We will continue to see an accelerated movement from insurance-based healthcare models to Fee for Service Practice models. A large number of new patients being brought into the primary care industry due to the Affordable Care Act is leaving many doctors and practice groups with high patient volumes, and low to stagnant practice income. 2020 to 2021 could be a Make or Break Year for Your Solo or Group Practice? Is High Turnover a problem?
What is the solution?
The solution to this problem has long since been resolved in the Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery industry, Fee for Service Cosmetic Dental Practices, as well as Aesthetic or Anti Aging practice groups. As a result, we are starting to see a significant number of Primary Care Providers moving to a Concierge Medicine model where they are free to invest in a Well Care business model versus the current Healthcare/Sick Care model of only treating those who are already sick or chronically ill. This transition has led those Primary Care Providers to start adding cosmetic and aesthetic services to help maintain or offset their practice revenue. Use of Laser Light Source technologies, Injectables and Fillers, as well as Facial Rejuvenation and Skincare. Which in turn increases their malpractice but certainly raises practice income.
A Practice Review maybe in order to ensure longevity and continued profits, however, one word and has been successfully deployed by all Fee for Service practice models. And that word is: TRANSPARENCY
TRANSPARENCY? How can being transparent help my practice you ask?
Letting your staff know about the financial health and well being of the practice in which they work is critical to getting their help to reset your financial footing and profitability. When you treat your staff well, make the office a fun place to work, and truly care about the patients who pay for your services. Getting the help of your staff in times of trouble will be easy.
Some doctors frown on this because they think that employees who know how much the practice makes will ask for more money. In truth, they just might, but wouldn’t they have a right to ask for more salary if they helped you earn that extra income when the numbers were down? What would be wrong with helping them as they have helped you? And besides, they are the ones who process the superbills anyway which shows dollar amounts.
Don’t hide your numbers, but share them so that a strategy can be developed by each department or team member. You might even want to do away with some services that take a lot of time but generate very little income. Do you have an excess amount of inventory, or several lasers that are just collecting dust but not generating revenue even while your still making payments? Talk to your staff about what specials can be run to move the inventory or up-sell services on equipment that has not been a big moneymaker for the practice. Set goals, and make it fun by creating a contest to see which employee can generate the most upsells and bonus them with time off or a raise before the end of the year review.
Transparency has a way of pulling all departments together to work for the greater good, creating a teamwork environment. The best example is Publix, they were about to close their doors, but the employees pooled their knowledge and income to save the business and now is a leader in the industry.
Remember, you can’t get what you want unless you help enough other people get what they want!
All staff members are part of the revenue cycle in a practice, some are caregivers, some are directors within the practice, and some are customer service ambassadors for your practice. From the Front Desk, Patient Care Coordinator, Nurse Practitioner, Practice Manager, or Physician Assistant, each person is a Profit Center within their own department or job assignment. How you treat them or how valuable they feel will determine your success. If you have high staff turnover, it could be because the role of each staff member has not been clearly defined. Examples:
The role of the Practice Manager is to monitor, measure, and motivate, but most importantly to keep an internal review and handle the revenue trends within the practice. By so doing, you keep the doctor(s) abreast of all the areas which might be showing a decline. Plus if a department is underperforming you can develop a clear strategy to present or work through ideas with the doctor(s). Does the staff lack proper resources, information, training, or a true commitment to doing their job correctly? What are the closure rates for new patient leads to consults, consults to booked procedures, and income from procedures performed? Once this is determined, you can go about the work of improvement.
Patient Care Coordinator:
The role of the Patient Care Coordinator is to respond quickly to all incoming inquiries. Typically within 24 to 48 hours via phone or email correspondence. They must be up to date on and be able to clearly explain what each service is that is being provided in your practice. Consumers are much more informed today and will not accept uninformed Patient Care Coordinators. After making contact, their next task is to convert that prospect into a consult, which in turn becomes a paying patient! If your Patient Care Coordinator is below a 65% conversion rate or lower than it is typically that they are not prepared or don’t have enough resources to do their job successfully. Selling the doctor’s skill and quality of care and the overall practice experience is what wins the day. Do not get bogged down with price shoppers…
Front Desk Coordinator/ Receptionist:
Your Front Desk Coordinator/Receptionist is often the least paid position in a doctor’s office, but has the biggest impact on the practice! If you pay low, expect to attract low skill, and generally, you’ll have a high turn over in this position which in turn affects patient care and continuity. The Front Desk staff must be friendly, knowledgeable of all procedures, and most importantly be professional in speaking and appearance. Especially if it’s working in a cosmetic or aesthetic plastic surgery practice, they should look the part! After all, it is the beauty business, and that’s what should be presented when new patient prospects arrive in your practice. This position is often the first contact with new patients at your practice. And because you only get one chance to make a first impression, put your best foot forward by presenting a highly skilled and qualified staff member at the front desk!
Three Ring Rule!!!
Typically in most practices, the phone is either the enemy or your best friend. In truth, it is the lifeblood of your entire practice. If the phone doesn’t ring your connection to new patient prospects and current clients goes away and so does your revenue. One of the first things I teach in my consulting program is the Three Ring Rule. If the phone is on the second ring, everyone who is not performing an essential service should stop what they are doing and respond to the call. Additionally, having too many Random Voice Announcements for customers to work through increases the likelihood they will go elsewhere. People prefer to talk to real people, that’s why they called… You can’t form a relationship with voice mail!
How adept is your practice in using the latest technologies in new customer outreach like Social Media?
The idea is to create a wonderful patient experience from the beginning to the end. Today’s patients due to the internet and social media are the most educated in history and have high expectations, especially after they complete their research on what your competition is offering down the street or around the corner from you. Your call handling skills can often set the tone from the outset.
Now that we have each role defined and role within the practice, let’s go back to Transparency.
Every month the staff should have a goal related to income creation. Part of that income creation is tied to the previous things we discussed:
How many new patient leads have arrived via phone or email?
How many consults have converted as a result of the leads?
How many sales have resulted from the consults scheduled?
Lastly, what is the end result financially?
If you’re not generating enough leads to make the correct number of consults, look to marketing. You’ll either need to redefine your approach or raise the budget to improve the lead quality and volume. If you’re not generating enough sales from the scheduled consults or you have a high number of cancellations and no-shows, take a look at your Patient Care Coordinator and the quality of the lead source. Additionally, listen to the call quality of your Front Desk or Receptionist person.
Place your goals on a Whiteboard within the Practice Managers’ office and by departments. Have a weekly staff review on how much too goal each department is to their goal which contributes to the company goals. Again, make it fun by creating a contest around department performance, a certain amount of employee competition can be healthy for a practice. If a department is behind the goal, the practice manager’s job is to find out what additional tools may be needed to help the staff get where the goal is set. Plan your work, and work your plan!
You also want to ensure your staff stays up on the latest technologies and innovations that have the potential to drive additional revenues. You should also plan strategies with your staff for the normal off-peak business cycles, where you tend to trend downward each year.
So in conclusion Transparency is key: No Man or Woman is an island, and success is the direct reflection of setting achievable goals with the help of your team and shared reward for all!
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Quintin L. Gunn Sr. CSO/CEO – +1-407-702-4408 Work