At PCC, we often hear from our clients about the trials and tribulations of maintaining ongoing practice success – we hear about compliance and HR issues, contract negotiations, and joining or forming a Supergroup, as well as the need for information about vaccine rebates, affordable medical supplies, staff retention, and operational and financial metrics.
While clinical knowledge is core to a pediatrician, serious thinking about the bottom line may not be at the front and center of everyday thinking. By changing how you think about your practice, you will embrace your inner business owner.
Consider these steps:
Ask Yourself: Are You a Natural Business Person?
If you are not a ‘numbers’ person, you must hire someone who is – this can be an accountant, a trusted practice management consultant or your practice manager. It’s important to understand every financial aspect of your practice so you can make the best decisions to increase revenue while maintaining your pediatric practice workflow. Ask your EHR vendor to help you with consulting or the right practice management tools and financial dashboards.
Know Your Customer
“Wait”, you say, “I see patients, not customers!” Yes, healing pediatric patients and helping patient families is what you do every day. However, a successful business retains its customers (in this case, your patients) by understanding that they are paying customers.
You deliver an exceptional experience to your customer patients when you:
- provide a caring environment
- offer ancillary services
- have after-hours and weekend appointments
- provide help with parenting tips
- engage with the community
- actively market your practice through social media channels
To learn about a model PCC practice who is doing these things well, we’d encourage you to read about Kids Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburgh.
Honestly Assess Your Practice
Choosing one or two areas of initial improvement can make a big difference in your bottom line and overall practice success.
What are your clinical quality metrics? How do you compare against your peers?
Here are some metrics to consider:
- Immunization rates for patients who are 2yrs old. Read about immunizations that are recommended by the Advisory Committee in Immunization Practices (ACIP) for children who are two years of age.
- ADD/ADHD patient follow-up. Actively managed ADD and ADHD patients must be seen by your practice at least once every six months.
- Well Visit Rates for patients under 15months: active patients who have received six or more well visits at your practice by the time they turn 15 months of age.
- Missed appointment rate. Missed appointments represent revenue loss and delayed patient care, along with stress and anxiety caused by uncertain schedules and the extra work involved with trying to fill those empty slots at the last minute.
- Do you have an effective patient recall strategy in place? If not, this is the easiest place to begin using an automated solution, calls or mail reminders.
- Are you marketing your practice effectively? If that is not within your wheelhouse, you can very easily become a powerhouse in your community by making some simple improvements. Read our blog about marketing your practice for more information.
- Do you have tools in place to measure performance? If you do not, ask your EHR vendor for help with practice management consulting, and consider using a practice performance dashboard.
- Are you focusing on preventive care or strictly on sick visits? Preventive care fills your appointment book and is simply a good pediatric practice.
- Are your staff happy and satisfied? Happy employees create loyalty and satisfied patients and patient families.
Make Technology Your Friend
At this stage of the healthcare curve, few practices are not using an EHR. Is your EHR the right tool for you? Is it pediatric-specific? Does it fit your specific workflow? Make sure your technology solution is optimized to support your workflow with the best templates and reports, the right pediatric growth charts, robust billing, a solid ePrescribing component and a robust clinical and financial performance tool.
Do you chart after hours? If you do, it may be time to investigate what your options are. Never let the fear of switching to a new vendor leave you feeling like you do not have a choice to run a smarter practice.
Use a ‘Best Practices’ Management Approach
Just as you know about clinical best practices, you need to know financial best practices. With the help of your practice manager, billing manager, accountant, or EHR vendor practice management consultant, conduct a thorough and frequent review of your revenue to gain a deep understanding of your practice’s financial health. Are your accounts receivable in line with industry averages or are you lagging behind? Have you done a coding audit? Would a billing service be more efficient? Under or over-coding, ineffective coding, slow billing, inaccurate patient insurance information, and slow follow-up will impact your practice’s receivables.
Pediatric practice success requires more than just practicing medicine; it requires an in-depth understanding of your parent audience, a keen eye on patient satisfaction, a thorough understanding of your financials, an EHR that supports pediatric workflow, and a growth or maintenance strategy with clear areas of focus and improvement. Learning to align your clinical leadership with business and financial management will allow you to continue to deliver the best pediatric care while running a successful business.