Successful practices have some striking similarities. Consultant Betsy Nicoletti describes five distinguishing characteristics and advice for how to improve your practice’s performance:
1. Commit to patient service. As a leader in your practice, your words and actions must consistently show your commitment to providing quality patient service. And you may need to encourage other physicians and staff to walk the talk.
2. Maintain focus and discipline. Do you know where you’d like your practice to be in the next six to 18 months? Strategic plans and interim goals should be explicitly stated and agreed upon by practice owners and shared with staff, and you should regularly monitor progress toward your goals.
3. Commit to clear governance and timely decision making. Successful practices are organized in ways that enable physician leaders and practice managers to act when needed. Defining the parameters of the managing partner’s authority will provide clarity, free other physicians in your practice to concentrate on patient care, and allow the managing partner and administrator to make decisions and act.
4. Improve your systems. Successful practices pay attention to how things get done and actively work to improve. Some form small work groups to investigate a problem or work process and suggest a more streamlined, efficient workflow. Eliminating even one step in a task that is performed 50 times a day will save significant staff time. And staff time isn’t free.
5. Invest. Successful practices invest time and money to grow and improve. This includes sending staff for training (and paying them for the time), making building or office improvements, purchasing new equipment, and keeping current with information technology. A practice that is afraid to take financial risks rarely thrives.
Adapted from “Five Strategies for a More Vital Practice.”
Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights," featuring practical, peer-reviewed advice for improving practice, enhancing the patient experience, and developing a rewarding career.