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    3 business strategies to keep your practice profitable

    Fine-tune your practice workflow and focus on social media

    Nandkishore Ranadive, MD, loves the professional freedom that comes with running his 15-provider independent practice, Orlando Heart Specialists in Altamonte Springs, Fla. “I have the ability to work when I want to, take time off when I want, and not worry about what my employer will tell me,” he says.

    That has fueled his energy for growing it. He started the practice about 17 years ago with three employees. Since then, as president and chief executive officer, he has grown the practice to between 60 and 65  employees. But with the regulatory environment bringing mounting costs to medical practices, keeping it thriving has required Ranadive to give frequent attention to the business side.

    READ: Time is money: 4 ways to manage practice productivity

    “The challenge in today’s world is to remain viable,” Ranadive says. “If one is having difficulty sustaining the overhead of the practice, it becomes easier to join a hospital system or some other large provider and give up those headaches.”

    Taking a proactive approach to managing the business side of a practice is essential today, as the Affordable Care Act, International Classification of Diseases-10th revision (ICD-10) and other measures add economic pressure. Fortunately, by concentrating on high-impact areas of the practice—like cash flow and online reputation—it is very possible to build a healthier operation with long-term sustainability and more time to care for patients, experts say.

    Here are some strategies for attaining that goal:

    1. Focus on the front desk

    With patient satisfaction becoming increasingly important both in terms of reimbursements and in building a strong online reputation, creating a positive first impression when a patient first checks in makes more of a difference than ever to a practice’s success.

    “The person at the front desk can make a life-long patient or a one-time patient, based upon how they meet and greet the patients,” says Steven Peltz, CHBC, managing partner of Peltz Practice Management & Consulting Services in Brewster, New York.

    Evaluate your staffing

    The ideal front-desk employees have both the warmth to make patients feel like family members and the skills to simultaneously handle insurance verification and accept copayments in an organized way, experts say.

    “With ICD-10, the front desk is going to have to ask much more of the patient than they are doing now,” says Peltz. “The front-desk person is going to have to determine the reason for the person coming in.”

    Invest time in finding personnel who combine soft skills and deftness in multi-tasking.

    “The one point I can’t stress enough is hiring the right person, no matter how many interviews you have to go through—and to train that person to succeed,” says Peltz. “If you don’t have good training, the person will not succeed and you will have to start the process over.”

    Next: Streamline your intake before patients arrive


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