A Complete Guide for Medical Practice Start-Ups (Part 6)
Revenue Generation and Quality Measures
The key to success for any medical practice is always vested in keeping is practically profitable. In today’s hyper-competitive healthcare space, it becomes even more important to sustain your profitability while you’re over-burdened dealing with crushing administrative and ever-increasing operating costs. If you are a medical practice start-up and are struggling with revenue generation and establishing quality measures, here is your practical guide to it.
Build an Online Presence
The foremost thing that attains priority on the to-do list of a medical practice startup is perhaps building an online presence. If you intend to launch and continue without one, you are sure to fall behind. Research suggests that more than 72% patients consult the internet for healthcare related information and around 62% rely on online reviews to look for new practices – this inevitably makes online presence a pre-req for your survival. If you’re not online, chances are that you are missing out on many potential patients.
Apart from setting up your own dedicated website, you might also want to submit your practice to online directories and also create your profile on major review sites. This will not only direct traffic to your official website but also spread awareness about your practice amongst potential patients. Similarly, setting up a profile on social media is equally beneficial in facilitating your practice to pop up in search results.
Improve Patient Collection Strategy
Revenue generation primarily relies upon patient collection, which is also directly linked to ongoing headache for many startup practices. Particularly owing to the increasing number of patients on high deductible insurance plans, revenue generation for start-ups becomes even more of a daunting task. It is a common observation that 20% of most medical practices’ revenue comes from patient co-pays but still many practices only collect 60^ of what is actually due. It becomes much more of a concern when you are a startup and meeting costs remains a concern. It is best to hire a collection agency and outsource your billing and collection tasks to a reputable and experienced vendor. However, if this sounds like too much of spending as of now, you might want to evaluate and re-evaluate your overall collections strategy.
Telemedicine has secured its long-due credit in recent COVID-19 times. When the entire world went into lockdown, and when uncertainty ran rampant in the streets across the globe, and when healthcare was the most important requirement of all, telemedicine came to our rescue. This has opened up new avenues for not only patient care but also for revenue generation. Start-ups have a lot to learn from this, and telemedicine makes perfect sense in a highly digital environment such as todays. You can cater to a lot more patients through virtual visits as compared to in-person visits; you can compete much mor effectively with nearby practices that only offer 9-5 service hours; you can offer your patients more convenient and flexible scheduling options – and the list goes on. Telemedicine will allow you to not only increase your patient footfall but also recapture lost revenue streams from uncompensated time, while perfectly balancing work-life balance for you.
Renegotiate Your Payer Contracts
Many established practices do not ever bother to renegotiate their payer contracts to improve their fee schedules. But being a startup, you certainly won’t want to miss out on ‘any’ revenue streams, would you? If you have enough data to reflect that you are offering great patient care outcomes in a cost-effective manner, you can enjoy the leverage of going back to payers and asking for pay raise. You might seek professional expertise of a healthcare business consultant for this, but you can also do this in-house to enjoy a much better ROI.
Establish Appropriate Quality Measures
You can certainly not put numbers to a standard of excellence but you can definitely establish benchmarks to measuring outcomes of care to determine quality. This will eventually translate into higher patient satisfaction ultimately leading to better revenue generation. Establishing quality measures and constantly seeking quality improvement, must, therefore, remain a priority of medical practice startups.
Quality controls to reduce medical errors and enhance patient safety are important quality measures for healthcare startups. Errors pertaining to prescribing medicines, the percentage of patients who develop complications as a result of care, and post-procedure deaths are definitely amongst the alarming medical errors that you want to avoid. Patient safety comes first.
Security and confidentiality of patients’ medical data remains another important concern for startups. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) store critical patient data using digital technologies to allow easy access and retrieval on need basis. This has significantly aided the quality of health care offered by practices but at the same time flagged serious concerns over maintaining security and confidentiality of such data. You a medical practice startup, data security fundamentally means corresponding action between controlling access to patient data while allowing free and easy access to authorized individuals who need that information.
Effectiveness and Efficiency of Services
These quality measures relate to the services offered at your practice. While effectiveness refers to the outcome of medical treatments and knowledge, efficiency hereby relates to measures that focus on optimal resource utilization (time, equipment, expertise). Timeliness of services or promptness of services relates to both of the measures above. Factors such as patient wait times and patient satisfaction levels might come in handy herein.
Alex Tate is a Health IT writer for various platforms. He provides perceptive, engaging and informative consultancy on industry wide topics. He knows that no single approach is the right one for every practice, and so shall advice according to the requirements. The consultancy is based around EMR Systems, Practice Management and Billing Solutions. MACRA/MIPS consultancy is also available to achieve the highest returns and revenue for your practice.