6+ Strategies for Enhancing Your Optometry Practice
Optometrists around the country want to increase their revenue, but don’t know where to even start. Many practices might even have a decent flow of patients, and already manage their money well, but not be able to increase their revenue (no matter what they do). If you’re in a similar position, or simply want to know how you can enhance your current business model, keep on reading.
Increasing a business’s revenue is no simple task, and medical practices face certain difficulties that simply aren’t present in other industries. Dealing with patients, insurance issues, and related matters can put a heavy strain on even the most business-savvy optometrists out there. Kapitus mentions that practices need to have quick and easy access to funds to keep up with the day-to-day operations while dealing with timing uncertainties related to insurance payments, which is why obtaining a healthcare practice loan might be your best bet.
However, increasing your revenue isn’t impossible. On the contrary, by utilizing some of the below methods you should be able to see a direct increase in revenue, staff efficiency, and the overall management of your practice.
Expand Your Practice
Not practicing to the full extent of your expertise if a major issue that directly affects your bottom line. Why would you only focus on one or two specialties, when people have numerous eyecare problems they need medical treatment for?
Just because a few issues make up the majority of patient cases doesn’t mean that you should neglect other avenues of revenue. If you’re able to listen to your patients and develop a comprehensive treatment plan (for underlying issues), you will be able to drastically increase your practice’s annual revenue.
Proper Staff Management is Key
Practices that are mismanaged tend to bleed money at a much higher rate than those that employ effective personnel management tactics. The objective behind optimizing personnel management is to establish effective workflows that help increase revenue. An example of this could be delegating certain tasks to one specific employee, rather than assigning them to whoever is available at the time.
Understand How to Properly Manage Costs
Accounting isn’t something most people enjoy, however it is essential to the overall success of your business (or any business for that matter). Billing for optometrists should focus on defining clear financial outcomes, and knowing how to achieve them. Proper accounting is vital to the growth of your business and should never be neglected.
Optimizing your schedule can lead to bigger profits. Why? Imagine if your employees know exactly what to do when to do it, and also know exactly how to manage the flow of patients. This type of optimization leads to increased workflow, increased patient intake, and therefore increased revenue.
Having an optimized schedule also applies to patients as well. Your practice’s patients shouldn’t be in your office any longer than what’s needed to administer treatment. Most industry sources cite the ideal time as being around 45 to 60 minutes. How long are your patients in your office? Anything longer than one hour should be viewed as something to fix. Analyze your patient flow and develop a plan to minimize their time spent in-office.
Personnel Training Should Be a Focus
Training should never stop. If your staff isn’t constantly being trained, re-trained, or otherwise learning new methodologies, your business is losing out on potential income. Having a better-trained staff means being able to deal with more patients, handle more complex issues, and generally operate at a higher level (which translates to increased revenue). The ROI of staff training is nearly always positive.
Communication Needs to Be a Priority
Properly communicating with your staff members is vital to the success of your practice. If employees don’t know what management is doing (and vice versa), there’s a huge disconnect that can develop into major problems (both from a business perspective and a medical one).
One of the best ways to ensure proper communication is by holding scheduled meetings between staff members (both on a team-level and individually). This ensures that communication is a priority, and also makes open dialogue easier to initiate. The more communication occurs between staff, management, and patients, the better your practice will be.
When it comes to staff meetings, it’s not recommended to have these be “free flow” meetings (i.e. no structure). Meetings should be structured, have clearly defined goals, and also cover predefined topics of discussion. Examples of topics include business growth, marketing, patient management, staff issues, communication, finances, etc.
Open communication means sharing information between management, staff, and patients. While doctors may be the main people who deliver most information types, other communications can be delegated to lower-level employees for a more enhanced workflow.