June 13, 2022
The Importance of a Medical Practice Assessment
Why do medical practitioners begin visits by obtaining background and historical information from a patient? From a medical standpoint, a history and annual physical serves as a wellness check, allows the provider to gather important biographical and background information, addresses important health issues, and serves as the foundation for the visit and the treatment plan. In other words, it’s a chronological account of the major problem for which the patient is seeking medical care.
Medical providers and practitioners who choose to go into private physician practice do so for many reasons: autonomy, flexibility, building a business, making their own decisions, and controlling their own patient panel are just a few of the reasons that are often stated by medical practice owners. However, growing a private practice, like any business, comes with its own set of issues and operational challenges.
What many medical professionals often forget is that medical practices are, first and foremost, a business. The owners are ultimately responsible for the operation of the entire organization, including human resources management, revenue cycle management operations, standard operating procedures, growing and developing leadership, general medical practice management, medical billing, accounts receivable, cash flow, and delegating responsibilities to office staff members. All of these duties have to be deftly handled while seeing patients, charting, and juggling the complexities of medicine in an ever-changing landscape.
The most important element to the operational success of a private physician practice is strong leadership supporting the provider-owner both inside and outside the organization. Inside the practice, there must be systematic thinking and standards for the workflow processes that are understood and followed by the employees and enforced by the leadership. Outside of the practice, there must be support from professional consultants, accountants, and attorneys who understand the nuances of the medical field and can give sound feedback and contribute to implementing a strategic plan for growth.
This brings us back to the history and physical: it’s almost impossible to address the issues of a healthcare practice and develop a plan for a thriving future without obtaining a deep understanding of the entire medical business. At DoctorsManagement, we feel strongly that engaging with a client is a true partnership. It is embedded into the core of our structure to develop deep relationships with our healthcare partners and to gain trust by being able to understand the complexities of every practice we work with.
Practice Assessments go to the core of what we do and how we begin to develop relationships and gain trust. Our consultants and specialists will spend the time to truly understand the “good, bad, and ugly” of your medical business. We will review all areas of your organization to learn what is working well and what needs to be worked on. We provide constructive feedback on changes that need to be made and how to make them. Most importantly, we do not just leave you with our findings; we partner with you and your team and think of ourselves as fractional executives in your business to ensure that the medical practice is continually improving and growing.
As part of the Practice Assessment, we will ask for and review financial and operational data from your practice. We will compare revenue, overhead, reimbursement, and productivity to others in your specialty. We will have our specialists give feedback on OSHA, HIPAA, and Regulatory Compliance, as well as provide a review of your coding and documentation. We analyze and assess your management and organizational chart and give feedback on HR and staffing considerations. From a growth and marketing perspective, you can expect information on scheduling and patient flow, operational best practices, non-physician providers & extenders, ancillary service opportunities, and marketing your practice. Most importantly, we will spend several days onsite at your practice meeting your staff and conducting one-on-one, confidential interviews with members of your team, as well as reviewing the medical facilities. This gives us the insight we need to understand what makes the medical office and its team members tick and gives us a view into the overall culture.
The Practice Assessment ends with a two-hour presentation and strategic planning session with the provider owner(s). The DoctorsManagement consultants will present their findings and start to develop a roadmap to the future growth and success of the entire organization. Then we commit to working with you and your leadership team on the implementation of our findings, correcting any deficiencies, and setting goals with a plan on how to accomplish them. We use this initial plan as the starting point for constantly going through a plan, do, check, act (PDCA) cycle. Finally, as often as possible we commit to coming back in thirty days to ensure that the plan is being executed and that we are beginning to accomplish what we identified as short-term objectives as part of the PDCA cycle. You will also fully understand our practice management services and pricing.
At DoctorsManagement, we have been working with medical providers and practices on operational, organizational, and business challenges since 1965. Our clients have consistently been able to focus more on patient care and less on the business operations side of medicine while increasing their profitability and take-home pay, reducing patient wait times, and increasing patient satisfaction ratings. Before we can get to that point, however, we need to understand your practice, know the history, and make a plan. It starts with a practice assessment performed by a medical practice consultant who examines every aspect of your business and presents you with specific recommendations for improvements. Most importantly, it starts with getting to know you, your vision, and gaining your trust.
By Jesse D. Overbay, Associate Director, General Counsel