Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions, and everyone finds it hard to keep them as the months wear on. It doesn’t really matter if they are goals you set for your business or for yourself, change is challenging. So, seven practice management and healthcare experts offer their best tips for setting and keeping your medical practice resolutions to make 2015 a successful year.
- Mary Pat Whaley: Help staff understand the change and then use scripts and role play to help staff prepare. For example, if you resolve to get a handle on your front-end patient collections, make patient collections an agenda topic at every staff meeting, and help staff to understand how critical patient collections are to the survival of the practice. Have staff write down what patients say about not wanting to pay at time of service and develop a script for replies, then have staff role play the objections and answers.
- Judy Capko: Set monthly milestones and review them at the monthly meetings. It builds in reasonable accountability.
- Rochelle Glassman: Goals should have been set and agreed to during the last quarter of 2014 so that everybody is on board. Bonus structures should have been developed and put in writing linked to key performance indicators (KPI’s) that relate to the goals. Staff and management should have signed off and agreed to goals and bonuses. Then, the manager or owner should meet with staff regularly to check in on goals and KPIs and keep everyone accountable and on track.
- Cheryl Bisera: Use hard data to inform your goals, then set dates and build accountability into your calendar. In other words, pull data from your practice so you have a baseline to grow from. Say for instance that you want to collect more over-the-counter patient portions—you have to know your baseline, like an average daily percent of patient portion that’s being collected. Set goals from there.
- Audrey McLaughlin: Have the physicians or management make the goals (with staff input) and then post them, maybe in a break room, so they are easily seen and people feel accountable for progress.
- Kathy Young: When I create my resolutions or my new year goals I do two things: set up a deadline with personal rewards or penalties and I get an accountability person to help me stay accountable to my goal.
- Lisa Eramo: When establishing any type of goal, you need to identify clear and manageable steps that will help you attain that goal. Simply establishing the goal without thinking about how you will achieve it will likely set you up for failure. Write down the steps that will help you succeed. Include deadlines by which you hope to achieve each of these steps. Identifying—and surpassing—each of the steps and ‘mini-goals’ along the way will also make you feel as though you are accomplishing something. For example, if you want to reduce its denials by 50%, this won’t happen overnight. Identify the factors that affect denials (e.g., insufficient documentation, incorrect coding, lack of medical necessity, etc.). Set goals each month. One goal might be to identify your top 5 reasons for denials. Another might be to ensure you have updated contact information for each payer and a specific individual to whom you can pose questions.
Last but not least, to achieve your goals, you might need to make some changes like upgrading or integrating your current medical practice technology. Be sure to give yourself the time you need to find the right solutions and implement them effectively.