A well known business fact is that a business is either growing or it is shrinking. Nothing stays exactly the same. The practice is either being pro-actively created or it is coasting (i.e. nothing much being done to improve it) and therefore shrinking and getting behind.
It is easy for apathy about changes to sneak in and slow things down. There are distractions that seem more important at the time than paying attention to your practice. Sometimes it is just that you don’t know what to “pro-actively create.” Sometimes you are so overwhelmed with the quantity of things to “fix” that you don’t even know where to start.
There is a system to handle all of the above:
Write down all the things that you feel should be changed or improved in order to grow the practice. Now choose what you think are THE 3 things that are most likely to improve or grow the practice if cared for.
Take the first, most important one. Go and find out more about the area – inspect to see what the state of the nation is there.
For example, let us say you have a concern about the recall or reminder system of getting patients back into the practice for checkups or treatment. Some practice owners are all over this area daily, which is not good as it is micro-managing and means the staff are not well trained or you don’t trust them enough. Other practitioners have withdrawn from this, figuring that the staff must know what to do and are doing it … which can be far from the actual truth of the matter.
So, go and ask questions, look at the stats, check the computer for how many patients haven’t been rescheduled, etc. Many recall systems run at about 60% efficiency levels which means a lot of missed ideal service to the patients (nevermind the amount of lost income). Look for yourself, don’t listen to explanations.
Write a little project:
If it is less than ideal, what do you think could be done to improve it? A staff training session? A bonus system to inspire staff to get it done well (for the patient’s sake)? A new policy on how it is done? The receptionist too overloaded and needs additional help? The computer is glitching and not showing up the correct information? … and so on. You don’t know until you inspect.
Now you can write a little 3 or 4 step project on what to do and give it to the person who does the recalls. State the date you want it done by.
Keep a copy of your own in a “Projects” file and diarize the date for completion so you check up then to ensure that the steps were done on time. Require that the staff member sends you back the project with some notes as to exactly what was done for each step you wrote. You can always inspect again to see if it is now working in an ideal way.
From the way it is to the way it should be:
Taking each area of the practice that could be improved and moving it with little projects to the way it should be will result in an ideal practice. And after all, that is what the patients would want, right? They believe that they are paying for perfect service … so let’s give it to them!