Whether you’re a physical therapist or a mental health counselor, establishing your own practice can be a rewarding means of contributing to public health while taking control of your career. Healthcare practice management is a big job that requires you to take on the role of both healthcare professional and business owner. For example, it’s up to you to implement the technologies that will support business success. This is just one of the many elements impacting day-to-day healthcare practice management.
Healthcare Practice Management: A How-To-Guide
Effective healthcare practice management may require a “big picture” approach. You must address the immediate details that foster streamlined daily operations while also looking ahead to help maintain and improve overall business success. Here are some of the more salient points to keep in mind.
Implement Technologies to Support Organization and Efficiency
Modern technology can help enhance efficiency and improve organization in your healthcare practice. There are a few different types of tools that may be worth investing in from the start – and then updating and upgrading as needed. These include:
Define Clear Operational Policies for Your Practice
- Scheduling resources: A comprehensive scheduling system may keep relevant patient details securely in one place, helping to minimize the risk of lost data. Scheduling resources can also provide an extensive record of previous appointments, automated follow-up reminders, and more. Sending patients a quick text or email reminder ahead of an appointment can help reduce no-shows, for example.
- Patient data management tools: Patient information (e.g., insurance details and clinical data) should be secured in line with HIPAA requirements. Digital data management tools can help securely store and organize such information, making it easy for staff to access them. Such systems can also provide valuable big-picture data to help you improve your healthcare practice management, such as information regarding the frequency of no-shows and claims reimbursement trends.
- Financial services technology: Healthcare practice management is generally complicated by complex billing needs, which must take into account various insurer’s requirements. Seemingly “small” details like an error in a diagnostic code may cause reimbursement failures, creating hassle for patients and more work for your team. Cloud-based financial services for healthcare practices can help generate billing statements, deal with electronic claims, and more.
New technology may not be useful if you don’t have clear policies in place for how to implement it. Create written guidelines for your team on how to use practice systems and update them regularly. Periodic training sessions in case of updates can also be helpful, especially when it comes to more complex technologies. Some healthcare software providers offer training.
When it comes to IT policies, keep security requirements in mind. For example, you might define requirements for employees, like having each one set their unique passcode, not sharing log-in details, and only using non-approved work-specific devices to access health practice software. Even if your healthcare practice is a small one consisting of just yourself and an administrative support staff member, it may be worth formally documenting and implementing these measures. This can help protect you in case of potential cyber liability claims as it may demonstrate that the appropriate precautionary steps were taken to avoid hacks. You may want to have your staff sign off on such policies, proving they’ve received and read them.
Solicit Feedback and Be Open to Change
The healthcare field is constantly evolving. Your healthcare practice and healthcare practice management tools and policies should shift accordingly. For example, if your healthcare practice hasn’t yet moved to the full use of electronic health records (EHRs), this may be a valuable step. This EHR setup to-do checklist
can help get you started. Make sure any measures are in line with relevant federal guidelines
You may also want to update the healthcare tools and technology you use in line with industry best practices. Keeping your equipment up to date can help ensure that you’re able to give your patients a greater diversity of more care options.
Healthcare practice evolution should also take into account the opinion of the end-user – the patient. Regularly soliciting feedback from patients can help you tweak your technologies and policies to improve care. Input from your team is also valuable. Your team is on the front line of care and may get direct or indirect feedback from patients (e.g., frustration with billing systems) that you may not be aware of.
Maintain Appropriate Insurance Coverage
Healthcare practice management may likely require an ongoing investment of money, time, and energy. You want to make sure that investment is secure. Insurance coverage can help in case your business faces legal liability claims.
Here are some types of insurance you may want to research as a healthcare practice business owner:
- Professional Liability: Professional liability insurance can help provide coverage in case you face malpractice claims. Depending on the policy, it could include points like license protection, defendant expenses, assault coverage, medical payments, and more.
- Business Owner’s Policy: A BOP can help cover damages related to circumstances that aren’t explicitly related to your professional healthcare services. It could include commercial general liability coverage, business income protection, property liability (for the building housing your healthcare practice and the tools, technology, etc. inside), and more.
- Workers’ Compensation: This type of insurance can help provide coverage for employees who are hurt on the job. Coverage might include medical expenses and replacement for wages lost due to time off work. Note that workers’ compensation may be mandatory in some states.
These are just a few insurance considerations in healthcare management. The above is not a comprehensive list of all types of coverage you may want to help protect your business. An insurer specializing in healthcare business coverage can provide a more detailed list of possible coverage types.
Help Protect Your Healthcare Practice with HPSO
Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) provides coverage for healthcare practice business owners. A business insurance policy can combine general and professional liability coverage, helping streamline coverage. Find out more via the FAQs page.
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