Consider Expenses vs. Costs In my work with practices, one of the first items that requires scrutiny is expenses. Although physicians must remain within reimbursement guidelines, there are still costs for treatment. Therefore, all physicians should conduct a cost per patient analysis so that costs factor in expenses associated with the treatment. So for example, a cardiologist must factor in utilities, salaries, equipment depreciation, leasing, etc., to determine the correct cost to return profit. Failure to meet expenses can mean failure of the practice.
Automate Processes Too many doctors and staff conduct too much heavy lifting. For example, one orthopedist I worked with had his staff keep a paper file of all scheduled appointments for the day as well as another for X-rays and other test results. This not only wasted time in duplicated effort, it wasted time because an automated process within the EHR could have taken care of this work. Practices must determine if an automated system can replace manual labor, and take advantage.
Set Hard Rules We live in a crazy busy world, as do our patients. However, this does not discount rudeness and unprofessionalism. Nothing is worse than patient no shows. This may not appear as a money drain but if 10 percent of your 2,500 patients do not show, conduct the arithmetic and you will be surprised. It may be necessary (depending on state requirements) to charge for no shows or non-rescheduled appointments.
Offer Additional Services Patients visit with you because of their trust and respect for your services. Many physicians today are attempting to adopt ancillary services as methods to create additional income, yet some have not done so. In our present world, in which obesity is on the rise and the elderly population is growing, there is no reason why some physicians cannot offer complementary services. For example, orthopedists can offer physical therapy, cardiologists can offer dietary and weight counseling, a general practitioner might offer consulting or classes that create networks and support groups.
Consider Alternate Models Another opportunity stems from the Affordable Care Act. Many large and even small corporations are hiring insurance and consulting companies to facilitate wellness programs to decrease high healthcare costs. Firms that participate in these programs gain a healthy discount on their premiums. For the physician there is very little setup,