There are just never enough hours in a day. Can you relate? I only see patients a couple days a week and I have a large staff and I still get up at daybreak just to manage the day. When I browse through an internet group chat, I notice many colleagues sharing this same frustration.
Most practices consist of one service provider who is usually also the business owner and one support personnel. One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is spending all their time working in the business and not enough time working on the business. While it’s essential to see patients to generate revenue, someone also has to pay bills, manage employees, review AR, oversee cost of goods, develop marketing plans, just to name a few of the tasks that fall to a business owner. And then there is attracting new patients and keeping current patients happy. It can be exhausting.
So what to do?
Try to automate as many tasks as possible. I just read about virtual receptionist services available on the net. Why not? It may be less expensive than hiring a real person. If you are still handling paper charts just say STOP! It’s virtually impossible to run an efficient business without being electronic. Just insurance billing alone justifies going paperless. Digitizing and automating the billing process enables faster collections, fewer denials and a more consistent flow of revenue.
Most patients today have access to email and/or text messaging. Most current office management systems allow for automated appointment confirmations and marketing messages. It’s important to stay in contact with current patients whether it’s a reminder for an annual hearing evaluation or technology updates. There are several automated marketing companies like AudMa and I am working with Ryan Kabel on his new KabelSync that make marketing to your data base a breeze.
I chatted with an audiologist and business owner last week who was facing the conundrum of having to book patients a month out and she just didn’t know what to do. I suggested she hire an assistant but was worried that patients would only be happy seeing her. Actually, I have found the opposite to be true. If you educate patients and assure them that there are other qualified providers on the staff they can see in the event that they don’t want to wait for service, most people are happy to see another provider. I explain to patients that if they need service on a hearing aid they really don’t want ME to do it and assure them that the assistants are much more qualified to handle repairs. Sure some patients want their preferred provider but others are happy to work with anyone who is qualified to handle the problem.
While it isn’t easy to manage the many duties required to run a successful practice, it can be done without going crazy and sacrificing sleep. Try to remember that YOU don’t have to do EVERYTHING.
Ask yourself every time you start a task whether it is essential that YOU do it or whether you could ask your support person to complete the task. If the task isn’t generating revenue or helping to maintain a relationship with a current patient, then perhaps YOU don’t need to do it.