Grow Your Medical Practice: 3 ways to be profitable in tough times

How do you run a profitable, thriving medical practice when the economy is down, healthcare is changing rapidly towards unknown waters, and operational costs increase?  Surprisingly, the answer might be simpler than you think. There are some simple things you and your staff can accomplish that will improve your overall experience.

There are 3 ways that you can grow your practice to ensure that you are more profitable:

One way to make it easier on yourself is by having policies and procedures in place that you and your office staff adhere to for patient safety. Having set rules for dealing with all types of patients is essential. We are talking about procedures for reviewing medical records, recording histories, and cleanliness. Some of it might seem simple, but all know we get in a rush, physicians get backed up and before you know it, something isn’t following procedure and mistakes are made.  Make sure you have good rules in place for those rushed days. It saves you down the line. We promise.

Invest in your practice. We aren’t saying you need to go out and buy that brand new x-ray machine, but you can make simple changes. It could be adding a new service by having a part-time doctor join your practice, or maybe some new lab equipment. It might even just be sprucing up the waiting room.  You would be surprised how these investments, while seeming to have upfront costs, increase your revenue down the line. New lab equipment and services increase your potential for excellence, and people who are more comfortable waiting while ill… well, we would rather see those patients, wouldn’t we? And they probably wouldn’t mind waiting as much. You could even offer something like support groups for your patients through your office, from diabetics to weight loss groups to mental health groups. These people involved will offer great referrals without your practice doing a thing.

Using and keeping up with technology. Yes, we keep harping on this, don’t we? But it is important. Selecting the right EMR solution and keeping up-to-date on new technology in the field, whether it is equipment or new computer software is important. It doesn’t stop at just using technology to practice medicine and keep records; also use it for marketing. Finding new patients using the Internet is proving to be a boon for a lot of smaller practices with smaller budgets.  You can have a website and a mailing list to your current patients with timely topics. Most people love to read about answers to medical questions or what to do when they are ill.

Most of all, it is important to remain flexible. Healthcare, as you know, is an ever-changing field. It won’t look the same in five years as it does today or even by the end of next year. If you can remember that this type of change can be beneficial for you, as it will help you grow and improve, you are one step ahead of the game.

You can also find some great references to running great practices at Medical Group Management Association, and a blog that we read frequently: Kevin MD.com

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