To boost the profitability of your practice, you as a physician must not only provide quality healthcare but also effectively employ other innovative strategies to help achieve your set revenue targets.
But what happens when you adopt all those strategies and still fail to reach your income goals? While patient acquisition and retention strategies may theoretically seem to guarantee higher profitability, that’s unfortunately not always the case.
This brings us to the most pertinent question: What can still undermine a medical practice’s profitability even after all profit-maximization strategies are implemented? The answer is INEFFICIENCIES.
Undermining your practice’s productivity
Inefficiencies are simply faults in a production process that inhibit the optimal utilization of available resources. As such, inefficiencies in medical practices prevent the optimal use of resources such as time, money, equipment, and staff to achieve the practice owner’s output goals.
Inefficiencies might manifest themselves in several forms. The following is a detailed outline of inefficiencies that cost money in medical practices along with actionable solutions that can help mitigate them.
1) Inefficiencies in handling incoming patient calls
An inefficiency entirely dissociated from the technical intricacies of professional medicine, inefficiency in picking up patient calls significantly undermines a medical practice’s profitability. This is because calls are a major avenue through which patients establish initial contact with a medical practice.
Therefore, patients are bound to get irritated and frustrated when they experience extended delays or lack of any response when they call your practice. This could be due to a shortage of receptionists at your front desk, perhaps because of a heavier workload or a momentary absence of a staff member.
Long voicemail menus are also a great inconvenience. All of these inefficiencies are prone to culminate in patients abandoning your practice and seeking alternative healthcare providers who are more reliable.
Such an occurrence implies that your practice will lose potential revenue that new patients would have brought in. In the case of existing patients, they are likely to lose faith in your professionalism and migrate once their ongoing engagements are complete.
Therefore, it is important to use modern technological solutions to eliminate inefficiencies in your practice’s call system. A 5-Star remote backup front desk can be very helpful, as it will help ensure instant response to patient calls, conversation with a live receptionist, and quicker delivery of patient support.
2) Inefficiencies in responding to messages
Text messages are also an avenue through which some patients may choose to engage with your practice. This is especially so for essential but non-urgent inquiries. For instance, prospective patients may text their inquiries concerning your practice’s medical services while existing patients may text to follow up on their active engagements, including appointments and other important items in their patient schedules.
In such a case, customer experience problems may arise if there is no one to respond to the text messages in good time. This is because client inquiries will remain hanging for a long time. Also, inefficiencies may occur in intra-staff messaging if your staff doesn’t have a coordinated messaging mechanism.
Therefore, it is essential to have an organized and efficient system of relaying and responding to messages both within the organization and outside of it. Front desk assistants like UPbook are helpful in such a case as they can facilitate timely response to text messages conversationally to respond to the specific concerns of the sender.
3) Inefficiencies in patient check-ins and fulfillment of appointments
A patient successfully contacting your medical practice via call or text message is a good start. However, efficiency challenges come up again when it comes to the processing of the patient. Patients may have a hard time accessing your practice’s physical location once they decide to visit.
Once patients are at your practice, filling out physical forms may then create unnecessary delays at your front desk and result in extra inefficiency in the patient check-in process. Following up on patients to ensure they report for their appointments can also be problematic if they are not immediately available and the appointment day is very close.
To mitigate this, you can ensure patients have clear directions for getting to your practice’s clinic so wastage of time can be avoided. You can then facilitate means of prospective patients getting registration and history forms at home so they can fill them before coming to the clinic. This way, you can streamline the check-in process and make it faster so more patients can be attended to.
To solve the issue of patients showing up for appointments late or missing them completely, ensure that your front desk staff sends out reminders in advance so that patients can prepare themselves and show up. If they are unable to make it, they can notify your practice early enough so you can fill that slot with another client to maximize revenue.
4) Inefficiencies in back-office operations
Just like the front office, the back office has several inefficiencies that result from the specific role it plays in medical practice. For instance, a lot of complexities in creating and updating patient charts greatly slow down turnarounds in the back office.
Gaps in cooperation usually result in difficulties in obtaining the requisite patient data to prepare charts. Test results and referral reports may take unnecessarily long to get from the lab as they may involve a lot of back and forth every time new information is required.
To mitigate this, staff charged with doing chart preparation can create a list of all the patient information required from the lab and then obtain them at once. This can help in avoiding wastage of time through the frequent back and forth.
For patient tests and referrals, defined roles should be assigned to specific people to avoid confusion. Also, back-office staff must be given clear time schedules for tests and referrals so that they don’t delay in administering them or end up conducting them too early.
5) Inefficiencies due to lack of coordination
Lack of coordination between the doctor and the supporting staff is another one of the inefficiencies in medical practices. This is because the doctor is the central player around whom medical practice’s operations revolve.
Therefore, if a doctor does not report to the clinic on time, certain operations that are dependent on the doctor’s input will be stuck. This will result in a work backlog. There might also be delays in the treatment of patients, something that will result in delays and customer dissatisfaction.
Also, lack of coordination may manifest itself through gaps in knowledge of or willingness to operate by standardized guidelines and processes. For instance, if a new technological system is introduced and either the doctor or the staff is unwilling or unable to use it, inefficiencies are sure to arise. This is because reconciling the different workflows and harmonizing output will be difficult.
Meet the UPGS Program
At UPbook, our central objective is to help practice owners optimize their operations and maximize productivity. We have deep insight into the challenges that face medical practices and understand just how detrimental operational inefficiencies can be to your practice’s profitability.
As such, we have devised the Ultimate Practice Growth System to help practice owners minimize inefficiencies in their businesses. The UPGS program helps doctors with marketing and growth, optimizing front desk operations, and implementing strategies to improve profitability.
All of this will optimize your practice’s success, save you time and money, and facilitate faster achievement of your professional goals by allowing you to focus on your doctor responsibilities. Try UPGS out today to completely transform your medical practice’s fortunes!