”You keep talking about all the changes in Private Practice. What do you mean, and what’s happening?”
What I thought I would do today is summarize how changes during the last decade have impacted doctor’s behaviors and decisions we all must consider in private practice.
Don’t read any further if you want sugarcoated op-ed. This is not it.
The most striking thing we advocated many years before it was trendy was that unless you the OWNER clearly handle patient finances (no, it’s not like the ER), patients are gone, especially in the scared and frightening media driven economics for so many of those we serve.
In essence, we need to be crystal clear, and also priced for the realities of our own future!
Also ask yourself if you serving humanity to the best of your abilities, and at the same time offering options to those who want and will gladly pay for them? Not everyone wants or needs a Rolls Royce, but they still make and sell plenty of them.
Patients are no different, when unique or more personalized service is needed. And wanted. Help give them their health back, teach them how to maintain it, and it’s the greatest gift ever. Literally, they get their lives back!
These are the harsh realities of practice today. It’s not the latest “let’s see what I can max on an insurance case” still advocated by some. Unless of course you like audits and recovery efforts by insurance carriers.
The next big error is not staying in close, regular contact with past patients, and all your referral colleagues. Especially when the revenues dip. Some costs rise, and you could, like many foolish businesses cancel marketing expenditures. You may erroneously ration to stop marketing to those who have seen you before and refer to you every month, because it might cost you 1000-2000$/month to do so. Just ask your next new patient where they found out about you, and you’ll quickly see what I mean.
We suggest fully developing and integrating EMR and data management systems into autopilot style marketing with regular patient reminders, recall letters and even birthday messages and letters if you choose.
And what about your current staffing and HR Systems? Have you made these as bullet proof and compliant as possible? Are you continuing to staff private practice or group like you are the UAW? I guarantee, no one’s going to be there to bail you out. Don’t get me wrong. Excellent staff that help drive the practice are worth every dollar. But are you sacrificing your own future by not handling poor training and possibly willful non-compliance?
Finally change is perpetual. Medicine as a business is no different.
As it should be in your practice too, the strong will thrive and prosper.
But it so often takes a fresh set of management, operational and marketing perspectives. Why not let this be you?
If you’re up to the challenge, I welcome the opportunity to help you build your perfect practice.
Patti Hayes is CEO of Perfect Practice Web, and has 30+ years experience in practice management.
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