Connections for Success



Five Ways to Improve Practice Efficiency
Kelly H. Buchheit

The concept of work efficiency is rife with adages such as “work smarter, not harder” and “arrive early, leave late.” While certainly meaning well, these statements are vague. As such, I present to you five specific ways you can improve the efficiency of your medical practice:

  1. Get Paid for What You Do
    You should make sure you get paid for the services you perform and for the chargeable items, such as medicines, that you dispense. This applies to everything — from co-pays to various third-party payers, whether insurers or Medicare/Medicaid. You should verify that all payers are remitting the full amounts due to you. In other words, you should have a dedicated specialist assigned to verifying the timing and accuracy of payments. On the flip side, you cannot disregard the need to ensure accurate billing processes as well.
  2. Staff Appropriately
    The general rule of thumb for medical staffing is to have three to four staff members for each physician in both front and back office roles. Make sure you have enough staff to maintain efficient and effective care, patient flow and cycle time. In addition to staffing the right number of people, it is also extremely important to define staff roles, train properly and clarify your expectations.
  3. Cut Costs
    Physicians are often encouraged to see an increasing number of patients, jamming in as many as possible in a day to improve revenue. However, many physicians find it is easier to cut costs instead of increasing patient volume. How do you cut costs? One simple solution is to evaluate your overhead. Is your practice site larger or more expensive than you need? Do you have too many staff? Are you spending money on services or equipment that you do not need or that are underused?
  4. Monitor Key Performance Indicators
    Key performance indicators are analytical ways of evaluating how your medical practice is doing. Most of them (though not all) deal with revenue collection. They include monthly charges, monthly collections, new patients, total patient visits, accounts receivable, per-visit value, net collection ratio and first-pass denial rate. While there are other metrics that can be monitored, these are eight of the most important ones.
  5. Practice Your Best Medicine
    In the current health care environment, it is easy to get sucked into a vortex where practicing medicine seems secondary to running the business. However, practicing medicine at the highest level possible will not only allow you to stay operational, but also increase the likelihood that you will turn a profit. So make sure that providing high-quality health care to your patients is always your number one priority. A strong reputation and solid patient base should then afford you the time to look for sensible, practical ways to improve efficiency.

For more information, contact Kelly Buchheit at [email protected] or 312.670.7444. Visit to learn more about our Health Care Group.

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