Hiring a medical practice consultant is a smart decision for practices looking to produce greater business efficiency, productivity or profitability through improved revenue cycle management; but when should you hire a consultant instead of doing the work yourself? Three of the most common reasons are:
1. When your practice is in trouble financially and you need to implement changes to see fast improvements,
2. Your practice is successful yet you want to make improvements in specific areas of your practice to encourage growth, and
3. Physicians opening or restarting a new medical practice and want to establish best practices right from the start to avoid making mistakes.
Do You Need a Consultant?
Any professional service provider or business owner can get stuck when their perspective is limited to their own business. One of the most important reasons to hire a medical practice consultant is to get fresh, new insight and advice to solve a problem or situation. Practice managers may have been working in only one or two practices their entire career. Consultants work with hundreds of practices and have the experience to identify the problems that are hindering the growth and productivity of a practice.
Other reasons to seek outside help is when you want a problem solved quickly, or if you want to focus on doing what you do best, which is providing patients with the highest quality of care. Whatever the reason is, make sure you don’t abdicate responsibility for implementing changes. No one knows your practice like you do so make sure you are involved in reviewing recommendations and making final decisions.
Identify the Right Type of Consultant, and the Right Problem
If you decide you want the outside perspective of a consultant, the next decision is to determine what type of consultant to hire. Some medical consultants have a holistic set of skills they can offer to improve operational procedures, coding, productivity and staff motivation, or financial analysis to make improvements in cash flow and profit. Other types of consultants specialize in specific functional areas such as legal or marketing and have the expertise to help you achieve certain goals, such as increasing new patient flow.
Here’s the catch. You may not know who can provide the best advice because you may not fully understand what the problem is. A practice manager or physician may ask a consultant to fix a specific problem, but the REAL problem is actually caused by something else. If you have any doubts at all, it’s best to start with an assessment. A medical practice assessment will pinpoint the specific problem so you know exactly what the problem is and where to focus solutions. Diagnosis first, then find solutions; which is exactly what you do with your patients.