Earning more money as a medical practice owner in Australia isn’t always as simple as seeing more patients. It’s never wise to just load up your schedule and cross your fingers. Trying to cram in more visits than you can handle will lower the quality of the care you can provide and this will have a negative effect on your business, overall.
So what is the key to generating more profit?
It often comes down to working smarter with what you already have to work with.
Consider five crucial strategies that can majorly impact how profitable your practice is.
Watch For Business Capital Drains
Do you have any expenses that are unnecessarily sucking the life out of your profits?
It certainly costs a decent chunk of change to keep a medical practice clean, safe and functional.
But if you take a closer look at your business expenses on occasion, you might be surprised to notice some areas where you’re paying more than you need to be.
For example, you should carefully go over your property lease before automatically renewing it. You could qualify for lower payments if the terms are adjusted. But if you don’t know what opportunities exist, then you might go on paying the same rent you always have and, in fact, pay more than you need to.
Another good idea is to check your utility bills for signs of excess energy consumption. Are there machines or computers being left on overnight or over the weekend that don’t need to be running? Establish a new office policy that aims to reduce energy consumption.
Refine Your Office Processes
There’s a lot of legwork that goes into treating a patient, dealing with the admin and getting paid. The faster you can get all of that extra behind-the-scenes work done, the more money you’ll save.
You might not feel up to the challenge of adjusting your practice’s organisational structure or office procedures. You know medicine, not business.
But even if you provide the best care in your industry, patients would still avoid seeing you if they are always waiting for an hour to be seen or if the receptionist keeps losing their records. And negative patient experiences add up to lost business and a hit to your profit margin.
This is why it’s worth putting some time and thought into ensuring that you have a reliable system of processes in place.
Smooth office processes will speed things up and free you up to see more patients and generate more revenue.
How can you tweak your office processes?
Review the ones you have, first of all. Look for areas of overlap or gaps where tasks are being left undone. Search for areas that have potential for cross-training your team to take care of multiple tasks so that no one is sitting around saying “that’s not my job.” Identify the problems that may be slowing things down and then search for appropriate solutions.
Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page concerning how to answer the phone, book appointments for the doctor’s schedule and even how to screen callers to determine the nature of their medical issue.
Integrate Practice Management Software
A comprehensive software system will help you out in two critical ways:
– Streamline the flow of patient care
– Keep patient data tidy and organised
Digital information storage eliminates the infection control hazard of paper files that can get contaminated in treatment areas. An office-wide system also allows the convenient sharing and access of sensitive patient information among team members. Billing is simpler and more accurate. Scheduling is also a breeze. Some systems will even let your patients schedule online and access their treatment records.
Installing a practice software system takes a little money and time, but you’ll agree it’s well worth it when you see how it helps speed up your treatment processes and minimise costly errors.
Watch Your Fees
Make sure that you are charging a current rate for services that reflects the increasing cost of providing medical care. It might not feel good to charge your patients more, but it is necessary to keep your practice financially afloat.
That said, there’s no need to get greedy and gouge your patients for extra money to fund your next holiday. Just take care that you are slowly raising fees to match the rising costs of your business expenses. If you don’t, you may see that profit margin start shrinking.
Grow and Nurture Your Team
A high staff turnover is crippling for a medical practice, when you consider payouts, recruitment costs, training, efficiencies not to mention lost income.
Always take care of your own. This means providing fair salaries and being willing to make certain concessions for the comfort and happiness of your team.
Don’t take anyone for granted. If all people on your team feel appreciated and fairly-compensated, then they will give their all to your practice and you’ll have fewer instances of burnout and workplace conflict.
Ready to grow your medical practice? The team at Nitschke Nancarrow specialises in medical practice accounting and helping practices thrive.
Contact Nitschke Nancarrow, experts in all aspects of accounting for doctors – accounting, financial planning, investment and business. We operate in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and throughout Australia. Managing partner Kym Nitschke is available for a free initial discussion about your situation. Call us on (08) 8379 9950 or send me an email.
– Kym Nitschke
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