(General Practice Owner, Business Coach and Co-Founder – Scale My Clinic)
It is a given that clinical excellence is a key factor in a successful General Practice, and nothing comes at its exception. A profitable General Practice holds no value if clinical excellence is not practiced. Money is just one side of the Practice Success Blueprint, but it doesn’t come without success in heart, mind, and wallet. Both in life and in running a general practice, there is no ‘do it later’ there is only ‘do it now’! In Project X, there is a pledge of 18-months which eliminates the need for short-term goal commitment and pressure. Committing to the long-term goals relieves the pressures that hinder General Practice owners from achieving their full potential.
There are 5 things that will help drive a successful and profitable General Practice. Although derived from Brad Sugars’ – ‘5 Ways to drive a profitable business’, this model is adapted specifically for General Practices.
- Increasing Booked Appointments
There are two instances where increasing booked appointments are possible, the first being, that the Practice is at full capacity and more Doctors are required, and the second being that the Practice is not at full patient capacity and the spaces need to fill up.
In the case of needing more patients, there are two ways to increase the capacity: either get new patients, or reactivate visits for existing patients. Patient engagement is imperative to get to know existing and new patients, as it is vital to build relationships with patients. It is important to be clear on who the Practice serves, build a system to reactivate existing patients, and initiate a system to bring in new patients.
In the case of recruiting more General Practitioners, it is important to work out a proper recruitment framework – in terms of planning, prioritising, and building the right tools, and gaining clarity of their roles as business owners and their leadership roles and styles. Quick action is essential to increase recruitment, as is being part of the community and being open to different methodology. Other essential points in increasing recruitment are that different results require different actions, building a team that aligns with each other, and having the difficult conversations which really brings about great results.
- Attendance Rate
Increasing attendance is relatively simple. It is important to confirm appointments and attendance, ensuring prepayment authorisation, and the content of the Practices appointment funnel. The content in the appointment funnel is essential to changing the opinion of the patients and could even facilitate a secondary appointment and visit.
- Revenue Per Encounter/ Billing Per Appointment
A General Practice’s Revenue Per Encounter is the averaged amount billed per appointment or encounter. There are many tactics to increase revenue per encounter. One such tactic is a moving to higher degrees of private billing, which means either increasing fees or increasing bulk billing rates.
There are 3 frameworks to consider when attempting to increase revenue, the first being the GP connector which is built upon the 6 human needs, the communication power formula which is leading every issue with ‘Why?’, and a programme called ‘Get the phone ringing’ which consists of leveraging existing relationships and networking. The results of which virtually guarantee an increase in revenue.
It is important to think and plan carefully to execute well, break out of comfort zones and follow tried and tested processes. Consulting experts is also imperative, and though it may seem costly, consider it as an investment and an ROI. It is a return monetarily and on time and stress.
- Frequency of Transactions
There are three main ways to increase frequency of transactions. The first of which is to increase the service offering at the General Practice, such as a Skin Service or Weight Loss Service to name a few. The second is to add the sale of products. And lastly, incorporating a more comprehensive approach to certain things such as focus on chronic disease. Increasing frequency of transactions while adding value to patients is one of the biggest challenges a General Practice faces.
A way to overcome this challenge is to implement a HR module that focusses on role clarity and accountability. Another way is to implement the CDM module and finally, referencing the right experts and guidelines. The result of implementing this framework is both, happier patients and happier General Practitioners. So, when approaching an increase in the frequency of transactions, it is important to take advantage of every opportunity, stay updated on metrics to measure accountability, and stay updated on knowledge to hold others accountable.
Protecting margins is a must for General Practices. Mitigating as much risk as possible is necessary to maintain margins. Structuring accounts with the right legal agreements and guidelines is a great way to mitigate risk and protect from SRO activity. Medicare and compliance also present a significant amount of risk and taking the right steps to mitigate these risks is of great importance.
Eliminating monetary and environmental waste is also imperative in running a socially responsible Practice. If these things are handled correctly, it will generate a cost benefit and an improvement in margins. If these things are approached with the right thinking and attitude, it will generate significant results and improvements on margins.
In order to drive a General Practice forward, it is important to note what the business needs and decide on what tactics to use. Understanding what is possible for the Practice and approaching it with the right thinking will lead to creating the achievable results.
These are only some of the tools and strategies that will help make a General Practice profitable. If a small amount of focus is given to the above points, a General Practice owner will see profitability increase exponentially.