How to Run a More Profitable Medical Practice in 6 Steps

Posted by September 27, 2016 4:55 pm

How to Run a Profitable Medical Practice

Running a profitable medical practice is is more challenging than it has ever been.  Driven by new regulations like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), administrators have to spend more of their time dealing with new tools, reporting requirements and practice guidelines that take away from the time they would otherwise spend focused on running the business of the practice.


Since those regulatory burdens are unlikely to go away anytime in the foreseeable future, practices have to develop new disciplines to ensure they can not only continue to grow, but grow profitably as well.

Here are 6 tips to do just that: 


1. Know Your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)


How will you know how well your medical practice is doing if you aren’t tracking and analyzing performance?


Start by deciding what metrics and reports will be the most meaningful to your practice and assist you in encouraging growth and profitability over time.


The metrics with the most impact will vary, but consider:

  • Daily Charges
  • Days in AR
  • Denials by Category
  • Compliance Errors
  • Patient Satisfaction

As with any business, constant monitoring and consistent review are key to optimizing performance against these metrics.


2. Streamline Care Team Communication


One of the biggest hurdles to any practice in operating at peak performance is poor and inefficient communication. Those productivity losses decrease the amount of patients you can see, decreasing your revenue…you get the picture.


Although providers are consistently up-to-date on the latest treatment methods for their patients, medical practices are often behind the times when it comes to back-office communication technology.


Fax machines, pagers, and third party live-operating services are still commonplace in most practices. Consider streamlining these workflows and boosting productivity with an on-call management platform.


Data backs up the productivity gains: practices who utilize on-call management platforms instead of traditional live-answering services show:

  • 92% reductions in communication cycle times
  • 80% fewer phone calls from nurses
  • 50% of consults complete in <1 minute


3. Be Mobile


Smartphone adoption long ago reached critical mass, and many industries have already heavily incorporated mobile tools and technologies into their operational and business models.   


It’s time for healthcare to catch up, but numerous studies show that the majority of healthcare organizations are lagging behind when incorporating mobile technology into everyday business operations.


Mobile tools are no longer a ‘nice to have’ – they are a ‘must’ – in any business, and healthcare is no exception.


A few to mobile solutions consider:

  • Mobile EHR. Physicians can input patient data and complete traditional EHR tasks on the go.
  • Secure Communications. Traditional SMS texting of patient data (ePHI) is not HIPAA-compliant. Therefore, mobile solutions with encrypted texting capability allow for instant care-team communication with reduced liability.
  • On-Call Management. Providers can now manage their on-call workflows directly from the palm of their hand, without need for a third-party answering service.
  • Charge Capture. Instead of hand-writing notes from patient interactions and passing them along for administrators to enter later, providers can use mobile charge capture apps to document those interactions and select ICD codes right from the app to immediately update the patient record and billing system.


4. Stand Out Online


In the digital age, your practice’s online reputation is increasingly important to increasing your patient volume.


The majority of patients—84%—say they use online reviews to evaluate healthcare providers, and more than three-quarters of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor.


To maximize your online reputation:

  • Make sure you have an informative, up-to-date website. Clearly display your locations, the services you offer, your credentials, and any other relevant information. Additionally, make your website engaging with links to patient portals and appointment scheduling tools.
  • Have a social media presence. Practices can use social media to engage with patients outside of the office and to capture new leads.
  • Encourage patient reviews. Online reviews can help your practice’s visibility in Google’s search results, as well as positively influence prospective patients.


5. See Patients as Customers


There is a common myth that healthcare is different from other industries and patients do not bring the same expectations about customer experience to healthcare that they bring to retail or technology companies.


This is absolutely untrue. More than half of patients say they value great customer service in a healthcare provider.


Recognize that your patients are paying customers and treat them accordingly. Patients are increasingly interested in patient portals, online scheduling options, and instant communication with their provider. Take their wants and needs into account in order to create loyal customers and word-of-mouth referrals.

Additionally, with the new value-based care legislation (MACRA) set to affect reimbursement payments, a positive patient experience is especially vital to your bottom line.


6. Keep Up With the Regulatory Landscape


Speaking of MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act), it is essential to keep up with the ever-changing medical regulatory landscape to ensure practice profitability.


Ensure that you receive the proper reimbursement by understanding the reporting and performance requirements and tracking accordingly.

One good way to stay up-to-date, is to subscribe to CMS alerts.


What solutions have you implemented that had a positive effect on your practice’s bottom line?