As the year comes to a close, we should take a step back to rejoice in all that we’ve managed to accomplish and the efforts that are still pushing us forward. It’s important to reflect upon the optometric practice management lessons we’ve learned along the way, so that we can start the new year off on the right foot. It’s easy to see the world around us constantly growing, but so are we! Let’s take a look back at our 2013 resolutions and how we can advance them even further for 2014.
Optometric Practice Management New Year Resolutions: 2013 vs. 2014
2013: Shed the Weight
2014: Build the Muscles
In 2013, we recommended for practices to shed the extra weight of paperwork and move their optical ordering online. This year, let’s get rid of even more inefficiency by ditching in-house maintenance of office servers and moving to the cloud! The time and money saved is probably the biggest benefit, but as your patient data increases, it’s also the best way to ensure that it can be properly stored, secured, and utilized to constantly improve your practice. Just like pursuing a healthy lifestyle, transforming your practice also takes ambition to overcome the initial curve and commitment to consistent progress.
2013: Utilize Social Media
2014: Engage in Social Media
This year, we suggested that optometrists should use social media to make ordering frames more fun. After attracting initial attention to your social media pages, it’s important to retain it and convert it into action. Not only should you show what your practice has to offer, but you should also initiate interaction! The most important part of social media is to engage your audience with genuine questions, captivating pictures, enticing sweepstakes, thought-provoking articles, etc. This year, let’s challenge ourselves to step outside of our bubbles and start a conversation. Keep up with what you’re doing well, be aware of unmet needs, and develop loyalty for the future. Your current and potential customers can contribute just as much to your practice as you could for them. Responding to your fans and critics adds another dimension of attention, service and ultimately viability!
2013: Use a Practice Management System
2014: Optimize it for Your Workflow and Budget
Previously, just having a practice management system was good enough, but can it evolve with your practice’s changing requirements, demands, and functions? With new technological developments, your practice management system should be combined with your EHR, customizable to your workflow, and embedded with great tools. Manual integrations and updates, additional contracts, data entry, and endless clicking should not be taking up time or money in your practice. Track your practice’s performance and see if your practice management and EHR solution is actually helping your practice save money and become more efficient over time.
2013: Be Brave and Make the Change
2014: Evaluate Your Changes, Improve Upon Them, and Keep Your Eyes Open
Most optometrists have taken some leap of faith in improving the efficiency of their office. Maybe your patient data has been completely digitized or perhaps you feel just fine sticking to pen and paper. When the technological market around you is progressing and visibly better patient care is within reach, your patients expect for you to adapt electronically as well. When you make each step of change, feedback should be gathered from both your staff and patients so that you can truly understand what you’re doing for your practice. In this day in age, change has become the constant and it’s important to keep your eyes open in order to stay competitive as both a doctor and a business owner. Here are some findings and subsequent questions that might be worthwhile keeping in mind for the year ahead:
1/3 of consumers use social media to discuss healthcare (2012 PWC Survey) and 41% of consumers said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical facility (Dell). Is your practice capturing these consumers?
A resounding majority of patients want to self-manage prescriptions, reminders and appointments online through mobile, email and website (2012 Accenture Survey). And 95% of consumers say they should have at least some access to their medical records (Accenture info graph). Can your practice’s technology meet patient expectations?
The ability to capture discrete patient data once, on one platform that works on any device is expected to save 673 man hours per year and $1.34 per patient (Bottomline Technologies info graph). Is your practice as efficient as it could be?
Healthcare data is expected to multiply by 50 times in size by 2020 (CIO.com). Can your servers scale to be a viable solution for the long term?
Initial stages of ICD-10 are estimated to increase denials by 100-200% and days in accounts receivable by 20-40% (CMS.gov). Does your coding system have the ability automatically update?
As the healthcare environment is constantly evolving and developing, we can’t afford to be complacent with where we’re at. Each year, we should all challenge ourselves to aim higher and higher. We can always learn more about our specialty, manage our practice more efficiently, or provide even better patient care. Let’s keep moving forward!
What are some of your ideas for New Year’s resolutions this upcoming year?