Essential Guide to Practice Efficiency
Practice efficiency is key to the well-being of your medical business. It guides the physician and patient experience at your practice and plays a pivotal role in business success as well as the physician burnout epidemic.
Chaotic work environments, overwhelming time pressures, and an incredible amount of stress create an environment in which medical staff experience emotional exhaustion, interpersonal disengagement, and a sense of inadequacy. If these symptoms resonate with your practice, you may be dealing with practice inefficiency.
Is your medical practice struggling with practice efficiency? To create a work environment in which your medical practice can begin to thrive, understand the importance of practice efficiency, recognize where your medical practice could improve, and implement the following five tips to improve efficiency.
Why is Practice Efficiency Important?
Medical practice efficiency is critical to physicians, patients, and a business’s well-being.
- Physicians: Practice efficiency is a key driver for both physician burnout and professional fulfillment. An efficient practice leads physicians to feel happier and more purpose-driven at work, while also improving their sense of self-worth and self-efficacy.
- Patients: Practice efficiency can empower physicians to deliver an unprecedented quality of patient care—when the office runs smoothly, patients notice. Without chaos and pressing timelines, doctors can spend more quality time with patients, attend to their needs, and address their concerns.
- Business: Practice efficiency is one of the ways to increase medical practice revenue and boost staff morale. Practices that don’t consider efficiency have overheads that take up 60 percent of revenue costs where efficient practices only pay 35 percent towards their overhead. Staff morale increases with more seamless processes that promote healthier work-life balances. With higher quality care comes greater patient satisfaction, and ultimately, improved customer retention and loyalty.
Physician Burnout & Practice Efficiency
High levels of stress lead to physician burnout and increase the probability of poor patient care, which, in turn, hinders business. The human element of healthcare lies in the hands of physicians. To deliver the highest value of care, these hands must be in good health. When a professional is depleted, what kind of patient care can they provide?
In this Medscape survey of 15,000 physicians, 42 percent reported burnout, 33 percent of these physicians that suffer say they are easily exasperated, 32 percent report less engagement, and active listening, and 29 percent admit to being less friendly with patients. When working under the condition of physician burnout, professionals cannot function to their potential. Although practice efficiency is essential, it’s not easily achieved, and many medical practices struggle for a variety of reasons.
Why is your practice struggling with practice efficiency?
If you’re struggling with an inefficient medical practice, you’re not alone. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, 25 percent of specialists fall behind in their appointment schedules daily, 79 percent fall behind because patient visits last longer than expected, and 66 percent fall back because patients are late and don’t have time to fill out paperwork. Although there are various reasons in which practices fall behind and into inefficiency, consider the following factors that could be stunting productivity at your practice.
- Outdated technology: Is your practice still manually completing the majority of administrative tasks? Switching from manual to an automated system can not only save time but an estimated $9.4 billion a year for medical health plans and providers. If your technology is old, it could be hurting your practice more than helping by slowing down your process.
- Administrative responsibilities know no boundaries: If your staff isn’t utilized in the right way, according to their job title, your practice could suffer from inefficiency. Is your team overwhelmed by administrative tasks that stop them from completing their primary responsibilities? Is your staff using the skills for which they were uniquely trained? 59 percent of professionals who report physician burnout attribute their condition to an overwhelming amount of bureaucratic tasks.
- No performance management: Is your practice’s work environment so out-of-control that you have no time to track performance? Lack of awareness of what causes dips and drops in your business will result in repeated, unwelcome surprises that stunt efficiency. Without tracking costs, collections, and workflows, how can you reach revenue goals?
These are only a few areas in which your practice efficiency may be slowed—but regardless of where you’re struggling, consider implementing these tips to ensure practice efficiency that can improve physician, patient, and business well-being.
5 Tips to Improve Practice Efficiency
- Latest technology: Ensure the system or software you choose is up-to-date and will continually update—if your technology is old, it could serve as a hindrance by slowing down administrative tasks.
- Administrative team: Consider hiring a team, purchasing software, finding a third-party service, or any other resource dedicated solely to managing administrative tasks. For example, the medical billing and collection practice is a job in itself—is your practice adequately equipped to execute this process efficiently?
- Performance management: Participate in preventative care for your practice. Just like early-detection is vital to patient health, acknowledging and anticipating challenges your business is key to increasing practice efficiency. Look for dips in productivity and profitability and address them before they happen again.
- Morning meeting: Morning meetings are another way to take preventative care of your practice and improve communication among the entire team. Take fifteen minutes to cover the daily outlook by addressing key questions— what challenges might your team encounter today? How can you solve them? What does the schedule look like for today? Were appointments canceled or rescheduled? How might this affect the entire team? What other information could benefit the staff in striving for practice efficiency?
- Proper scheduling: 47 percent of physicians claim that they fall behind because appointments are booked in small windows and 31 percent say appointments are overbooked. Open the lines of communication between physicians and administrative staff—do your scheduling guidelines need to change?
Practice efficiency is rooted in both physician and patient well-being—strive to improve these experiences with streamlined, up-to-date systems. Although some research recommends improving physician resiliency to address physician burnout, ClearGage advises an organizational adjustment to ease the burden on staff and patients.
Learn more about our services here.
How to Improve Practice Management in Veterinary Practices
Practice management can be difficult for any practice and even more so for veterinary practices that have to manage both clients and their pets. An efficiently running practice will retain clients for years while creating a steady and reliable stream of revenue.
Is your practice experiencing difficulty in retaining clients? Do you feel that you aren’t meeting your client’s demands? We outline all the ways you can improve practice management in your veterinary practice.
Practice Management: 5 Ways to Improve your Veterinary Practice
1. Always Make The Next Appointment
Setting a date for wellness checks and yearly immunizations keep pets healthier. Appointments encourage patient engagement and allow clients to set aside time in their schedules to maintain the health of their pets. These appointments keep clients regularly engaging with your practice while also providing a solid revenue stream that improves practice management.
2. Remind Clients of Appointments
By setting an automatic reminder, your staff can dedicate fewer resources to appointment management. Your practice can also use a system to create reminders that can increase patient engagement and personally reach out to check on the wellbeing of pets. Keeping in contact with clients will allow closer monitoring of any symptom changes and help determine if a change in treatment is necessary. Reminders keep pets healthy, build client trust, and promote a healthy revenue stream.
3. Provide Quality Support
Clients should never walk away confused about their pet’s health. Training staff to clearly and concisely address the needs of clients will increase patient satisfaction and present an organized practice to clients. Creating a checklist of in-office procedures, calling clients after their appointments, and assigning specific tasks to staff are just some of the solutions that will improve your veterinary practice management.
4. Build Relationships with Vendors
Every practice benefits from efficiency. By cultivating meaningful relationships with vendors you can ensure that you get any necessary products that you need to run your practice as quickly as possible. In the long run, this might also lead to loyalty discounts from vendors and will easily improve practice management at your veterinary clinic.
5. Invest in Software Automation
Practice management requires attention to many different areas to run efficiently. Using effective software can keep track of these areas and open up your practice to increased patient satisfaction, enhanced pet care, and improved interactions with clients. Automating your practice means that staff becomes more aware of their tasks while also reducing the possibility of human error.
A veterinary practice relies on quality practice management to keep clients happy and pets healthy. Managing client expectations and the health of pets is complex, but cultivating an atmosphere known to provide exceptional care is clearcut. Using these tips will help improve client retention while improving practice management at your veterinary practice.