Tips to improve practice management in 2018

A new year always brings resolve to work smarter, become more efficient, and find better ways to run a successful business. Independent physicians, while primarily focused on helping their patients, do also have a business to run. There are a number of ways that independent physicians can improve their practice management in 2018, while maintaining their focus on their patients.

The first step is to assess the practice, in terms of financial health. David Zetter, a healthcare management consultant, advises that independent physicians should “get a handle on knowing their true financial health by reviewing their financial statements and understanding where they stand.” The practice’s billing software and bookkeeping system become very important when assessing the overall practice’s financial situation.

Technology is an important factor in the practice management as well as the practice’s patient management operations. Electronic health records (EHRs) can help an independent physician easily access a patient’s records, even those from specialty providers and labs, without wasting time searching through paperwork or waiting for faxes to arrive.

EHRs can also help in patient charting. The independent physician who ensures that the practice’s staff have the skills and knowledge necessary to take advantage of the electronic records will be able to improve the efficiency of the practice as a whole. Medical data can be reviewed before the visit to prepare properly for the patient and input after the visit to ensure all records are current.

Improving patient services is also key to improving practice management. Enhancing communication channels with patients as well as with other providers will help drive better outcomes for those patients. Confidentiality is a serious concern among patients and providers, so HIPAA compliance has to be a significant priority in 2018 as well.

Healthcare policies continue to change, as do the requirements and regulations of agencies such as Medicare and Medicaid. The independent physician can continue to run an improved practice in 2018, regardless of the changes by assessing the current condition of the practice and then taking advantage of these practice management tools.