Clinic Management Checkup: Tips to Improve Your Practice
IN A NUTSHELL:
- Efficiency is the ultimate goal
- Know your clinic inside and out to ensure effective management
- Increased demand for your clinic increases value of improvement
Health care clinics are popular with patients battling minor ailments as well as providing specialty care.
They provide patients easy access to health care without having to go to an urgent care center, free-standing emergency room, or a hospital. General health care clinics are especially important in rural or suburban areas where access to hospitals might be limited.
With a rising need for health care and limited resources to meet all of the demands, efficiently managing your clinic becomes even more valuable.
In years past, inefficient management may have had minimal effects on day-to-day operations or gone completely unnoticed. Yet now, those same inefficiencies can negatively impact your clinic’s budget, cause dismay amongst your staff, payers, providers, and patients—ultimately disrupting the overall workflow and continuity of your clinic’s operations.
However, by performing a clinic management wellness check and making any changes to improve your clinic, you will begin to see immediate, positive results for your patients, providers, and facility as a whole.
Even if you think your clinic is running fine, know that there is always room for improvement and the need for change may be right in front of you—helping you and your staff spend less time on frivolous activities, eliminate redundancies, and ultimately run more efficiently.
Clinic Management Wellness Check
1. Manage multiple locations with a single platform
If you are managing clinics at multiple locations, consider a single platform to manage your provider roster as well as corresponding administrative tasks such as credentialing and payer enrollment. All of the documentation from the individual clinics can be viewed from within a single platform. Aside from credentialing and enrollment, you can manage appointments and privileges for all of your providers in case you need to allocate staff at other locations than their primary point of practice.
2. Ensure providers can focus on direct patient care
In order to maximize their value to the practice, physicians and other health care providers should spend a minimum of 35 hours per week on direct patient care. In order for this to be feasible, alleviate any administrative tasks as much as possible. This includes collection of documents for credentialing, license renewal, and compliance. Lastly, maximize all of your clinic’s operations often and request input from your staff about ways to do increase efficiency. Delegate as many administrative tasks as possible without impairing your understanding of how the clinic operates.
3. Enhance communication
For internal communication, you can reduce the number of unnecessary phone calls and long, convoluted email chains by utilizing an effective, centralized platform with HIPAA-compliant messaging. This can allow for care team coordination, sharing of patient records, and more. For external communication to showcase your clinic, consider professional, high-quality brochures and handouts. This collateral can focus on both clinical topics and information about your practice.
4. Online scheduling for patients:
Start by spending several weeks tracking patient flow through your clinic, keeping a record of how many patients you see each day, the amount of time a health care provider spends with a patient, as well as the number of first-time patients and the most popular day of the week for their first visit. This information can help you identify when your patient load is at its peak and allocate time for each patient visit. The majority of clinics that offer online scheduling see a variety of benefits such as reduced patient waiting time, less patient no-shows, and more time for staff to focus on other tasks, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. This will result in an increase of overall satisfaction for both your patients and staff.
5. Confirm patient appointments:
After you spend a lot of time collecting useful data about your patients and begin using online scheduling, it is still important to confirm their appointments. This undoubtedly can be a labor-intensive process—if you don’t have the staff to do it for all appointments, consider focusing on appointments that can impact your clinic the most. These can include appointments which require the most time, follow-up appointments for significant health conditions, or first-time patient appointments. No-show appointments are costly to your clinic and waste significant resources.
6. Send patient intake forms prior to appointments:
After patients schedule their appointment online and you have confirmed their appointment, it is time to send a patient intake form. Even if you tell patients to arrive early to their appointment to fill out paperwork, you can’t rely on that to actually happen. If you wait until patients do arrive to fill out the necessary paperwork you risk a backup in appointments. It is simple to digitally send patient intake forms in advance or make them available on your clinic’s website. The end result is a peace of mind knowing that the patient’s insurance coverage is verified ahead of time as well as any important medical conditions related to their visit before they physically arrive.
7. Build a budget and stick to it:
Dedicating an appropriate amount of time to build a budget is a beneficial learning experience for your career and it offers an opportunity to measure your clinic’s progress and performance. Start by gathering past historical financial data and review all of your expenses carefully. It is also helpful to review external published data yet recall that differences in the ever-changing marketplace as well as regional impacts makes this information nothing more than a rough framework. Next, compile, review, and discuss a wish list of purchases that will help to improve the efficiency of your clinic. Remember to take into account the administrative side of your practice in addition to the clinical. After assessing all factors, you should be able to enter calculated projections for the upcoming year. As the year progresses, review and adjust your financial projections based on any new data you collect. All budgets are a work in progress, and you should expect to modify it along the way.
8. Evaluate new equipment purchases and services:
Part of sticking to your budget is ensuring that all services that your clinic offers as well as any new equipment purchases will result in a positive return on your investment. It is vital to not offer a new service or purchase a major piece of equipment without a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Important factors to consider aside from the initial cost of the equipment include costs associated with delivering the service itself, staffing to operate the new equipment or service offering, as well as the anticipated patient volume who will pay for new equipment and service offerings.
9. Make judicious hiring decisions:
A bad hiring decision can create several issues for your clinic. These employees can increase stress and workload for other employees as well as cause unnecessary expenses for your clinic. While problematic employees may be easy to catch, they can sometimes be harder to terminate by increasing your risk of a wrongful termination suit. Important hiring practices include measuring the candidate’s job skills with both objective and subjective assessments. Utilizing both of these evaluations can help you determine how well a person can do their job and more importantly how well they fit into your clinic’s workplace culture. Most importantly, communicate all of your expectations to each new hire and hold them accountable.
10. Organize staff meetings
The hard work with your staff does not end after the hiring process is complete. In fact, building a close relationship becomes even more important after on-boarding is complete. Make time in your schedule to meet with your staff on a daily basis to discuss patient needs for that particular day and develop a game plan for time and resource management. Then, have follow-up meetings to focus on both the positive and negative patient impacts. For any negative patient impacts, discuss preventative strategies moving forward.
It is likely that your current clinic expenses are higher than they need to be and your revenues lower than they could be. Again, the keyword is efficiency. Taking action now and following some of the recommendations listed above can resolve both of these issues. If you manage your resources effectively, you will be better positioned to manage risks as they arrive. Taking action to improve your clinic’s efficiency while making the best use of your staff and budget will make your practice more attractive to new patients and ultimately provide a sense of accomplishment.
Ready Doc™ by Intiva Health:
Ready Doc™ is a credentialing and compliance platform which helps health care clinics and providers save time, save money, and reduce risk. Within the same dashboard where provider credentialing, privileges, and appointments are completed, administrators are also able to complete payer enrollment and providers can securely communicate with their care team. As a credentialing platform, automated provider and payer enrollment can be easily executed since the data is already stored in a central repository. With an extra layer of security through Hashgraph-based distributed ledger technology, health care providers and medical facilities can rest assured all of the provider’s information is secure yet easily accessible. The solution is a win-win for providers, patients, and facilities! The credentialing process is fast and hassle-free. With our credentialing software, providers can start treating patients sooner, revenue is boosted, administrative work is reduced, and there is more time for patient care. To learn more about how your facility can be ready with Ready Doc™, schedule a FREE demo online today or call 844-413-2602.