One of the most unfortunate myths in the modern healthcare industry has to do with a decidedly limited definition of the term “collaboration.” A lot of people seem to think that collaboration is something that only happens between two or more doctors – that if you don’t have a series of letters after your name, your contributions don’t matter as much as someone’s who does.
In reality, this idea couldn’t be farther from the truth. Collaboration happens every second of every day in a medical practice between all members of staff, who have dedicated themselves to working together to help guarantee the most essential outcome of all: a better level of care for every patient that walks through the door.
This is called “teamwork,” and it shouldn’t be a new concept. It’s also one that is pivotal in healthcare for a wide range of different reasons, all of which are worth exploring.
The Power of Teamwork in Healthcare: Breaking Things Down
More than anything else, superior teamwork brings with it a greater level of accountability for a practice. If a team is working together rather than as individual people, they become something far more powerful as a unit than any one of them could ever be on their own. A natural system of checks and balances is created and each person can see who is doing what and, more importantly, why it all matters.
Along the same lines, when a team is unified it means that tasks are suddenly scrutinized by more sets of eyes than ever before. Not only does this promote better quality assurance, but it also helps prevent the types of errors that could be devastating in such a high stakes environment.
But the most important impact of teamwork in healthcare of all has to do with that environment itself. If every member of your staff – from the newest hire to the person who has been there since you originally opened your doors – sees themselves as an equal player on the same team with a single vision, a more positive atmosphere can’t help but be created. People are empowered to do their best and they take more pride in their work. They’re naturally happier and healthier themselves. They’re open, honest and are more willing to learn. All of this extends not only to your employees but also down to your patients, which in the end is the most important goal of all.
If you had to make a list of some of the most important things you need to be watching about your medical practice on a regular basis, your revenue goals would undoubtedly be right at the top. But having a sense of how much money you’re making and having goals in place that you’re working towards are two different concepts and should always be treated as such.
If your practice isn’t earning what you’d like to every month, having these types of logical, thoughtful goals can be a way to course correct when you need it the most. Actually setting those goals, however, is a job that requires you to keep a few key things in mind.
The Art of SMART Goals
In an effort to better grow your practice in all of the ways that you need, your revenue goals need to be as SMART as possible – that is, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. This process further breaks down as follows:
- Specific. What is the actual amount of revenue required in order for your practice to stay open? This is the minimum amount of revenue that you must hit.
- Measurable. How much money does each procedure earn your practice? Divide your specific goal up by the number of procedures you perform and you now have an accurate, measurable goal.
- Attainable. You know the number of procedures you need to hit your goal. How realistic is that, really? If it’s not attainable, what do you need to do to make it so? Add new procedures? Get new clients?
- Relevant. Goals can and should change as your practice around you does the same. Once a particular revenue goal stops being relevant to where you are today, you need to start again and come up with another one to help carry you further down the path to tomorrow.
- Time-based. You know how much money you need to earn and, more importantly, why. But you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to do this. For the best chance of success, you MUST set a proper time frame in order to evaluate how far along you are towards the goal in question.
Provided that you’ve set all of your revenue goals based on the following criteria, you’ll be able to do more than just keep your employees paid and keep the lights on. You’ll be well on your way to the scalable, successful medical practice you’ve always wanted.
In an environment as important as a medical office, every employee has an essential role to play – both in terms of the growth of that practice and with regards to the essential and potentially lifesaving care that you’re providing to patients on a daily basis. But at the same time, these roles and responsibilities must always be properly defined for maximum success. Not only does this help your staff understand what is required of them and what your expectations are, but it also guarantees that everyone is on the same page and is moving forward at all times.
The Problem With a Lack of Definition
When a practice doesn’t have written procedures about what specific employees are supposed to do on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, this often creates a significant level of confusion that permeates throughout the entire culture. People know that a job must be done – but they don’t really know who is supposed to do it or how it fits in the grand scheme of the owner’s overarching vision. Tasks can also get missed or forgotten about, which leads to frustration in management and with patients as well.
Running Your Medical Practice Like a Business
The key to making sure that your own practice doesn’t fall into this type of trap involves having a written process for each and every job role, regardless of position. Likewise, employees need to be trained on the actual duties and responsibilities of that role, giving them the best chance at performing to the best of their ability.
This doesn’t just go for new hires, either. All existing employees need to be able to refer to this documentation as an outline of what they’re supposed to do and, more importantly, why they’re supposed to be doing it. This training should also happen on a regular basis, which will not only help keep people up to date on all of the best practices and procedures within the industry but will also act as a way to regularly define how they fit into the “bigger picture” as well.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that if you want to have an effective team and you want to scale your practice, taking the time to define roles and responsibilities today is no longer a recommendation – it is officially a requirement. These are things that are far too important to leave to chance and if you want to continue to build towards the practice you always hoped you’d one day be running, this is how you do it.
If you truly want to grow your practice and turn it into the type of organization you’d always hoped you would one day be running, you need leads – and plenty of them. Growth depends on your ability to attract a constant stream of new patients, which will ultimately allow you to scale at the appropriate pace and better position yourself for the next few years and beyond.
The concept of “Speed to Lead” – that is, the philosophy that the first hour is always the most crucial time for lead follow-up – is absolutely critical to your success. When you’re talking about a situation where a difference of between five and ten minutes in contact delay could make a thousand dollar difference in your revenue, it’s easy to see why absolutely every second counts.
The Art of Speed to Lead and Your Medical Practice
Generally speaking, you should always try to call a lead and begin a relationship within five minutes of their original contact with your practice. This is important because the odds of contacting a lead if called in five minutes versus 30 minutes drop an incredible 100 times. The odds of qualifying that lead also drop a massive 21 times over the same period.
All told, over the first hour, your odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by a significant 10 times. Not only that but after 20 hours every additional time you call that lead, your efforts will likely hurt your ability to qualify, not help it.
When someone calls your medical practice, they have an urgent issue that they need help with. Maybe they have a question or maybe they’re dealing with something more immediately serious. It doesn’t matter – they’ve chosen you for the assistance they seek and to them, this is the most important problem they will face all week. The longer you wait to give them your attention, the more likely they are to look somewhere else. This means that the chances of them turning into an actual patient are slim, hurting your ability to scale along the way.
Not only do you need to make “Speed to Lead” a priority in your practice, but you also need to have someone on your team who deeply understands market research and changing technology, too. Only then will you be able to generate the greatest level of return on the leads coming in, all of which will mean a big boost to your entire organization in the future.
One of the most important things to understand about a successful medical practice is that things don’t begin and end with the doctors. Every member of your team has a role to play and all of them are equal contributors to your success or failure moving forward. If you’ve done what it takes to set your medical team up for success, rest assured that they will more often than not. If you’re a doctor who still thinks that you’re the only element that matters, they won’t – end of story.
If you truly want to set your medical team up for success in a way that allows you to grow and scale in all the right ways, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Making Success a Question of “When,” Not “If”
If you truly want to set your entire medical team up for success, you need to build a standard operating procedure with a defined process for each job role. People don’t just need to know what you expect of them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They also need to be able to see how they fit into the bigger picture, both in terms of organizational success and with regards to the quality of the care that you’re providing to patients every single day.
Having this comprehensive procedure that is also properly communicated allows management to better enforce processes, all of which are backed up by SOPs. If people have questions, they have a thorough document that they can refer to in order to see when things should be done, how things should be done and (once again) why this all matters so much in terms of the larger objective.
Likewise, you need to go above and beyond to guarantee that all team members actually have the tools they need to succeed. This includes making ongoing training and continuing education a priority, teaching them not only how to do their job in a broad sense but also how to get things done effectively and efficiently, as well.
When you go out of your ways to take these steps and put these types of procedures in place, you do more than just set your team up for success. You empower them, encouraging them to perform in the best way and give their all on a daily basis. Not only does this ultimately improve the quality of care that you provide to patients and their outcomes, but it’s also the foundation upon which your entire organization will be scaled in the future.