Most healthcare professionals spend long years of preparation to enter the medical field. But did medical school prepare you to run a business?
Dealing with the details of managing a business may not have been uppermost in your mind.
So that you can focus on patient care, perhaps an answer for your practice is a practice management consultant to help you handle the growth, profitability, security and longevity issues that face any business enterprise.
If you are just entering into a medical practice, a consultant can advise you about the variety of options involved in setting up your practice, including the selection of a business entity.
For established medical practices and clinics, a consultant can provide a range of services – from helping you hire qualified office personnel to overseeing your daily operations to ensure staff efficiency and profitability. A consultant can also help you stay on top of the ever-changing requirements of regulatory bodies and payer sources.
Most consulting arrangements begin with a practice analysis to discover areas of strength and weakness. Often, one or more consultants will need to spend time on site at your practice to review and compile information or work with your staff.
A report based on the analysis will explain how your practice is currently performing and compare the performance of your practice with data available from other practices. By measuring your practice performance against industry benchmarks, practice consultants can help you decide what areas need more attention and what you can expect as a result.
To compete in today’s healthcare market, savvy practice management means being successful at doing business in the here and now as well as planning for the future. With competition for healthcare dollars and qualified workers at an all-time high, successful healthcare practices need to merge practice management expertise with high-quality medical care.
Keep in mind that professional services like management consulting are an investment in your success. And they are tax deductible.
What types of service areas do practice management consultants offer?
Practice analysis – to analyze the efficiency of your operations and develop solutions to problems
- Return on investment from services
- Staffing levels
- Cost effectiveness
- Practice valuation
- Compensation arrangements
Business development – to help you expand your services in the right direction
- Business planning
- Market analysis
- Expansion and mergers
- Insurance contract analysis and negotiation
- Ancillary services
Financial management – to help ensure a profitable rate of return on your investment
- General ledger and expenses
- Productivity and revenue
- Tax planning and preparation
- Audit controls
Management and administration – to efficiently develop your daily operations
- Licensure and regulatory requirements
- HIPAA, OSHA and CLIA compliance
- Coding review
- Chart audits
- Policy and procedure development
Billing and collections services – to give you the quickest turnaround time from payers
- Accounts receivable analysis
- Aging reports
- Outsourcing and vendor selection
- Return on investment analysis for payer sources
- Collections and patient account management
Information systems selection and management – to help you select and implement the data management systems that will serve you now and into the future
- Information system needs analysis
- Management reports development
- Practice management and medical records software
Human resources advisory services – to help you determine and manage employee benefits
- Healthcare insurance advice and selection
- Retirement planning
- Personnel development and retention
If you decide to hire a CPA, business advisor or other consultant, be an active participant. Plan ahead for uninterrupted time with the consultant during on-site visits. Make staff available to the consultant on an as-needed basis.
Write down your questions and concerns. A written list will organize your thoughts as well as focus the consultant’s time on those areas that are most important to you. Provide any documentation the consultant will need to research your concerns.
Let your consultant work for you. Provide thorough and complete information about your problem areas so your consultant can focus on discovering the causes.
Permit your consultant to have sufficient freedom to research problem areas. Resolve any confidentiality concerns before the consultant begins to work. Don’t rush to the answer: Allow the consultant sufficient time to do a thorough analysis of practice weaknesses.
Participate with the consultant in working toward solutions. An important part of a consultant’s job is to teach and explain what has been discovered through the analysis. You can make better decisions when you understand the issues involved.
Encourage the consultant to present all possible options available for resolving your problems. Ask the consultant to help you think in a new direction.