6 Questions That Help to Maintain an Optimized Medical Practice

6 Questions That Help to Maintain an Optimized Medical Practice
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Gone are the days of the solo doctor who carried a medical bag to house calls. Today’s physicians are typically employed by—or in charge of—a medical practice that centralizes many administrative functions essential to quality patient care. A successful practice handles scheduling, customer service, billing, human resources, marketing, and all the other tasks that make it possible for patients to receive efficient medical treatment.  

Whatever the size or longevity of your practice, the physician as manager should periodically ask these six questions about practice optimization. The answers may provide key information about how you can strategically adjust systems to make sure your practice runs as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

Are Your Hours Focused Primarily on Patients?

It is well-researched that a physician or medical provider should be spending at least 37 hours of the week on direct patient care. After all—this is why you invested in your medical training, and why your patients seek you out. If there are obstacles that prevent you from meeting this goal, these inefficiencies should be where you strategize first.

Are Your Investments in Human Resources Paying Off?

Your practice administrator should be a true star of your medical practice. A qualified practice administrator will be able to both lead and accept delegation. You should still understand every aspect of how your practice runs, but the administrator will be able to take on the day-to-day tasks that do not involve direct patient care. Empower the administrator to make decisions that will optimize the workflow and climate of the practice, and maintain an honest relationship so that you are able to give and receive feedback. 

Are Your Scheduling and Billing Systems Optimized?

The office’s schedule has a huge impact on the efficiency of staff and the overall climate of the practice. It is worthwhile to invest in a quality scheduling system and the human resources to run it. Not all computer-based systems are of equal quality or the right scale for the size of your practice. Some medical billing services include practice management tools that have scheduling built-in. With the help of your administrator, do your research. Find optimal systems for scheduling and billing, and invest in ongoing employee training so you can confidently delegate these services to your team.

Are You Seeking and Considering Patient Feedback?

Beyond recruitment factors inherent to online reviews, patient feedback can be invaluable to your medical practice in many ways. Develop systems to collect patient feedback regularly—whether you use simple star ratings on a lobby iPad, collect feedback on Yelp, or use a low-tech solution like a suggestions box. Celebrate the good reviews, and publicize them when possible. Use the negative reviews to help implement corrections you might have otherwise missed.

Is Your Practice Organized Efficiently?

If you want your patients to feel comfortable and confident in your practice’s services, the office should radiate organization and efficiency. From the parking lot to checkout, every step in their visit should flow seamlessly to the next. Your practice administrator will have good insights into the administrative aspects of the patient visit, like check-in and wait time. They should also prioritize keeping clutter at a minimum so that patients feel confident in how you are handling their medical records. Your medical experience should help you to identify ways you can more efficiently handle patient care, a prominent example of this is the implementation of a healthcare virtual assistant, in order to handle minor tasks and organisation of documents so that patients can be handled in a timely and efficienct manner. Besides new features to introduce to your business, think of the physical practice and how you can optimise it's layout for your patients. One general rule is that patients should move only forward through the office, not backward or retracing their steps. Even in a small practice, there are steps you can take to improve organization. 

Are You Marketing Your Strengths?

The healthcare industry is competitive. To optimize your practice, you need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Of course, you offer services that you are proud of—so find ways to emphasize your strengths in your marketing on social platforms. When you receive a glowing patient review, share it. If your staff has cut down on wait times, emphasize this. Shout out an employee of the month who has made extra contributions. Sharing your strengths is also good for overall employee pride and morale, and can help your clients feel more connected to your practice.