Solo or small medical practices are disappearing at a rapid rate. The reasons for this are simple: most are unable to stay afloat because of rising operational costs, reduced payments for services rendered, and the introduction of new regulations. Thankfully, if you want to remain in practice and continue to provide quality care to your patients, there are solutions.
Lack of Insurance Companies
The reduction in available health care options makes it difficult not only for patients to find a doctor but also for doctors to receive adequate payments. It seems the only one making out on the healthcare front is the insurance companies. Because of their limited numbers, they can pretty much dictate who a patient can see and how much a doctor can charge. This can put a person at a much higher health risk and cause a doctor to lose a large percentage of their income. On top of that, insurance companies can retract a payment previously made within the first 3 months.
As a result of reduced payments for doctors, they aren’t able to provide a wealth of care. Usually, a visit to any doctor’s office requires a patient to wait for over 30 minutes just to get into an exam room. Then the doctor comes in, reviews the patient’s chart for a minute, and takes a glancing look at the patient while they ask what’s wrong. Doctors can no longer afford to chit-chat with their patients to find out what’s truly going on with their health. Instead, they have to schedule as many appointments as they can to reduce their losses.
Adapting to the New Way of Practice
It’s not likely that the current health insurance system will change anytime soon. It’s up to you to make a few changes in order to continue to pay your bills and your staff and to do what you set out to do when you first opened the office doors: provide exceptional care to patients. However, there are ways to cut costs and improve care. One way is to train employees for more than one position.
This will allow your practice to function efficiently and will also enable you to have fewer people on staff which, in the end, translates to reduced overhead expenses. Another way to keep up with the changing regulations and improve your bottom line is to use healthcare consulting services. These companies can provide the assistance you need to get your business organized, improve your billing process, and offer suggestions for implementing new services that can add revenue.
Show You Care
Many people shy away from traditional primary care physicians in lieu of healthcare clinics. The main reason for this is the clinics’ hours of operation. Healthcare clinics usually open earlier, stay open later and have Saturday hours. Changing your business hours to offer convenience shows your patients that you understand that not everyone can visit their doctor between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Even having flexible hours once a week, say on Wednesday, where you remain open until 7:00 p.m. will allow people to schedule an appointment for after work. In addition, get back to traditional standards where you provide a follow-up call or text to see how patents are doing.
Presence on the Web
Another way to add new clients is to have a website/blog. This allows your clients to keep in touch with the practice and give honest reviews of their visits. In turn, it will let you make changes based on the remarks you receive. In addition, having a presence on social media will bring traffic to your website/blog and help you gain new clients.
Whether you have an existing practice or are making the decision to end a hospital residency and venture out on your own, having your own medical practice call be both profitable and rewarding.