Modern Practice Management (MPM) is responsible for everything that occurs during a patient encounter, besides examination. From attracting new patients, to organizing and optimizing patient flow, office workflows, employees, systems, procedures, reporting and tasks.
The objective of MPM is to allow the doctor to remain focused on treating patients by taking the burden of running the office out of his/her hands while keeping everything still in control by the private practitioner. The objective is to strike a delicate balance between keeping the doctor always informed and in control, while executing these tasks with autonomy and proficiency. This is where an experienced Practice Manager or COO comes into play.
There are four basic components of MPM:
Foundations to Growing your Practice
Professionalization of your Practice
Principles: focused on helping you transform your small business habits into successful corporate mandates.
Exceptional Patient Experience. With over 230,000 physician and 182,000 dental practices in the US, why would patients keep coming back to yours? Is it your service or simply convenience? In today’s digitally informed, consumer-centric, world, without exceptional patient experience, your practice has no place in it. If you want to build a successful practice that lasts through time, you cannot base the future of your business on convenience. You need to attract patients who will wait days for your services.
Normalization. Aim to minimize variances from standards around inputs, outputs, and service methods. This will further help establish regularity and predictability in operations and financial outcomes.
Specialization of tasks and functions. Specialization must create duties, expectations, responsibilities, and tasks for each employee. This reduces complexity of job expectations, accelerates learning and improves employee retention. In the end, tasks are done in less time and more efficiently, making you more money.
Alignment of efforts and goals. Goal alignment simply has to do with establishing clear objectives through the use of clearly stated goals and objectives. Find a way to measure each employee's role in your organization and ultimate goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. Things like patient count, satisfied customers, bills processed, bill errors, new clients, average bill, waiting times, etc. are some Key Performance Indications (KPI's) that every organization must have.
Planning and controls. This includes forecast demand, budgets, HR and Capital resources, and reporting. Each of these items are tracked and monitored so that tasks are carried out more efficiently as plans can be changed if they aren't working out. Financial Planning and Analysis in every corporation helps your business stay ahead of problems and on track to reach your goals.
Reward employees for success. Provide financial rewards to individuals and teams for achieving specified outcomes. These rewards are given to encourage great output. They aim to motivate efforts and ensure compliance with policies and standards.
Foundations to Growing your Practice. The first step before you start growing your practice is laying out a strong foundation based on certain processes that will help you create an environment that can feed and sustain growth. These key elements to growth have been passed on from very successful practitioners through years of hard work, trial and error and, more importantly, experience.
Constant Marketing. Marketing is not the simple act of attracting new patients to your practice. MPM refers to marketing as a constant in all aspects of your business. As a culture that must be present at all times and followed by all members of your team. Everyone in your organization is responsible for attracting new patients, directly or indirectly, through their actions or inactions.
A Solid Customer Base. Private Practitioners must not have patients but raging fans who are emotionally connected to your practice. You need a fan that will look at your services as irreplaceable. You need a fan that enjoyed your services so much that they are looking for ways to show it off and refer your way everyone he/she knows.
Great Employees. It takes more than qualifications to make a good employee. The more time you spend with employees on the front end of their process, i.e., selection, onboarding, training, testing, etc. the less time you’ll spend at the back end of their employment process. Do not manage employees, you will help yourself, your practice, your other employees, your patients, and even the employee's career by being slow to hire and quick to fire.
The Right Purpose. Go back to basics every once in a while. Remind yourself constantly why you got into private practice in the first place. It wasn’t for the money, I promise you. Don’t let money guide your decisions in private practice. Let service do this instead and everything else, including money, will fall into place.
Professionalize Your Practice. MPM predicates the running of your practice as a corporation and not as a small business. For this, you need to have the right people, in the right places, doing the right things to help you get to the next level.
Hire an Attorney. All private practitioners have attorney relationships, but very few use their attorneys as they’re supposed to. Corporate attorneys are not only the first step in professionalizing your organization, they should be an advisory board for the growth and future of your practice.
Hire a CFO (Chief Financial Officer). As an independent practice, there are some financial mistakes that you cannot afford making, errors that could cost you your business and even your career. A CFO, super-controller, or even a part-time CFO, will help you build your financial wealth while taking an enormous weight off your shoulders in issues like accounting, reporting, taxes, banks, vendors, payables, receivables, checks, billing and collections, treasury and financial planning. But most importantly, a CFO will take the lead on all strategic matters of your firm, including value added, revenue enhancements, cutting expenses and eventually the sale of your practice. If they know what they’re doing, their ROI is measured on multiples of their cost.
Hire a COO (Chief Operating Officer). Sometimes a practice manager is not enough to help you take your practice to the next level. Especially when you’re managing several offices, going through rapid growth events or complex operational issues like RCM, employee performance or system upgrades. Just like your CFO, they’ll pay for themselves in multiples of value-added to your practice.
Other Professionals. Other professional individuals are critical to the growth of your organization. IT Consultants, HR managers, Investment Bankers, CPA firms, specialized lawyers, among others reflect your business management skills. Being able to attract and retain this type of talent is something institutional buyers look into when buying a practice.
Build-Sell-Repeat. In the end, Modern Practice Management attempts to help private practitioners improve the performance of their businesses, not by laying out a list of items they must follow, but by encouraging the evolution of a small business into a corporation and a private practitioner into a CEO.
Implementing MPM at your practice can be overwhelming and disruptive. The CFO Group, through Universal Dentistry and Universal Doctors, has developed the Build-Sell-Repeat process that can help you transition your practice through Modern Practice Management. They will help you establish a culture that encourages a patient-centric, service excellence approach, complete with self-organizing, multi-disciplinary teams, empowered employees, a focus on execution superiority, achieving the professionalization of your business, and culminating in a modern, operationally and financially optimized practice ready to grow and sell at multiples you never thought possible.
Would love to hear your thoughts on these issues. Feel free to contact me at Hernan@DoctorsIPA.org.