When the new year comes, everyone always asks what your resolutions are. It may be to lose weight, to exercise more, or to spend more time with family. But what are your therapy practice business resolutions? Let's explore some good options to invest into in 2017 that can help take your physical or occupational practice to the next level.
1. Improve practice automation. By automating your practice, it allows your staff to operate more efficiently and cost-effective and gives the owner more freedom from being tied to their office.
What is automation? Having processes, policies and systems in place to train staff, hire/fire staff, run daily operations in a way that saves time, energy and costs. First take a look at the systems you use for scheduling, billing, charting, and patient and doctor information. Do you use multiple systems or multiple methods (paper, outsourcing billing, software for scheduling, etc.)? What is the ratio of non-revenue generating staff to clinicians do you have? Meaning, how many employees do you have that are receptionists, billers, admin, authorization specialists, and more. Take a hard look at what those employees are having to do on a daily basis; maybe have them start writing it down for you so you can have a better understanding of how long certain processes take.
Also look at how much time your clinicians are spending on documentation and other processes that do not include direct patient care. Determine if it is a training issue that is taking more time or if your procedures and processes for documentation are archaic. There is nothing worse to a therapist than paperwork; so why not try to streamline that process with software that makes it easy, yet airtight for potential audits?
2. Increase your revenue. We all have seen the rising co-pays and deductibles our patients are having to shell out. And with 2017 just beginning, most of them start over. We've already seen patients not wanting to come the recommended frequency because of such high costs. Just yesterday I had a 4 week post-op TKA patient tell me she can only come once per week, no matter how good of a payment plan we put her on. It's not fair to her and it's not fair to our profession, but how do we get around that?
If you don't already offer other services in your office outside of therapy, 2017 is the year to start! Focus on what you really believe in and what your typical therapy approach is, and add on to it. Consider massage therapy, accupuncture, reflexology, Pilates, yoga, and so on. There are so many things that can tie into physical and occupational therapy that provide further benefit to your current caseload of patients. Explore these with contract employees to minimize the risk.
3. Create more unity with your team. Having employees that love each other and want to be a team is ideal. If you know you have good employees, but they just aren't connecting outside of their own roles in the office, start to change that. Rearrange the schedule so lunches are held together and they will get to know each more on a personal level. Schedule team training to allow for them to work together on learning new skills or working on team building. Assure that all your new employees get a chance to sit down with each member of the team to be able to connect and figure out the best way for them to work together.
If you're really looking for team building ideas, take it outside of the workplace. I'd learned a lot about my team from after work happy hours, or holidays parties, dinners and lunches. It doesn't mean that the owner always has to pay for everything; set a date and schedule something. There is something to be said about getting your employees to connect outside of work. Don't be offended if not everyone goes; people do have family and lives outside of work. But for those that do make it, it will be worth it. And if you schedule them regularly enough, most people will make it at some point!
I would love to hear what resolutions other therapists have for their businesses or careers in 2017. Please share with all of us!
Katie co-founded HENO based on her career as a physical therapist and practice owner of over 10 years. Her understanding of the pain points many practice owners face has equipped her to create practice management solutions that optimize the efficiency and profitability of physical, speech and occupational therapy clinics.