I’m working on an ebook right now about medical practice staffing. More specifically, it’s about how the instinct to cut staff, to be as leanly staffed as possible, can backfire*.

There are dozens of little details that any practice can explore to improve profitability. These small changes can be made with much less risk than eliminating a job or cutting staff hours. And because they improve the profitability of your processes, they are a gift that keeps on giving, making your bottom line a little bit bigger every day.

Here are just a few of the possibilities I explore in the ebook. Are you taking full advantage of these opportunities to improve your bottom line?

  • Reduce no-shows: Take a quantitative look at your no-show rate. Are you tracking both true no-shows and last minute cancelled slots that can’t be refilled? Audit your reminder process and results. Is your timing right? Experiment with reminding further ahead or closer to the appointment. Remind people using the technology they prefer.
  • Capture email and cell info: Being able to reach people electronically opens the door to multiple efficiency improvements, including more effective reminders and better collections. And your patients that want to be emailed or texted, not called, will appreciate the option. Win-win!
  • Train patients on portals: Too many practices make portal adoption a low priority, or abandon the effort altogether, because they find it hard to get patients engaged. It is hard! But it’s still very worthwhile. As more patients use your portals, you have more ways to reach them for marketing. Portals make other key tasks more profitable, too. Notice I said “portals,” plural?  If you don’t have the ability to collect payments through your EHR portal, investigate the option to set up a payment portal with your PMS vendor.  Patients want to help themselves — and they want to pay without having to write a check or find a stamp. They’ll reward you by paying faster and more reliably.

If you cut staff before checking out all the possibilities to improve your operations, you may not have the people you need on hand to spot and implement these little improvements. Most practices we work with aren’t overstaffed; more often, we see understaffing. The key problem is defining the jobs to get the best contributions from staff, and the most productivity from your practice.


*The working title is “People, Productivity, Profit: Staffing and the Medical Practice Bottom Line.” Email me if you would like to be notified when it’s published.

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