterment is best practice.

Quality Assurance

To constantly improve practice outcomes and achieve goals it’s important to make sure there is an ongoing review of inner workings.

Register

Remember that your practice is a support system for patients. Register them in a database and see what other health and community programs you can enroll them in. This will allow them to have an active role in their health.

Support groups

Support groups exist for virtually all medical issues. Please, with the aid of your patients, find out what support groups pertain to your patient population.

Teach

Teaching is essential to healthcare. As providers teach patients about their health and well-being, patients may teach providers about themselves. This is a symbiotic relationship that allows for better engagement between patient and physician.

Understand

To overcome any stagnation in your practice you have to be proactive. Taking an active approach to the business side of medicine is the best way you can help your practice. Becoming educated on the business aspects of medicine is vital to a successful practice.

Validate

Expressing genuine concern for patients need is key! Validate their questions and make sure that no question goes unaddressed.

Watch

Watch for blind spots in your practice that might be a financial black hole-for example, procedures without prior authorizations. Diagnostic tests may also be such an issue. Also, play an active role in administrative activities to watch for any possible opportunities for streamlining operations.

Exercise

Exercises can be literal or figurative. Engaging in team exercises can help to build trust among staff members.

Yesterday

It’s gone! Focus on what you can do today to improve your practice & patients’ well-being.

Zest

Incorporate some community activities in your practice to help promote health and happiness. This may be a community outreach kiosk or possibly a fundraiser.

Sonu Sahni, MD, Amrinder Rana, MD, and Sonia Talwar, MD, are physicians with Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, NY P.C. in Plainview, New York. This essay was an honorable mention in the 2014 Medical Economics writing contest. Send your practice management questions to medec@advanstar.com.