Organizational gurus have dedicated millions of pages and hundreds of self-help seminars to the importance of efficient checklists. But when it comes to running your medical practice, checklists are more than organizational tools—they are lifelines. There are so many facets to successful management that it is very easy to overlook the smallest detail, which can result in a disastrous, and expensive, mistake.
When you give a patient a physical, you don’t only look at their eyes, ears and throat, do you? A complete physical involves blood work and often other tests for diseases such as type 2 diabetes. A thorough medical evaluation doesn’t only involve a physical exam. You must evaluate every aspect of a patient’s diet, lifestyle, family medical history and personal medical profile before giving an accurate diagnosis.
So be sure you’re doing the same thing for your practice.
Evaluating the financial health of your practice
Evaluating the financial health of your practice means much more than looking at the bottom line. Not all spreadsheets are created equal. It’s too easy to look at the final tally without considering the toll of training, continuing education, insurance, real estate valuation and other subtleties. All of these make an impact on the overall picture of your financial health. Remember, if you ever decide to sell or transfer your practice, all of these factors can determine the overall value of your venture.
Of course, successful practices make a profit, but to continue being profitable, you should make a list—and check it twice—to be sure your practice has covered all of the following bases:
- An accurate, tri-layered valuation of how much your practice is worth.
- Insurance policies that protect your practice assets, including technology and medication.
- Track costs by category. This will help you pinpoint where you may be experiencing an increase in expenses.
- Do you accept payment plans? If you do, are you sure patients understand your billing practices? How are payment plans noted on the accounting sheet?
- Your collection ratio (and how to improve it if needed.)
- Do you rent or own your location? While your practice advisor has most likely already helped you with a cost/ benefit analysis, it is important to continually look at the changing real estate market and comparative rent prices to be sure you’re getting the best deal.
- KPI monitoring [link to earlier blog post] is an important aspect of not only meeting your practice’s goals, but to determine how its financial health is impacted.
- Do you have detailed, solid employee manual in place? Employees should know your policies and each employee should have a yearly evaluation. Make sure it has been updated and revised.
- Make sure those who need hazardous materials training are up-to-date on the procedures.
- Have you posted all the required OSHA regulations, material safety data sheets, and any other required documents?
- Make sure all employees are trained on new equipment.
- If your office utilizes electronic medical records, be sure that all those who have access are well-versed in patient privacy regulations.
Of course, this list is only the tip of the iceberg. With so many contingencies to play for, is it any wonder that many physicians decide to utilize the expertise of a practice advisor? Practice advisors have access to experts in the fields that are vital for your success. From real estate professionals who have had an eye on the local trends for decades to marketing experts who can help you get new patients.