2017 is going to be a banner year for Integrative and Functional Medicine. Never before has our community of practitioners been so strong and demand for our services so high! Over the last couple of years, treatments like IV nutrient therapy and BHRT have undergone explosive growth in popularity and demand, presenting a number of fresh revenue opportunities for practices.
New service offerings are certainly exciting to launch, but before making significant changes in staff or treatments, it is a good idea to look at optimizing the revenue your practice is already taking in along with staff schedules. In doing so, you may uncover significant ways to save money.
As we head into a new year, use these 3 simple strategies to optimize your revenue potential, especially before launching new services:
1) Schedule staff and patients strategically—keeping costs in mind.
Make good use to time, money and people to stay profitable. Consider the best use of your highest paid people. Optimize the staff schedule and develop a strategy for scheduling patients.
Delegate. Review how you use your highest paid practitioners and staff members. Is the physician spending time on the work that only he/she can do and delegating less important tasks to others?
For example, a physician who regularly takes 15 minutes to give instructions on a treatment, procedure or product could delegate to someone else on a lower pay scale. Over the week, the time spent giving instructions could cost as much as $2000 total, compared to $300 for using a good assistant. Schedule appropriately so that another person is ready to assist.
Group similar patients on the schedule, so that supplies, staffing and other costs for certain types of patients are minimized.
Maximize use of part-time contracted practitioners by grouping the appointments in the best way to keep the acupuncturist, massage therapist or nutritionist busy and engaged in important work. The cost of time gaps for practitioners as well as the risk of demotivating talented people is important to consider. A key ingredient to a profitable practice is passionate, enthusiastic people who get to work with a steady stream of good patients.
2) Tighten-up collections.
As a rule, it is important to resolve payments face-to-face while at the practice, and not later by phone. Research shows that half of patients who walk out of the practice without paying a co-payment will never pay it!
Consider posting a clear fee schedule that includes items like follow-up phone calls and additional dietary coaching. It will go a long ways toward making it easy to collect on services rendered.
3) Join a group purchasing organization for discounts on labs, medical and office supplies, computers and tables, furniture, utilities, etc.
Medical group purchasing is about saving money on what you already buy for your practice, simply by being part of a larger community—one that can negotiate wholesale pricing.
There’s power in numbers! Hospitals, especially multi-location centers, take advantage of group purchasing organization (GPO) programs every day. They purchase under a single account that serves multiple doors, giving them ability to negotiate deep discounts.
As an individual physician or solo practitioner, you may think that group purchasing does not apply to you. However, there are GPO programs (such as the one we’ve set up at Power2Practice) that allow independent physicians to harness group purchasing power.
Our practices save approximately 40% on Quest labs, and (on average) 13.7% on nearly everything else they purchase. Higher-ticket items like exam tables and computers garner higher savings! Feel free to call us at Power2Practice, should you have any questions about the built-in group purchasing program. It could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on overhead while allowing you to pass on lab savings to your cash-pay patients, giving you a competitive edge.
Would you like more tips? Find out what your practice needs by taking our complimentary Supplemental Revenue Practice Assessment here. Once you’ve taken the assessment, you’ll get a (free) PDF, loaded with tips to help your practice get—and stay—profitable!
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