These Key Tips Help Your Patients, Your People & Your Bottom Line
Is your business operating at less than full productivity? Do processes seem inconsistent across providers or locations? Are you missing patient opportunities? It could be operational inefficiencies, which can mean reduced productivity, teamwork, patient satisfaction, and revenue.
Improving operational efficiencies doesn’t have to mean overhauling the business, however. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of making better use of existing processes or introducing a few minor but highly impactful changes. The following five steps offer a solid foundation to help your business run better.
1. Develop a Strategic Plan
Do you follow a strategic-planning process each year? Operating your best starts with having a strategic plan aligned with your business goals and priorities. This gives your team clear direction on how the business defines success as well as the parameters for getting there.
Your strategic plan should include:
- Key objections and initiatives
- Goal-specific milestones
- Cultural plan
- Marketing plan
- Annual budget
- 3- to 5-year financial forecasts
Pro tip: Keep the number of initiatives to what can reasonably be accomplished in a year. Also, delegate team members as “captains” responsible for certain aspects of the plan — a move that can also support their individual professional goals.
2. Assess Your Industry
Do you conduct a periodic SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis? As a prior step to strategic planning, a SWOT analysis helps assess external forces shaping your industry, giving insight into the competitive and regulatory landscape and identifying market trends.
If data isn’t already available, conduct an efficient external assessment before the strategic-planning process to gain information that can help inform decisions and test assumptions. This results in more targeted conversations during strategic planning.
In conjunction with an external-market assessment, the internal organizational review grounds the business strategy and sets a baseline for the organization’s culture and capabilities. Together, the internal and external review allow you to stay nimble in an ever-changing market.
3. Formalize Your Processes
Do you maintain clear, documented processes? Identifying them, making sure everyone’s aware, and putting them into action are critical. Here’s why process matters:
- Patient experience — helps ensure consistently high standards of care for every patient regardless of time, provider, or location
- Employee experience — helps reinforce company culture, expectations, standards, and accountability in support of your brand
- Scaling and duplicability — helps foster consistency to drive results and provides the blueprint for future expansion
An operations handbook demonstrates formalization of your processes through the create-adopt-adhere model. The handbook itself represents the creation step; followed by communication, training, and coaching, which reflect adoption; and then expectations of accountability, or adherence.
4. Optimize Your Scheduling
If time is one of the most valuable commodities, it stands to reason that scheduling can make or break a business. Whether paperwork rather than revenue-generating activities dominates the workweek or the team struggles to fit in priority tasks, poor scheduling can torpedo your mission and the bottom line.
The solution for some is block scheduling, in which each day is divided into blocks, with each block in turn reserved for a specific type of activity — hearing aid evaluations, for example. Guided by your clinic’s goals, you organize the blocks to prioritize revenue-generating activities and other key needs.
Though a proven practice that gets results, block scheduling isn’t necessarily for every clinic. Knowing what an optimized schedule looks like for your business begins with understanding your core goals and assessing elements such as:
- Staffing resources
- Revenue- and nonrevenue-generating activities
- Trigger points when additional staffing (audiology tech, for example) may be needed
Real-life optimized schedule for an audiologist within an ENT practice.
5. Track Your Metrics
What’s possible in your practice, and how will you achieve it? Knowing the answers makes it a lot easier not only to attain your goals but to track critical progress and improvement opportunities along the way. It also helps suss out inefficiencies that bog down your business.
The three pillars of process — culture, operations, and finance — include metrics that help give a full picture of how your business is progressing in your annual plan. See the metrics for each pillar below:
- Goal alignment
- Engagement survey
- Exit interviews
- Effectiveness ratio
- Inbound-call conversion
- Attrition rate
- Scheduling efficiency
- Average selling price
- Cash flow
- Working capital
- Practice breakeven
- Operating expenses
PROCESS: 3 PILLARS
Cultural — processes that drive the people side of the business
- Mission & vision
- Team meetings
- Goal alignment
- Compensation plans
- Clear roles & responsibilities
Operational — processes that drive the mission of the business
- Standardize & document processes
- Outbound calling
- Tested-not-treated patient outreach program
- Physician referrals
- Patient referrals
- Scheduling optimization
Financial — processes that set your business up for continued monetary success
- Cash-flow forecasting
- Annual plan budget
- Working capital
- Operating expenses
Are you ready to measurably improve your practice’s efficiencies?
You don’t have to accomplish it alone. Audigy’s experts have helped hearing-care clinics, ENT businesses, and health networks increase productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness and can help you, too. So don’t wait.