The What, Why and How of Your Next Practice Analysis
By Courtney Stevenson
Just as your patients need regular check-ups by a professional in the field of medicine or dentistry to stay healthy, your practice benefits substantially from a routine third-party assessment of your business. A comprehensive practice analysis can uncover a host of missed opportunities and problems such as revenue loss or worse, potential compliance liabilities. Most experts recommend that your practice, regardless of its size, specialty or location, undergo an operational analysis once every 3 years at a minimum. Following this advice will give you critical insights to create an informed strategy for growth and protect your business from potential pitfalls. No matter how well your practice seems to be running from day to day, there are always hidden opportunities to increase revenue and a thorough review is by far the best way to find them.
So… Why then do so many practices drop the ball when it comes to conducting regular practice analyses? The best explanation can only be that office managers and administrators don’t realize the incredible value of third-party analysis of the businesses they operate. There is an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality but only because there is no way for them to know what isn’t working in their practices. Too many medical and dental organizations coast along thinking everything is fine because they can pay their bills and make a profit. When they do notice a problem, they just deal with the consequences and never consider the reality that an earlier assessment of the practice could have detected the issue before it became more serious. That’s why understanding the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of a comprehensive third-party analysis is so important.
First and foremost, your practice deserves an analysis tailored to your needs. There is no one-stop shopping when it comes to finding a partner to evaluate your business. We at HPA are experts in all levels of practice administration which means we can customize your analysis based on your specialty, size and even geography. While we review all the intricacies of your business, there are some common areas of focus which include:
- Patient intake procedures
- Billing and collections
- Compliance with state and federal regulations
- Human resources
- Referral analysis
- Web presence
- Reputation management
- Revenue reports and profitability
A thorough practice analysis puts you in the driver’s seat by empowering your business decision-making with data you cannot acquire any other way. When the information included in this level of review is applied to improving your practice, you can be sure that you are on the right track to professional longevity and stability.
A comprehensive analysis of your medical practice helps your business in multiple ways. Not only will you gain a clear picture of your finances, but you can expect an increase in productivity as well as a reduction in employee and provider burnout. With enhanced efficiencies brought on by your practice analysis, you can make your office a place where staff are excited to be every day. For example, often there are simple yet easy to miss procedures that can be incorporated into your operations to decrease patient wait times. This automatically results in happier patients and fewer stressed-out team members which can contribute to more referrals and less turnover. Not to mention, you should be able to enjoy your time out of the office without worrying about work and be able to plan for your retirement in a more comprehensive way. Regular medical practice analyses will give you the tools to achieve all this and much more.
The Top 5 Medical Practice Analysis Gains Are:
- More patients seeking your services – When patients have a good experience at their PCP or dentist’s office, they tend to share the good news with friends. That will put your practice in a great position to receive patient referrals. Add to that the higher efficiencies that come from incorporating practice analysis suggestions and your staff will have more time to focus on bringing on new patients.
- Better marketing strategies for greater conversion rates – Higher operational efficiencies also mean there is more time available for creating marketing strategies that can attract more clients. As part of your practice analysis, you should gain a greater understanding of your patients’ demographics and your most popular procedures. That can make it much easier to run more targeted marketing campaigns.
- Higher reimbursement rates from payors and fewer unpaid claims - Many practices are not as in tune with their payor contracts as they could be and as a result, contract renewal deadlines come and go without renegotiating terms. This can lead to lower reimbursement rates and more frequent unpaid claims because payors can change the terms any way they want to when providers miss the opportunity to renegotiate.
- Catching problems before they impact your practice - Often, there are costly issues going on for years without being noticed by practice administrators and leadership. That is not due to staff members failing to do their jobs but rather is a result of the complexity of the business. Conducting regular assessments will reveal any red flags before they become problems that negatively affect a practice.
- Stellar patient satisfaction and employee morale – Operational inefficiencies mean your team must work harder to treat your patients. When your practice is empowered to implement smart changes and maximize workflow, your employee morale soars. Where you find happy healthcare workers, you are likely to discover a bunch of satisfied patients as well. A routine practice analysis can improve morale all around.
Chances are you and your medical team did not pursue this line of work so you could run reports and push paper all day. Even though the administrative side of healthcare is necessary, special projects like a practice analysis can become a tremendous burden for your staff and result in less time for patient care. To do them right, assessments of this scale should be given to the full attention of an expert (or a team of experts). Not only that, an outside partner like HPA will bring new perspectives that can fill in those missing productivity pieces and launch your practice into a next phase of growth. When you and your staff are focused on patient care, it is incredibly easy to let dreaded projects like medical practice analyses fall by the wayside. Here are a few tips when hiring a consultant firm to handle your review. Make sure:
- The team you choose to conduct your practice analysis with has a reputation for responsive and timely service.
- The reports are thorough and comprehensive so that the data retrieved is the most helpful for your business.
- You feel like you are working with a partner who cares just as much about your practice as you do.
Having our team in your corner makes this “gift that keeps on giving” as easy as sending an email. Once you hire us to conduct your comprehensive practice analysis, we will take it from there. Do not let your practice suffer from ongoing inefficiencies and lost opportunities. It is never too early or too late to start having regular practice analyses conducted by a trusted professional. HPA consultants are ready to handle your medical practice assessment and get your business on track for a future you can be proud of.
About Courtney Stevenson
Courtney brings over a decade of fine-tuning a career dedicated to the healthcare industry. She realized early on that if she could somehow combine her love of health with her passion for maintaining meaningful relationships, she might find a way to have a lasting positive impact on people’s lives. Courtney began her professional journey by earning a Bachelors in Health Management and Policy from Oregon State University as well as a Certificate in Healthcare Administration and Management from OHSU. Prior to joining HPA, she managed a provider relations team for a nationwide insurance company and coordinated member services for a large health plan in Oregon. This experience gives Courtney an edge in the industry because she understands what motivates payors to come to the table. Her payor contracting and credentialing philosophy is one of open communication and straightforward negotiations because she knows what motivates payors to meet her halfway. With a proven track record of going to the mat for her clients every time it is warranted and helping them adjust expectations when necessary, Courtney brings that balance necessary to facilitate success in the small pool that is the Oregon healthcare industry. Her deep commitment to providing detailed, comprehensive analysis of your payor contracts is deep seeded and always fruitful. If a path exists for your practice to negotiate the best reimbursement rates among your competitors, Courtney will find it. She’s the perfect addition to any payor contracting endeavor.