Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are worthless; but planning is everything.” While he was referring to wartime activities, it is a message that rings true for other situations as well. For example, many of us plan to lose weight, get a better job, become healthier; but without specific planning, those grand ideas may not come to fruition.
Ophthalmology practices are no different. If you own an ophthalmology practice, you may plan to increase your prospects, perform more surgeries, grow your revenue; but without specific planning to reach those goals, your practice may become stagnant. Worse, it may diminish.
Plan vs. Planning
The difference between plan and planning may seem small. In fact, specific planning may seem like an easy process to undertake in-house. However, if your practice doesn’t know the right steps to take and know the right questions to answer, your internal staff may become overwhelmed with the details. Worse yet, they may miss vital details that can make or break your practice’s growth.
There are specific organizational and management structures you can start to analyze right now in order to begin the planning process. If your management team does not have the time or expertise to properly gather the following pieces of information, hire an external consultant to aid in the process. Often, an external consultant will recognize signs of inefficiencies that may be overlooked by internal staff because they will be taking an unbiased viewpoint of the systems currently in place. Enlisting the help of a consultant that is fully knowledgeable about the complex ophthalmology field will improve your chances for success.
Start with a Roadmap
Gather information on the current state of your practice. Talk to your physicians, management team and shareholders (if applicable) to assess your successes, failures and goals. Your goals should include key initiatives to assist you in maintaining viability and market share in the current economic environment. Answer questions such as:
- How do you measure the current success of your practice?
- How many patients do you see on an annual basis? How would you like that to improve?
- What benchmarks are you trying to achieve?
- What check and balance systems do you have in place?
- What is your practice’s reputation in the community?
- What type of patient experience do you provide at every step in the process?
- What is the ultimate goal of your practice?
- What are your core values? What is your mission statement?
- Does your organizational structure aid or prohibit efficiency?
This is where strategy consultants can help you identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your practice and implement key initiatives to help you maintain viability, expand your market share and develop succession plans.
Understand Your Finances
To achieve maximum profitability, you need to be fiscally responsible for making sure every service rendered is paid for and that your revenue stream can support your internal costs. As the practice owner, you should carefully review monthly reports on the status of your revenue stream, expenses, net profitability and overhead. Some of the most common reasons for decreased profitability include:
- Reimbursement reductions
- Increased cost of labor and benefits
- Ineffective billing and collection practices
Armed with this type of detailed information about your practice, you can start to get planning underway to benchmark your best practice standards, improve your efficiencies and increase your revenue.
Your employees can represent one of your practice’s greatest assets – or your greatest weakness. Either way, they also represent your greatest expense. Make sure you have hired the very best individuals to exemplify your practice. Day-to-day management effectiveness is imperative for practice viability.
- Make sure staff understands and supports your core values and mission statement.
- Develop employee appraisal systems such as pay for performance systems to remain competitive.
- Have succession planning in place for smooth transitions in the event that doctors, management or other staff members leave your practice.
- Hire a CEO or administrator to quickly implement systems to improve efficiency, profitability and grow your practice. This can also be outsourced to CEO advisory companies.
Your patient experience should always remain at the heart of this entire planning process. Behind the scenes, you’re running a complex business in an ever-changing economy, but your patients only need to know that they will always receive the very best care from your office. By having all of these systems in place, your practice should run seamlessly – from initial patient consultations to surgical days to the medical billing process.
Ophthalmology Practice Management Outsourcing
Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration, is a Management Services Organization (MSO) that provides expert physician practice management for ophthalmology practices. Our clients range from solo practitioners to large multi-specialty physician practices and academic medical centers. We customize our projects to your needs – no two projects are alike. Our projects can be as small (but important) as budget development to as extensive as handling the CEO responsibilities of a practice. Regardless of the phase your practice is in, we can help.
To find out how your practice can benefit from our expertise, contact Advantage Healthcare Consulting today.