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The start of a new year is a good time to think about new ways of growing practice revenue. Treat this as an opportunity to pause and think strategically.
Are fewer patients scheduled each day? Ask your office manager to give you a monthly count off of appointments scheduled for 2016 and 2015. Did you grow, stay flat, or decline? You need to see patients to generate revenue. Have you considered the convenience of the patient?
Patients are busy. Fitting in a medical appointment during the workday when patients have to coordinate time off and other schedule commitments make alternative care models very appealing. Your patients may be visiting a retail clinic that opens earlier than your practice or stays open later. Your patient may be going online for a teleconsult.
Increase your revenue by changing your appointment calendar and promoting your new availability. Open earlier or start your day later and extend your hours, depending on the desire of your patients.
Tip: Reduce even small expenses.
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New revenue is good but can also increase variable costs, such as medical supplies. Reduce expenses and you increase profitability.
Even small expense reductions can add up.
Do you have room for more revenue?
Tip: Examine your day and be honest about where your time goes.
Can you actually see more patients, either in the office or via teleconsult? Examine how you spend your day. Write down every task you perform during the day, even the smallest activity, and track your phone calls.
At the end of the day, review the list and highlight those items that only you can perform. It is likely that you have more tasks on your list that you should be sharing with your staff than those that only you can perform. Be smart about how you use your time.
Has overtime become routine?
Tip: Better match patient volumes to staff coverage.
If your practice normally has overtime, review why. Evaluate times of peak patient volume. Compare those to regular staffing schedules. Your practice may be better served if you staggered staff hours. Cross training staff lessens reliance on one individual with all the knowledge or skill.
No-shows costing you time and money?
Tip: Improve your methods to reduce no-shows.
Further reading: How to succeed under MIPS
If you have patients not showing up for appointments, take a look at patient wait times. If patients can’t get into your practice for weeks or months, they may go elsewhere without canceling their appointments at your practice. If you call patients with appointment reminders and find that you are leaving messages, send reminders via text messages and request a confirming response.