Many medical practices run “just fine”, but if you want to be a cut above your competitors, there are a few factors you’ll have to continuously improve. Medical professionals who institute best practices are the ones who tend to be more successful. So let’s take a look at 5 strategies you can use to boost your medical practice’s bottom line.
This seems rather obvious but it is essential to the success of your practice. Tracking your performance gives you an indication of possible opportunities and where your areas of improvement are. You’ll have evidence of whether your strategies are working or not and can better guide your practice towards your intended objectives. Various measurements should be tracked: compensation to staffing ratios, expense management, performance to budget and patient satisfaction, just to name a few.
Analyse denials and accounts receivable
Most successful medical practices analyse their claims denials and quickly take action to reduce them. It’s important to frequently check this so that you know what denials are coming through, from which medical aid or payer and then investigate why this is happening.
It’s also crucial to look at your accounts receivable and analyse those that fall into different ageing groups, like accounts not paid in 30 or 60 days for example, and determine the cause. Are claims not filed on time? Are there claims that are too high in volume or high in amount? Are details being put in incorrectly? Investigating all this will provide more clarity so that you can modify your processes to run your practice more efficiently. Remember that the prevention of denials is key to being a high-performing practice.
Understand payer contracts and patient demands
It’s important to know about the medical aid’s requirements for prior authorisation, medical necessity, timely filing etc. to avoid delays and denials. To avoid being underpaid, your practice should review or renegotiate your payment rates where possible. Striking that balance between charging for your services and providing affordable care for your patients is delicate to master, but it is possible.
You also want to verify payment compliance and not just assume that the payer is always accurate. You want to ensure that you’re being paid for what is contracted and what reflects your current rates, you don’t want to be inadvertently underpaid.
Understanding the demands of your patients is also important, what do they want and what other services can they benefit from getting from you. In an ideal world, you’d rather your patients get most of their medical services from you so consider, if there’s enough demand and capacity, if your medical practice can extend its offering.
Effectively communicating with your patients is directly tied to a practice’s finances. Your patients want to know how much they’ll owe you upfront. They need to know which payments (if any) they’ll be responsible for and which payment options they have at their disposal.
Your staff should also know about the payment structures of your medical practice so that they’re able to help your patients where possible. If you have a payment plan structure for patients without medical aid, this should also be communicated to your staff so they can accurately pass along that information to your patients. You want your patients to have an overall good experience with your practice, so the more knowledgeable your staff is about intricate information like payment policies, the better they can explain to your patients.
Create a positive culture
Spend some time thinking about the type of work culture you want your practice to have. Your practice could have the best strategies ever, but if your culture doesn’t align, then keeping employees won’t be easy. You want the people who work with you to believe in what you’re trying to achieve. Yes, you can’t expect every single person to be a ray of sunshine, however, you don’t want disgruntled employees to negatively impact you and your business. Your patients can tell when staff members are dissatisfied and you don’t want that to ruin your reputation.
The bottom line
If you want your practice to do more than “just fine”, then it’s worth looking into how your practice is run. Making incremental changes as you know more not only benefits you and your team but also greatly benefits your patients and your reputation.