Some Tips For Greater Efficiency In A Private Practice
There are a lot of elements in running a private medical practice, and in order to operate efficiently it is essential that they all work seamlessly together. You may be getting busier each year, but you also need to work financially smarter. There are some simple changes that you could probably make that will help you work smarter and provide more time for patient care.
It is always a good idea to undertake a regular health check of your expenses. Once a month, take a detailed look at your daily, weekly, monthly, and annual expenses, and see if there are new ways which you could use in order to keep your outstanding debt as close to nil as possible. It is also a good practice to review ongoing costs such as telephone costs and bank charges. It is often the case with bank charges that we stay with one bank for years, when in fact it may be possible to save a considerable amount over the course of a year simply by switching banks.
It is also worthwhile keeping a check on things such as patient numbers per hour, billing per hour, and costs vs. patient numbers.
Many practices are still using paper-based health records, printing and even faxing, which can mean that ongoing care can become a problem. Paper can mean that providing care for patients with chronic and/or complex conditions can become inefficient because they very often have large medical records. Switching to a medical practice management system that is paperless can boost efficiency enormously and at the same time reduce the number of man hours spent on administrative tasks.
Patient no-shows can put a significant amount of administrative, time, and cashflow burden on any practice, yet a medical practice management system can help to reduce them to minimal numbers. Instead of sending out letters or having someone get on the phone for recalls and appointment reminders, it becomes a simple matter to use SMS or email, and a good system will send out SMS appointment reminders automatically with no need for any input from a secretary or receptionist, saving both time and cost.
Of course, one of the most important aspects of a private practice is accounts and billing. A good software system will make this far easier to control. You can raise invoices and send them electronically or print them off to be posted for those patients – mainly older – who still don’t have a mobile phone or email and instead rely on Royal Mail. Most importantly, the software should automatically recognise when an invoice has not been paid by the due date and then produce follow-up letters to the patient. A good credit control system is vital in any business and will keep your cashflow going.
You also need an accounting system that will handle your outgoings and practice expenses, and it should enable you to record and analyse your expenses, which in turn may provide an opportunity to reduce outgoings down to the minimum. A good system will enable you to produce management reports on demand, and it will also provide your year-end figures quickly and easily.
You can also make the payment process easier by integrating an EFTPOS machine with your accounting system. You should be able to set up a terminal easily and enable quick transaction speeds with tap and go, or with Apple Pay or Android Pay.
In addition, you need a referral management system. Referral processes that are slow and inefficient will mean long lead times which can be frustrating for both patients and providers. A referral process that uses the right software can save time and streamline communication between your practice, specialists, and other healthcare providers, which will help to optimise the patient journey and improve the quality of care.
In addition, you can install a patient/carer feedback system in your practice. A good feedback system will lead to better practice, and patients who are more likely to follow the advice and treatment provided by their doctor, as well as return to the practice. They may very well also recommend your practice to their friends and family.