Your medical team is integral to the success of your practice. Admin teams at the coalface and patient satisfaction really starts with them. Patient engagement should be part of their KPIs and how you define that sets the tone for patient loyalty. An empowered team is one of the key drivers of growth in your clinic, so how can you help them reach their potential – and grow your business at the same time?
To optimise efficiency and ensure you can identify and support team members who are not performing at their best, it’s important to first benchmark performance – then identify key areas for improvement.
So, what are the key indicators of a successful practice, and how can you measure and improve your team’s performance?
Opportunities to increase productivity
In Australia, healthcare investment and expense is on the rise. Healthcare represents 10.3% of gross domestic product (GDP), while healthcare spending is expected to reach 5.7% of GDP by 2055. The Productivity Commission reports that the overall “efficiency of the health sector could be increased by up to 20% by bringing performance up to best practice across a range of areas” – particularly when it comes to leveraging technology and managing workforce performance.
For your medical practice, there are three key opportunities that can positively contribute to patients’ health outcomes, boost productivity for your medical team, and ultimately make your practice more profitable:
- Invest in management: A strong Practice Manager is crucial to the success of your practice, and apart from bringing a huge range of business skills – from payroll management to marketing expertise – their leadership skills can also increase productivity in your team. Help them grow and develop their skills, and focus their KPIs around improving the patient experience.
- Invest in technology that optimises your practice processes and boosts efficiency: At a minimum, a high performing clinical and practice management platform should include:
- A mobile app for doctors, so you can access patient information on the go from any device.
- A patient portal to help improve patient engagement and reduce no-shows.
- Integrated voice-to-text technology, with workflows that significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on letters.
- Invest in developing and optimising workforce performance: Your practice team needs to stay up to date with the latest treatments, research and developments. Giving them opportunities for ongoing training and education will build their skills and increase their knowledge, and networks. This in turn will help them provide high quality care to patients, resulting in improved patient retention and industry recognition.
How to set and manage KPIs to improve financial performance
When it comes to performance measures in your medical practice, first you have to set clear targets and benchmarks for your teams. Once you have these, you can track performance, work out which areas of your medical practice are underperforming, and put the right actions in place to tackle these.
1. Understand what affects performance
It’s often easy to pinpoint which areas of your practice are underperforming, but it can be challenging to diagnose the cause correctly.
When performance declines in your medical practice it can be due to a range of factors. For example, you may have a high no-show rate because there’s little communication with patients around their appointment times or extra admin tasks could render practitioners’ average consult time to be longer than forecast.
Decreased performance could also come down to:
- Unclear roles and responsibilities, or job expectations: This can happen, for example, when practices have employees in job-sharing positions. During the course of the week, one person can be starting work as the other person finishes. If there isn’t a clear understanding about each person’s responsibilities there can be confusion and jobs can get missed.
- Insufficient training: In the healthcare industry, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest innovations and developments in your field. If you aren’t investing in your clinicians’ development, it could lead to lower return rates and less patient referrals down the line – which impacts the financial health of your practice.
- Lack of motivation or rewards: If you want to encourage performance, it’s important to find the right motivators for your team. For doctors, it could be sharing positive patient feedback to help motivate them; while your practice manager could be incentivised every quarter based on patient return rates.
- High amounts of pressure or negative work/life balance: Working in a medical practice can be stressful, so it’s important to keep an eye on your team’s work/life balance and the amount of pressure they’re facing on a day-to-day basis. Ensure you set up regular meetings with your employees to check in and make sure they’re maintaining a healthy attitude towards work.
- A lack of tools: Perhaps doctors in your practice are spending much of their valuable consult time having to update patients’ healthcare information. Cloud-based tools, such as a patient portal, enable patients to provide their demographical information ahead of their first visit, freeing up doctors to focus during consults. Patient portals also provide a central hub for patient information, improving the patient experience and boosting efficiency.
2. Set clear KPIs
One of the most effective ways to track and improve performance is to align with your team on clear KPIs that benefit the practice, while also meeting their personal and career development needs. When you or your practice manager sit down for your regular reviews, it’s important to set and review KPIs that align with:
- Your team’s motivation and personal development. This means looking at where a practitioner or staff member is now and how they want to grow – and what goals and tools you can provide them with to help them improve.
- The strategic business objectives of your practice. If the key business objective for your practice is to attract new patients, then your focus should be on marketing and patient referrals. Similarly, if you’re aiming to see more patients each day, your objectives should be focused around optimising practice procedures and consultation times. Identify the broader business objectives for your practice, and set your team KPIs based on this to ensure everyone is working towards a common goal.
- Setting SMART goals. These are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-based. The clearer your timelines and expectations are, the easier it will be to track, review and adjust at regular intervals to see how each employee is progressing.
- Provide tangible rewards for achievement. Motivation is crucial to your team and having clear incentives will give them focus – and make them feel like their hard work is paying off. Whether it’s providing bonuses when your clinic meets a business objective or having additional team perks – such as days off to volunteer or time off to work on their own project – recognition and rewards are key to boosting performance and morale.
- Invest in training. It’s important to give your team opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills. This in turn, will benefit your practice overall. Ask your team to share a list of key skills they would like to develop or training events they would like to attend, and work with your practice manager to develop a training plan tailored to their needs.
3. Communicate often
31% of employees wish their manager communicated more regularly with them. If you maintain regular communication with your team, you can:
- Improve your practice’s financial performance by improving retention rates.
- Build team morale and efficient problem-solving, which will contribute to the overall performance of your practice.
- Encourage more transparency, and a deeper understanding of your patients, leading to higher patient satisfaction rates.
If you want to foster more communication in your practice, try the following:
- Have weekly practice roundtables: where your team come together to share any wins they’ve had with patients, as well as to identify any challenges they’re facing or how they’re feeling with the current workload.
- Set up monthly or quarterly reviews with your team: This is an opportunity for you to step back, review KPIs together, discuss how they’re progressing in their role, identify the next steps for growth, and any areas for improvement. This way, they’ll feel like you’re engaged in their career and you’ll build rapport, and trust with your team.
- Encourage team sharing and bonding: Teams are stronger when the members of it trust each other. The more comfortable your team is in communicating openly with each other, the more efficient they’ll be in tackling problems – and ultimately, this will increase the productivity and profitability of your business. There are many ways you can help build this rapport – from team building events to work dinners or a peer sharing system.
Over to you
Now you have the right KPIs and processes to develop your practice and team while maintaining efficiency. Whether your medical practice is a team of two or 10, people are your greatest investment when it comes to providing quality care for more patients.
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