Running a small medical practice gives leaders great autonomy and control over day-to-day functions, which can be very rewarding. But overseeing responsibility for a medical office is no easy feat—especially with the livelihoods of your employees at stake. Good news: It's possible to balance the flexibility of a small practice and the efficiency of a larger one. Just keep these four lessons from larger medical organizations in mind when you're managing a private or small group practice.
Larger organizations tend to understand and aggressively mitigate risk. After all, one lawsuit resulting from a freak accident can set a medical establishment back tens of thousands of dollars. The price tag for a "slip-and-fall" accident alone can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on injuries. Medical offices, just like any other commercial spaces, have a responsibility to uphold principles of ordinary negligence. This means patients and visitors can sue if they're injured due to a hazard on your premises.
Protecting your practice with medical general liability insurance is an important foundational step in any risk management plan. This coverage insulates your small organization against oversized financial damages resulting from accidental negligence on your part. Avoid the mistake that some small businesses make in thinking they can fly under the radar in terms of risk.
It's generally true that larger organizations tend to run like well-oiled machines due to their expansive management and human-power. But don't write off your small practice just because it employs fewer workers and has a tighter operating budget.
Even a small office can quickly become disorganized without the right medical office management in place. Oftentimes, this hinges on something as simple as running optimal medical management software within your budget. Delegating adequate resources to management is what builds a strong backbone for your business. Prioritize appointment scheduling, customer service, patient communications, and staff workload above all. This will help cement your reputation as a small practice.
If your receptionist got the flu, would your practice find itself up the creek without a paddle? On one hand, small practices cannot afford to keep a deep roster of substitute staffers on the payroll. On the other, it's still important to make sure your office can run smoothly no matter the circumstances.
Explore flexible solutions for staffing your medical practice, like job-sharing, to reduce turnover. Make proactive hiring decisions before you're truly swamped, and carefully consider how you split up duties between your employees. Cross-training can be very beneficial here.
Micromanaging tends to lead to burnout, which is "associated with medical errors and a lack of empathy with patients." Burnout also fuels turnover, which exacerbates the need to micromanage. If your small practice can break this cycle, you'll be better off in the long haul. Work on a healthy delegation of tasks, and make sure your administrative procedures alleviate constant derailment and confusion. Spending time up front fine-turning your best practices will undoubtedly provide a better return on investment (ROI) than the alternative.
Believe it or not, you can run your small practice with the efficiency of a larger one—without sacrificing autonomy.
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