Protecting Your Practice’s Health with an Annual Checkup
Regular checkups are essential to maintaining one’s health. This is just as true for businesses as it is for people. Medical practices, in particular, need regular checkups to ensure that they are financially healthy, operating efficiently and providing the best possible service for patients. A little attention now can help a medical practice avoid bigger, more serious and more expensive problems in the future. Read on to learn about how to conduct an annual checkup for a practice.
Reviewing a Practice’s Performance
The first step is to review how the practice is doing. This process can include owners, staff members and other stakeholders. It could involve meetings, Q&A sessions or questionnaires. In addition to asking what the practice is doing well, ask about where it needs improvement. Consider the information received in light of the practice’s mission and goals.
Make it clear that any and all input is welcome. Anonymous suggestions may help staff members feel they can be candid about their views.
Appraising Its Financial Condition
A practice can provide the best possible service to its patients, but it will not thrive if it is not collecting the money owed to it, or if it is spending money in the wrong places. Areas to consider may include:
- Revenue Management: Does the practice have an adequate system for billing and collection?
- Insurance Verification: Is the practice verifying patients’ insurance information before their visits?
- Insurance Billing: Does the practice have a consistent system for billing insurance providers and following up on outstanding bills?
- Expense Management: Are expenses keeping pace with or outpacing revenues?
Analyzing the Supply Chain
Medical practices need a steady supply of products in order to treat their patients. It is vital to ensure that the practice is obtaining an adequate amount of materials at a reasonable price. An annual checkup might include price comparisons to see if certain products are available at less cost elsewhere. It might also involve confirming that the practice is obtaining as much material as it needs, and not wasting money and resources by ordering too much.
Evaluating the Patient Experience
While a medical practice differs from other businesses in a number of important ways, it is still a business that depends to a large extent on patient goodwill. The patient experience is therefore a very important part of a practice’s overall health. Factors to consider might include the following:
- Patient Access: Are patients able to contact the practice, make appointments and obtain information? Many practices now leverage technologies like online portals to improve patient access, which tends to increase patient satisfaction.
- Scheduling: How easily can patients schedule appointments? Are they able to reschedule or cancel appointments as needed?
- Length of Visits: How much time do providers spend with patients during appointments? Is this enough time to meet patients’ needs?
- Appointment Length vs. Actual Duration: How does the length of appointments compare to the scheduled appointment times? If providers are spending more than the scheduled amount of time with patients, this can lead to long waiting times and unhappy patients. Revisions to scheduling procedures may be necessary.
- Waitlists: How long do patients have to wait to get an appointment? Depending on a practice’s field of medicine, a long waitlist could compromise patients’ health. It might be necessary to add more providers in order to accommodate more patients sooner.
- Documenting and Following Up on Cancellations and No-Shows: Does the practice have policies and procedures for dealing with last-minute cancellations and no-shows?
Inspecting Your Practice’s Personnel
A medical practice depends on its staff to keep everything running smoothly. Labor costs have increased in recent years, making it even more vital to ensure that a practice’s staff is well-paid and satisfied. A review of competitors’ pay rates can help prevent employee turnover. Giving raises is often less expensive than finding replacements for experienced employees.
Assessing Your Practice’s Marketing Efforts
Marketing a medical practice has grown quite complicated in the digital age. There is far more to it than brochures and websites. Digital reputation is also important. Reading online reviews can help owners understand how potential patients might view them. Responding to negative reviews can be tricky and requires a careful approach, keeping laws like HIPAA in mind.
Considering Your Practice’s Technological Assets and Needs
A technology audit might consist of several parts:
- Cybersecurity: Is the practice’s data, especially confidential patient data, secure?
- Equipment: Does the practice need to upgrade its medical or diagnostic equipment?
- Communication: Can the practice communicate with its patients effectively and securely?
Learn More About Keeping Your Practice Healthy
Running a medical practice requires careful attention to patient needs, financial concerns and regulatory requirements. It can be a heavy burden to bear. Luckily, help is available to assist with many of the challenges of practice management. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact us.