When we work with practices that are not as profitable as planned, or that are even struggling financially, the managers and owners almost always ask, "Are we overstaffed?" And almost always -- contrary to expectations -- our opinion is that they're not. In fact, when we work with practices that are struggling, it's more likely that we will end up recommending more staff. It seems counter-intuitive, I know. The costs of staff are so visible, and sometimes seem so burdensome, it's no surprise that managers and physicians instinctively want to minimize the size of their teams. But this overlooks the value that staff can bring -- value that can go right to your bottom line. This isn't just happy talk or a kinder, gentler management approach. If you've been consciously driving your own practice's headcount lower and lower, there's a good chance you've cut enough that you're actually reducing your income. Staffing optimal requires attention to the details that drive practice profitability. It's more complicated than just figuring out how to get by with less. But the rewards for staffing better are manifold: not just more money in your pocket, but less stress for everyone, and happier patients, too. My new ebook, The People-Profit Connection: Smarter Staffing for Practice Profitability, explores these ideas in detail. It presents case studies drawn from our experiences with real practice clients, with actual problem-solving examples you can apply to your practice today. To check it out, visit this page on Amazon.com.
I'm working on an ebook right now about medical practice staffing. More specifically, it's about how the instinct to cut staff, to be as leanly staffed as possible, can backfire*. There are dozens of little details that any practice can explore to improve profitability. These small changes can be made with much less risk than eliminating a job or cutting staff hours. And because they improve the profitability of your processes, they are a gift that keeps on giving, making your bottom line a little bit bigger every day. Here are just a few of the possibilities I explore in the ebook. Are you taking full advantage of these opportunities to improve your bottom line? Reduce no-shows: Take a quantitative look at your no-show rate. Are you tracking both true no-shows and last minute cancelled slots that can't be refilled? Audit your reminder process and results. Is your timing right? Experiment with reminding further ahead or closer to the appointment. Remind people using the technology they prefer. Capture email and cell info: Being able to reach people electronically opens the door to multiple efficiency improvements, including more effective reminders and better collections. And your patients that want to be emailed or texted, not called, will appreciate the option. Win-win! Train patients on portals: Too many practices make portal adoption a low priority, or abandon the effort altogether, because they find it hard to get patients engaged. It is hard! But it's still very worthwhile. As more patients use your portals, you have more ways to reach them for marketing. Portals make other key tasks more profitable, too. Notice I said "portals," plural? If you don't have the ability to collect payments through your EHR portal, investigate the option to set up a payment portal with your PMS vendor. Patients want to help themselves -- and they want to pay without having to write a check or find a stamp. They'll reward you by paying faster and more reliably. If you cut staff before checking out all the possibilities to improve your operations, you may not have the people you need