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Healthcare Management Educational Series Wraps Up With Practical Advice

Alerus | FEB 12, 2016

Unlocking Opportunities for Medical Practice Growth

In the final session of this year's Healthcare Management Educational Series, the healthcare team from DS+B CPAs provided attendees with practical methods to put the lessons from the previous HMES sessions into action. Filled with information and theory on medical practice management, the previous sessions gave practitioners the tools to help their businesses grow. The closing session aimed to educate medical professionals on how best to use those tools to build a practice that survives and thrives in today's ever-changing world.

Prioritizing and Improving

The theme of this HMES session was not simply "take action," rather, it was "take action where you have the most to gain." In other words, before trying to apply the lessons learned throughout the series of lectures, first take the time to think about your practice's priorities, develop a strategy, and then move ahead with a measurable plan to attack the areas where you have the most to gain. 

The first step in this process of improvement, explained the panel, is to develop key performance indicators (KPIs), and make sure they are tailored specifically to the medical industry. KPI discussions will always include some items that are standard in most businesses -- balance sheets, pricing, accounts receivable -- but it's important to realize that even these common measurements will be a bit different when applied to the medical industry. Medical business leaders should include clinical KPIs as well. These could be goals related to appointment scheduling, payer/patient mix and production, to name a few. With KPIs in hand, then move into creating budgets and reports that keep you on track. Decide what to report daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Try to track everything from receipts to the work effort your physicians are putting in. Use the budget to try to project into the future rather than simply to look back and compare to the previous year.

Compare Data, Then Act

The speakers showed attendees a variety of practical ways to apply their data, one of which was to determine how your own practice stacks up against industry benchmarks. The speakers made this as easy as possible for attendees by offering a list of sources -- MGMA, Intellicode, CMPA and others -- that aggregate data and make it widely available. There was a good deal of discussion about the accuracy of the reports offered by these sources, and all agreed that data is sometimes limited and to use caution when viewing any report. The medical practice leaders were encouraged to compare items like provider compensation, management and staff, director compensation and on-call compensation to find out if their practices are in line with what the industry is doing.

The session and the series concluded with the DS+B speakers outlining concrete ways to take what was learned throughout the series and make it real. Ideas for increasing revenue, becoming more efficient, and minimizing expenses were discussed in detail, and recommendations were given as to what actions to take and how to take them, depending on the nature of one's medical practice. It was this kind of real-world advice that the attendees said they valued most from the final session and from the Healthcare Management Education Series as a whole.

Previous HMES Articles

Frank Cohen on evidence-based decision-making

Elizabeth Woodcock on improving profitability

Background on each session available on the DS+B website. The Healthcare Management Education Series was sponsored by DS+B and Alerus. 

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