The Business of Contact Lenses
Outsourcing Administrative Tasks Can Free Time for Patients
BY GARY GERBER, OD
There are some aspects of running a practice that we love and some that we loathe. One way to make practicing more enjoyable is to consciously tip the scales toward doing things you want to do and away from doing things you don’t want to do. Most of us would stratify those tasks by putting patient care at the top of our list and administrative tasks toward the bottom. To that end, even for smaller practices, it’s time to look at outsourcing what you would rather not deal with.
For those who say, “I have plenty of time to do this stuff myself, why pay someone else to do it for me?” I’d say that for all but the newest practices, which need to learn the nuances of how things run early on, why not reward your efforts and put your skills where they make the most difference? You’re probably a great practitioner who can generate more revenue practicing than fixing computers or figuring out payroll tax deductions.
What to Outsource
With that as a backdrop, here’s a list of common tasks to consider not doing inside your office.
Payroll Once you’ve done it a few times yourself and understand the process and tax consequences, there’s little reason to keep doing it yourself. There are many ways to get this off your desk with a multitude of online solutions available. Direct deposit of employees’ checks should be standard procedure, too.
Billing Service As with payroll, once you are comfortable with billing and coding, it might be wise to seek outside assistance. If for no other reason than their ability to doggedly follow up on bounced claims, a good billing service can improve cash flow— even after their fees are paid.
Cleaning Service You and your staff will appreciate not having to do a “deeper” cleaning when you hire someone else to do it. Of course, light day-to-day “housekeeping” should still take place every day.
Computer Maintenance Unless it’s a hobby of yours and you’re fast and comfortable doing so, spend your time seeing patients, or figuring out how to see more patients, instead of doing computer-related tasks. Leave IT to the pros.
Recall If you’re not as busy as you’d like, odds are your recall system could be anemic. There are many services that can help reenergize this critically important segment of your practice.
Temp Agency If you have a “one and done” project that is going to take more than a few minutes, have someone else do it for you. Examples could be data entry, calling overdue patients, etc.
Public Relations One of the best ways to attract new patients is through a cogent public relations effort. Find one with medical device experience.
Consultant If you’re like many practitioners, you have a todo list that’s a mile long. A good consultant can help you, among other things, organize your list in the context of your personal and professional goals, then help with execution. Staff management, marketing, and increasing cash flow should best be left to those who deal with those and similar topics all day long.
Outsourcing anything doesn’t mean the task ends for you. Your practice still needs to carefully monitor performance and return on investment, especially during the first few months. If things are favorable, continue the service. If not, find out why and make changes. For example, if someone is working remotely to call patients who are overdue for care, track call volume and success rate. Ideally, set a goal of how many patients should return as a function of all who are called. CLS
|Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice, a company offering proven and comprehensive practice and profit building systems. You can reach him at www.PowerPractice.com and follow him on Twitter @PowerYourDream.|