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Bettering Your Office with Strong Practice Management Techniques

By: Brian Gennusa | February 4th, 2015

Bettering Your Office with Strong Practice Management Techniques Blog Feature

Between scheduling patient appointments, building a strong brand identity in your local market and ensuring that all the administrative odds and ends are taken care of on a daily basis, running a medical practice can be extremely hard work. Throughout this process, however, it's important to remember that one of the most inhibiting factors can be the poor scheduling habits that medical professionals fall into. More specifically, we should always be reevaluating the ways we go about organizing and managing our practice to find the optimal series of actions that keep our business running smoothly. If you find that things have become a bit cumbersome or slow around your office, consider these three tips for bettering your practice management techniques:

1. Build management skill sets across the board
In most medical practices, you'll find that the majority of the administrative tasks at hand are undertaken by a practice manager. This is crucial, as it allows the doctors working there to optimize their time spent in patient-facing situations. While the American Academy of Family Physicians points out that doctors should aim to spend at least 37 hours of the standard weekly 40 in actual caregiving settings, it's important to understand the value of building management skill sets, as well. There will be times when the practice manager is otherwise occupied or simply unavailable, but a record needs to be put in of a patient appointment or procedure.

In order to stick to your schedule, it's important to hold patients accountable for the appointments.
In order to stick to your schedule, it's important to hold patients accountable for the appointments.

2. Optimize your scheduling process

One of the single greatest detriments to the profitability and efficiency of any medical practice is having a disorganized scheduling process. If you aren't well organized from a booking perspective, you're bound to double book them or experience other administrative issues. Of course, this is a rare occurrence, and it's important to note that most cancelations or overbookings come from the patient end. While it may seem like there's nothing that can be done to avoid this, scheduling errors need not be an inevitable occupational hazard. Medscape recommends having a clearly stated no-show policy that assesses a charge for patients who don't come to their appointments without canceling them. Of course, in order to do this effectively, it will become necessary to call, text or email all patients and confirm their appointments with them one to two days ahead of time

Or, perhaps you simply run your own practice and need to be able to conduct these record keeping duties on your own. In order to be prepared for either event, make sure that most or all people at your facility are trained thoroughly on how to use your practice management software. With this software you can even send text message reminders of appointments to your patients and recieve confirmation in a response message. You'll see the benefits immediately.

3. Make the most of raw data
With Nextech's practice management software, you'll be able to do more than you think when it comes to collecting and tracking analytic data. To use the example given above, consider all that you could do with patient scheduling information. Try collecting data from your software regarding how many of your patients canceled on a regular basis.

"Try collecting data from your software regarding how many of your patients canceled on a regular basis."

By determining what the average time of cancellation was, you can produce a more informed policy regarding when patients have to change an appointment by in order to avoid being assessed a fee from your practice. The same mentality can be applied to differing services; if you find that a given procedure is showing a far higher rate of late cancellation​s, you can change the cancelation window for that process accordingly to maximize your efficiency. Specifically, narrowing the cancellation window or assessing a higher fee for that procedure being canceled would encourage follow through of appointments.