Repairing “Leaks” in Your Practice Systems
Creating better patient health outcomes through practice efficiency
As practitioners, you are focused on patient care, but did you know that having a defined business system in place is actually one of the largest factors for ensuring positive patient health outcomes?
Right now you might be thinking…
The systems in my office have nothing to do with patient outcomes.
What is a practice system anyway?
Whether you realize it or not, you do have a practice system and you can start to improve it by doing these 3 things:
- Define you process – Starting with how your patients move through your practice. From scheduling appointments through check out after each appointment, think about (and map out) all the steps that happen between those two points. Chances are you do have a system for how this happens each time, but you may have never have put it on paper to chart your clinical and business flow. Some steps to consider including in the process:
- Appointment scheduling
- Patient registration
- Medical history and physical exam
- SOAP notes & treatment plan
- Lab tests
- Supplement dispensary
- Check out (or scheduling next appointment)
- Assess where potential “leaks” exist in your process – Once you have taken the time to map how your practice currently operates, it becomes much easier to determine where “leaks” exist or where you are losing momentum. For example, if in your standard system you allot 45 minutes for a medical history and exam, but find that you consistently take an hour or more with patients, this may be a clue that you need to better structure those appointments to stay on track. As practitioners, it’s easy to associate more time spent with better health outcomes, but in reality you could be missing an opportunity to make time spent more efficient.
- Modify and adjust your system accordingly – Once you have taken inventory of your current system and know where “leaks” exist, it is time to make adjustments. Making changes can sound intimidating (and look like a lot of work) but often small changes that can be made for a big difference. Start with these key questions:
- Which aspects of your current system absorb the most time without a clear return?
- Do you have the right resources in place to support or improve these areas? Resources can include; staff, lab and supplement partners, technology and more.
If you prioritize the areas of improvement based on the biggest “leak” first and couple it with the smallest effort to make a repair, you will start to see some positive change right away. Remember to keep the full list of improvements handy so you can chip away over time.
By correcting “leaks”, you will be able to:
- Take on more patients
- Provide better care and a better experience for them
- Move them through their treatment plan more efficiently
- Increase compliance to recommended treatment protocols
- Achieve better health outcomes for a larger number of patients
Stay tuned for next week’s article where we dive into one of the biggest variables in practice efficiency – technology!