Peter Drucker, who was known for his leadership in the development of management education, once said, “Work implies not only that somebody is supposed to do the job, but also accountability, a deadline and, finally, the measurement of results —that is, feedback from results on the work and on the planning process itself.” If you wish to manage your business effectively, it is important to establish measurements or benchmarks for the purpose of creating accountability for your company and to determine if you are meeting the overall objectives of your business strategic planning. The measurements you define will also help your employees more clearly identify with your goals as well as provide you with an assessment tool for evaluating performance of your team.
As we turn the corner and begin working in a New Year, now is a great time for medical and dental practices to review the prior year and set goals and objectives for 2014. Many healthcare providers find themselves buried in the details of “working in” the practice rather than “working on” the practice. For a practice to remain healthy, owners of the business should step back occasionally and “work on” the practice. Not sure what to review? Here are just a few areas to give consideration in this New Year:
Mission Statement / Business Objective – Take time ask why, what & how – Why are you doing what you do? What will you do for your patients? And, how will you provide the services? Share your personal mission and objectives with your staff – are there areas of your business that need any renewed attention or potential changes to satisfy the why, the what, or the how?
Corporate / Partnership Agreements – Read through your employment and buy-sell agreements. Make sure that these documents accurately reflect your understandings and the current intentions of the owners of the business. Review your Corporate Minute book to see that your meetings and corporate resolutions are up to date. On a personal note, make sure that your spouse or family representative is fully aware of the documents in place; where they are, and from whom they should seek advice should something unfortunate happen to you.
Policies and Procedures – Read through your entire operations manual; should any of your procedures or policies change? Given the change in health insurance and the implementation of the insurance exchange, I would suggest you closely review and make changes to your patient financial policies and procedures for collections. Are your employees aware of your holiday schedule and who will receive additional pay for these days? Is everyone up to date on new HIPAA and OSHA rules?
Operations – Review the past year’s cash inflows and outflows. We provide a cumulative monthly summary each month. The December management statement contains a snapshot of the entire year. Are there cash receipts in the past year that you can’t count on this year? Or, were there any unexpected expenses that occurred that you need to plan for this year? Are you giving consideration to what financial impact the implementation of ICD-10 may have on your practice? Are you as efficient as you can be in providing your services?
Market Share – More and more patients are making personal choices regarding the healthcare they receive. The days of simply turning the responsibility of paying for their care over to an insurance company are ending. Marketing is everything you do in your practice and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Do you have a Facebook page? Is your website up to date and effectively used? Do you have patient e-mail addresses on file? How about their cell phone number? Communicating with the healthcare decision maker in the household is key. Also, focus on making your patients feel like a guest in your office. Recently, I was in a client’s office where they changed what was being played on the TV in the waiting room based upon a suggestion my wife made when we were talking about going to a doctor’s office. I asked the patient watching the show if he liked the change. His response – “I love it! It almost makes you forget why you are here.”
There are really many areas of a practice that require review on a regular basis, but it seems best to review these items at the beginning of a new year. Take time today to “Work on” your practice – click here to download a planning worksheet for 2014. As you come up with your S.M.A.R.T. goals for the coming year, be sure to share these with your staff and your advisors.
What are some goals you have set for your Practice? (Reply Here)
Mike DeVries is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ and a Certified Healthcare Business Consultant focusing on helping healthcare professionals. If you would like to learn more about becoming a client of Mike’s, contact him at www.vmde.com
The past few days I have been working with some dental practices. To help these teams more effectively, Bryant Truitt and I have been “boots on the ground” – in their business observing, interviewing staff, analyzing data, and discussing best practices for managing a dental business.
When I discussed this process with another client he said, “Mike, we need your help and expertise. We appreciate your ability to help us eliminate some of the stress we feel in running a business.” Hearing comments like this fuels my passion to …help doctors mind their own business.
The business of healthcare is about – caring for the patient. It’s my commitment to keep using my talents, gifts, information, abilities, and expertise to work with those who care – even if it’s just sharing a contribution to the team huddle.
I recently saw a brief segment of the show Dr. Phil where he was interviewing a young woman who had not yet seen a gynecologist. Even though she had been informed of and seemed to understand all the medical reasons for going to this specialist, she avoided making her first appointment. Her own sister tried to coach her into taking this important step for the sake of her own health and yet she resisted and would not comply. It wasn’t until she met a gynecologist on Dr. Phil and gained a sense of “knowing” this doctor personally and becoming comfortable with a real person, that she agreed to have her first gynecological exam with this particular physician.
While I’m not a regular viewer of Dr. Phil, I was glad that I had caught the few minutes of this particular show. It made me think about what my clients are facing many times when they see their patients for the first time in an exam room. It also confirmed for me that patients will delay making an appointment with a doctor because of emotion – they are most likely terrified. Helping your patients overcome this fear is key to the growth of your business. So, how is it that you can take strides in assisting your next potential patient “get to know you” and make an appointment?
- Is your website up to date with information about you and your staff that will allow a potential patient the opportunity to gain an initial impression?
- Does your web presence allow your patients the opportunity to tell their friends about you?
- Do you have a “meet the doctor” time built into your initial appointments? Or do you have an occasional “open house” where a potential new patient will have a chance to meet you?
- Do you make a point of calling or sending a note to patients that will be coming to your office for the first time?
- Are you active in your community? And do people see you as a “face” that cares about them outside of the office?
- What do you and your staff do everyday to connect with the patients that you see in the office?
You became a doctor because you are passionate about caring for people and their health. Let people get to know you and see your passion for them and you will take hold of your future.
Here is an interesting key note lecture by futurist Patrick Dixon that speaks to the future of Healthcare and connecting to your patients emotions.