A regular review of your income and expenses is essential in safeguarding the finances of your private practice, and particularly in the current climate where there is a squeeze on your income and what seems like ever increasing costs.
Step 1 – Know your Numbers
When it comes to balancing the books, knowledge is power. It’s time for a health check of your private practice.
Start by checking you are invoicing for all your activity, and in a timely fashion. It sounds obviously, but you’d be surprised how many invoices are missed.
Are your charges in line with your competitors? When was the last time you reviewed your fees? And speak to the insurers as many will negotiate on your fees.
Check you are following up on any unpaid invoices, particularly insurer shortfalls which are easy to miss and require some management. You can only do this however if you have an efficient process to keep track of payments received.
If you’re managing your invoicing yourself and are struggling to keep on top of it – outsource it. I guarantee your net income will be greater as specialist companies are great value and their fees will easily be less than the value of invoices you don’t collect yourself – and you’ll have no work to do.
Step 2 – Reduce Costs
Trimming costs wherever possible, even marginally, will add up and help keep your practice thriving.
When your medical indemnity insurance is up for renewal, shop around. There are some excellent smaller medical indemnity providers who insure based on specialty risk and they can be significantly cheaper for the same, if not better cover.
Move into the digital world and you’ll find your practice is transformed. For example, even simple things like emailing correspondence to your patients rather than printing and then posting saves time and money.
Review your admin costs – can you outsource rather than employing your own staff which comes with the associated HR costs? Outsourced companies often work out much cheaper, and there are no HR issues to manage.
How much does your practice management software system cost? The more traditional systems are usually server based with higher annual and monthly fees than the more modern cloud based systems so it’s worth having a look at the newer systems. An added bonus will be the efficiency features in software such as MediOffice that you’ll also benefit from.
Step 3 – Make your practice work harder
With your income being squeezed in many directions, it makes sense to ensure you are maximizing the opportunities within your practice.
Use digital technology to help you, eg text patients to remind them of their appointment so you minimize DNAs. Plus it’s a better patient experience.
Invest in a practice management software system – this will transform the efficiency of your practice, particularly if you utilise features such as patient portals, automated appointment letter generation, and integrated patient payment options.
Transcription can now be transcribed directly into your patient documents in real time if you have the right software system, potentially saving you hundreds each year. One practice told us that by moving to a system that had this feature, they saved over £15K per year on typing costs alone.
Would your patients prefer a video consultation rather than a face to face appointment? Telehealth isn’t always right, but where clinically appropriate offering your patients a choice could save you on clinic room fees, and be more convenient for the patient.
Ensure your phone is answered and you don’t miss any new patient enquiries. During a recent study, we called over 500 consultant practices and an astonishing 72% didn’t answer the phone or it went to voicemail. This is immensely frustrating as a patient and it is highly likely you will be losing new patients – invest in a telephone answering service to prevent this occurring.
And finally, treat your patients like royalty at all times, and they will recommend you to the friends, family and importantly to their GP. There is nothing better than word of mouth to grow your practice.