Improving organization to keep up with competition

May 25, 2011

Learn how to stay organized to remain competitive.

Q: I feel my practice is less organized than those of our competitors. How can I remedy this?

A: Running any business is difficult, but running one in the heavily regulated environment that private practices face is even harder.

Obviously, taking care of patients is the first responsibility of any practice, but that is the service your business provides. It's not the business. That's an important distinction.

This means you need to have faith in your staff. Practices with poor or inadequate staff never are successful. Successful practices have a great staff that is well trained and knows you, the owner/partner, are keeping an eye on what's happening. Asking questions of your staff keeps them at their best and also ensures your practice is well organized and runs smoothly.

For example, if you notice a patient has been in the waiting area for quite some time, ask about it. If you notice that billing is lagging, question how far behind the staff has become in inputting charges. Staff will respond to questions asked by physicians and successful owners/partners learn which questions to ask to guide their staff (and practice) in the right direction.

Additionally, invest in additional staff or upgrade your software systems in such critical areas as front desk and billing/collections. For example, adding even another part-time receptionist could further streamline front desk operations, and also boost the timeliness of your billing. Charges entered would be more timely, and accuracy of patient demographics information would be greatly improved. In the end, such changes can help you become more organized and improve your cash flow.

Answer provided by Barry B. Cepelewicz, MD, JD, of Meisalman, Denlea, Packman, Carton & Eberz, White Plains, New York. Send your practice management questions to medec@advanstar.com