Is your audiology practice running on fewer-than-all cylinders? Do you struggle to maintain consistency in your day-to-day between administrators, audiologists, or locations? Are you turning patients away or finding yourself underbooked? These could be signs of inefficiencies in your operation, which can often contribute to lower productivity, confusion amongst your staff, dissatisfaction amongst your patients, and lower revenue.
If you find yourself in this situation, it doesn’t mean you need to completely reinvent your practice. Making a few adjustments in your organizational processes can create meaningful and lasting changes in the way your practice functions. Let’s take a look at five things you could do to help improve your audiology practice’s management.
1. Create (and Follow) a Comprehensive Strategy
Are you in the habit of outlining an annual strategy? Effective practice management starts by identifying the priorities and goals you want to focus on. This helps your staff to understand the direction they should be trending toward as they work day to day, and the parameters they need to work within in accomplishing their tasks.
A few ideas for things you should describe in your strategy include:
- Main objectives for the year
- New processes you want to employ
- Milestones you want to reach—specifically that indicate the goals you have in mind
- Cultural plan
- Marketing plan
- Longer-term goals
A major reason to include your longer-term goals is that it will help remind you (and your staff) that not everything can be accomplished in one year. It may help to designate “captains” who are in charge of certain aspects of the strategy. This not only eases communication when it comes to working toward your goals, but provides your staff members with tangible projects that can help them on the path to their individual professional goals.
2. Look at the Audiology Industry at Large
A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) helps you to see the bigger picture of the world you’re operating in. This is crucial to forming an effective practice management strategy, as it helps you understand the forces that may be beyond your control.
An internal review combined with your research into the trends in audiology allow you to assess your baseline vis a vis the wider market, and thus help guide where you might need to put your focus in the coming year.
3. Document, Document, Document
Don’t expect new administrative procedures to take hold without written documentation. Any changes in process need to be formalized at the same time as they are discussed. Written documentation provides a reference that is not only useful for your current staff’s reference, but critical to the smooth onboarding of new employees.
If you don’t already have one, create an operations handbook, and update it yearly. This helps your practice culture follow the “create–adopt–adhere” model. By meeting to strategize and put together the handbook, you “create.” When procedures are communicated to staff—through training or coaching—you “adopt.” The handbook serves as a reference that reminds everyone they are accountable for implementing the procedures, which is how you “adhere.”
4. Put Scheduling First
There are only so many hours in the day, and it’s important to make the most of them. If your staff is bogged down with paperwork or prioritizes tertiary tasks, you can end up in trouble.
By paying more careful attention to scheduling, you can get things on the right track in a hurry! This not only applies to scheduling appointments, but also to scheduling staff activity through the workweek. Tasks that are not patient-oriented can still be planned in advance to make sure that your goals stay on track.
“Block scheduling” is a strategy that has proved successful for many practices of various sizes. Each day is broken up into “blocks,” where each block is designated for a particular activity. You might designate an hour a day for hearing aid evaluations, or market research. Once your annual goals have been identified, the tasks associated with them can be blocked out to ensure steady progress.
While not every practice requires block scheduling, it’s worth considering whether your current scheduling practices are working, and whether the block system might have something to offer you.
5. Track Your Progress
Setting goals and implementing strategies is all well-and-good, but it’s important to know whether they’re working! Without a way to collect data from your day-to-day and see how things are changing over time, there’s no way to see what’s actually happening with your practice management strategy.
Healthcare Revenue Group offers a robust set of medical billing services that includes the ability to track and analyze your metrics over time. We not only handle revenue collection from insurance companies and patients, but implement software that we design to work perfectly for the needs of your specific practice. This software allows us to see where your practice is succeeding, and where it could benefit from new procedures or new contracts. We meet with you at intervals that you set, and work with you to grow your practice at the pace that is comfortable for you.
Contact Healthcare Revenue Group today to find out how we can help you design the most effective practice management strategy to help you meet your goals!