Even with broader insurance coverage for yearly checkups, doctors report it’s still a significant challenge to get busy patients to take the time to come in for this often life-saving preventive service.
But admit it…can’t the same be said about your own busy practice and its health? Isn’t it time for a checkup there as well? For most provider groups, the candid answer is yes.
Just getting through the day seeing patients and performing necessary administrative tasks means long and exhausting days, which turn quickly into weeks, months and even years. This leaves little time to stop and figure out how to do things better. However, if you stop and do an honest review, this investment in your business could have a major impact on your financial bottom line — from improved processes and workflows that speed and increase cash flow to reducing staff stress and turnover, improving patient satisfaction and loyalty, and enhancing your own work/life balance. In short, the things that make up a healthy and happy work environment and improved outcomes for everyone.
Even if your practice isn’t in obvious operational pain, a thorough assessment can uncover the underlying problems that are holding it back. Long before “big data” and “analytics” were buzz words in the healthcare industry, physician practices have been using comparative metrics to evaluate performance and plan for necessary changes, and you should be leveraging their increasing power to guide your operational decision-making.
The value of regular assessments
More than one wise person has said, “If you don’t know where you are, how will you know where you want to go…and when you’ve actually gotten there?” Existing processes and procedures have been built up — or probably more accurately, cobbled together — over years, with little time to stop and focus on the big picture. Part of that is the complex nature of healthcare because of ever-evolving reimbursement, quality and reporting requirements can cause denials, delays, penalties, and the inability to secure equitable insurance contracts due to a lack of reporting abilities that prove you’re achieving the latest pertinent quality metrics, and more.
In a nutshell, if you don’t do these things, you won’t be able to tell the “story” of your value proposition and differentiation to health plans and new and existing patients alike, making it impossible to survive — let alone thrive — in the increasingly consumer-focused, value-oriented care environment.
How often should you perform this practice assessment? It depends to some extent as to the length of time since you last took this deep dive into your practice. But the simple answer is often, perhaps once every year or two, with a schedule for even more-regular touch points to validate that you’re on track to meet or exceed benchmarks for success as well as industry or market changes. That’s possible with the help of information tools and specialized service partners that enable you to gather and analyze in virtually real time to see how well you’re measuring up. Learn some steps and further benefits to help you take a step back and easily and quickly assess your practice in the most meaningful way.
Belinda Muench, MHA, is vice president of Strategic Services for Advantum Health. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org