What Your Staff Should Be Doing When You’re On Vacation – Part 2

July 29th, 2013

 

English: Norwick beach Another foamy wave swee...

English: Norwick beach Another foamy wave sweeps up the beach while the Burn of Norwick on the right struggles to make headway as it tries to flow out to sea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ultimately, all activities in your practice cause cash to

flow into your practice. Certain ones have a greater impact than others. If you

send out birthday cards to your patients, that makes them like you and stay

with your practice longer. The longer they stay, the more they pay you.

However, if your staff members are hand-addressing these cards while patients

are calling for an appointment, and the call gets missed, a far more immediate

driver of cash-flow was missed. For each position in your practice, there are

usually three (maybe for) important cash-flow drivers, and a whole bunch of

other activities that don’t mean nearly as much.

While you’re away, have each member of your staff identify what are he three activities they do that help the practice the most.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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What Your Staff Should Be Doing When You’re On Vacation

July 12th, 2013

 

Summer Holiday (1948 film)

Summer Holiday (1948 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What Your Staff Should Be Doing When You’re On Vacation – Part 1

Do you ever feel guilty about taking time away from your

practice? That’s an all-too-common reaction among doctors. You might

say it’s an unhealthy relationship to your work. If compulsive overwork

and worry about your practice is considered unhealthy, then what is

healthy? We advocate letting your staff take the lead in process

improvement, and while you’re away there is no better time for

them to go to work on your practice.

For optimal results, you should seriously consider making

your staff “partners” in your practice. Bonus them when you

reach your revenue goals. Now, this is not something you

can mention once, in an off-handed way, and expect to be

taken seriously. You and your office manager need to “sell”

this plan to your staff. In fact, every time your staff members

have a performance review, the amount of bonus they

earned should be discussed. (As an aside, it’s hard for a staff

member to complain about their salary when they aren’t doing everything they can to earn their bonus,

day in and day out.) And when bonus checks are handed out, you should make a big deal about them.

Make it a celebration atmosphere, play loud music, throw confetti and basically go a little crazy. People

don’t get enough recognition and credit so make sure your staff feels like their hard work gets noticed.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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It’s me again

May 1st, 2013

 

Sanders remains the official face of Kentucky ...

Sanders remains the official face of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and appears on its logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey there faithful blog readers. I took the month of April off from the blog, hope you don’t hold it against me.

What was I doing? Eating my own dog food, as my friend Frank says. I love helping other doctors make sense of their crazy practices. But sometimes the doctor has to take his own medicine.

Mainly I’ve been focusing on branding, marketing and PR opportunities at the practice. We’ve got some good people added to the team, some cool programs and we’re kicking off some initiatives that I think will both help people and help them connect to who we are.

So many of the practices I encounter are bland, brutally dull, cold, disorganized and the same as all the rest. While you’re seeing all those patients, and fighting against the insurance companies who are so easily stealing your lunch money every darn recess, maybe you should pause and reflect. Maybe you should ask yourself, who are we? Who are our best patients? Why do they like us so much? Why do we like them? Why do we exist in this market? If we were to go away tomorrow, what void will be filled?

Physician-employees don’t think that way, you can be sure. And if you are an employee who just doesn’t want to trust the man, please admit that to yourself and go work for the man. Nobody will think less of you for it. Frankly nobody will care. Get over your petty stuff and find an identity for your practice and figure out how to do that. Remember the old KFC motto: “We do chicken right.”

The beginning of your marketing plan is your market position. That’s a good place to start if you’re lost.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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You should listen to Gary

March 23rd, 2013
Image of Wine Library TV's Gary Vaynerchuk.

Image of Wine Library TV's Gary Vaynerchuk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You should follow Gary Vaynerchuck if you aren’t already. If you like what I have to say, you will probably be into Gary. Mainly Gary is about hustle. And hustle is still 90% of your success.

Most of you are just too soft, too white bread and not nearly disciplined enough. If that is the case, listen to Gary. Here is a really cool video that will show you Gary at his best, prowling the stage like caged tiger.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhqZ0RU95d4

And most of all, don’t accept what is easy if there is something more worthwhile available.

Enjoy!

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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What is your role?

March 3rd, 2013

There are 12 essential functions of a medical practice. You need to know what they areand who is taking care of each for you. Here is the most common piece of advice I give to coaching clients:

     “Stop thinking of yourself as a working physician all of the time. Work on your practice, not just in it

There are 3 main motivators on the job:
autonomy
mastery
contribution

Since you are good at making clinical decisions, and you don’t have to check with anyone before you make these decisions, and patients thank you profusely for helping them, that’s what you’re likely to spend your time doing. But that is not enough. Regardless of where you are in your career you must start to become educated about the business side of your practice. The more you practice and learn about the business basics, the easier it will be for you to make business decisions.

You don’t have to personally manage all 12 functions, but you should know enough about them to detect if they are being mismanaged. To do otherwise would be to stay a child, vulnerable to whomever you are trusting to much to run your practice without oversight.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

Be Your Own Boss?

February 15th, 2013
Donald Trump sues Bill Maher for $5 million over orangutan bet

Donald Trump

The hard part of owning your own practice is that often the boss is the problem.

What is the boss of a medical practice supposed to do? A boss is supposed to:

1. Build a great team.

2. Ensure everyone is doing what contributes the highest value possible to the organization,  including you.

3. Processes are checked for integrity (eg. auditing for errors – how many times did the front not collect the coinsurance payment due at checkout).

4. Identify the performance gaps and make plans to remedy them in the areas of clincial operations, billing , marketing, IT and accounting.

5. Keep track of the results.

6. Outsource as much as possibel without sacrificing quality of care or financial efficiency.

So what activities do you do that bring the most value to your organization? What are you going to stop doing because it is an inefficient use of your time?

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

Thanks, Jack

February 8th, 2013

Jack Canfield

I am listening to Jack Canfield’s audiobook called “The Success Principles”. Great book, you should get it. I bought the book a few years ago when he came to speak at my church but I barely read it. I much prefer the audiobook because I find it easier to learn that way.

One of the principles Jack talks about is ‘The Rule of 5″. Do 5 things that bring you closer to your main objective   every day.  Jack explains using the metaphor of chopping down a tree. If you had a huge tree in your back yard all you must do is take 5 good swings at it with a sharp axe every day. Eventually the tree must come down.

The problem with most practices (or any type of small business) is that there are 25 trees and randomly the owner is running around with an axe in each hand swatting at a tree here and a tree there until he or she passes out from exhaustion. What is needed is a little focus and several other competent concerned people with sharp axes at the ready to take down one tree at a time.

What is your main ”tree” right now? What is the list of things you are doing to knock that sucker down?

How much energy, time and money are you wasting by not having really good answers to the above two questions? How is that affecting your key relationships and your health?  

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

What Will You Get Out of Yourself This Week? Part II

February 1st, 2013

 

English: portrait of Sir Roger Moore
English: portrait of Sir Roger Moore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike Murdock has a cool interesting saying, ‘Every hour of your day is an employee. Give each a specific assignment.” How well you manage yourself is a good gauge of how well you manage your employees.

Do you overschedule yourself? Do you organize your resources before you begin? Do you have a realistic amount of time for things to get things done, even if things don’t go perfectly? Is every task in your day like the final scene of a James Bond film, where you rescue the world with your combination of genius, guile and out-of-the-box thinking?

A lot of doctors have addictive personalites. Being busy and the only person who can do things correctly is a potent drug. Don’t get hooked on it.

Do you just show up and do “whatever”? Do you lack clear precise goals and plans? A good gauge of how clear your plans are is how well your support staff could explain them. Does everyone on your team know what you are going for? Could you explain your goals and plans to me complete with timelines, costs, resources needed, budget and proforma? I often ask my clients to do just this. I don’t do it to discourage their dreams, only to make sure they get either acted upon or set aside. It’s important to dream without falling into the habit of being just a “dreamer”.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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What will you get out of yourself this week? Part I

January 27th, 2013

 

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (Photo credit: casually_cruel)

Growth – whether personal or business – requires peak efficency of time use, among other things. The receptionist, who improves her phone skills and turns 8 hours of inbound calls into 10 appointments per day, instead of 5 is an easy example of this. So when you think of growing your income, you have to ask the question, “what should I be doing?” Or to be more precise, “what activities do I do that contribute the most to my business?’ And by extension, “what do I do that someone else could do and it would not make a difference who does them?”

Most doctors and small business people are messed up in this area. They think about this with their emotions rather than their logic. They do what they are most trained at, what they are good at and what they like to do. This is a normal and human reaction but that does not make it the right answer. As the busienss owner you are forced to think about what brings you personal fulfillment versus what your business requires to sustain and grow.

To me, it makes no sense to go to all the trouble of owning a practice and not mastering the business part of it. Why do things wrong only to get your patients upset with you, have to let your staff go, neglect your personal life and have money problems? It’s less work in the long run to just figure out how to do things right and do that. It’s not less work to outsource the whole thing to someone else unless they have a proven, proprietary method that works.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will take the first four to sharpen my axe.”

He was right.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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How many open projects do you have?

January 15th, 2013

 

English: Olympic Flame of Vancouver2010

English: Olympic Flame of Vancouver2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The trick to growing a business is to find out what your true assets and resources are and deploy them with passion and purpose. Your most important assets include the collective brainpower of your team. If you don’t feel you are working with a top team that fills you with confidence, look no further, that is where you must start.

After that, what can you do to increase the capacity of your practice? How can you increase cash flow and cash on hand? What new services can you offer? How can you see more patients per day? How can you increase customer service? How well integrated are your financial and IT systems?

Obviously, you can’t work on everything at once. That’s my point. If you are like most doctors, routine patient care kicks your butt. You may not even have time to get your charts done that day and have time to spend with your family. That’s a significant problem, because you need time to work ON your practice instead of IN it. Doctors in this category tend to have a lot of open projects that they started and never got around to. They tend to have stuck practices – same problem, different day.

I have 3 suggestions for doctors who fit this description:

1. Increase your physical energy. Workout regularly, preferably with weights. There is a terrific online workout at Livestrong.com Woman by Valerie Waters called “Rock your cardio.” I recommend it.

2. Take time off. Close down 1/2 day a week or get a locum to cover you. Stop seeing patients and start building systems that automatically improve your practice. If you can’t afford to do this, spend all of Saturday at the office until you can afford it. You have to invest time into practice improvement.

3. Get a coach. I know that sounds self-serving but really, how many people in your life who will call you on your BS? A good coach will keep you focused on the important and oftern challenging outcomes and will not allow you to get distracted or give up. After all you may be the most valuable asset in your practice and you cannot afford to waste your God-given talents.

Practice building is kind of like trying to start a fire outdoors in a  stiff wind. The elements are against you and somehow you have to concentrate that spark into a roaring flame. Keep your flint dry and protect your flame, metaphorically speaking.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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