Managing an oncology practice, you know that many challenges extend beyond your medical school training. In addition to providing care for your patients, you also have the challenge of running a business, including clerical, administrative, and operational tasks. Each aspect of your practice brings along a different set of physician practice management challenges that you may face.
What Is Practice Management?
Practice management encompasses managing all of the business aspects of a medical practice, including human resources, finance, information technology, compliance, marketing, and operations. Managing a medical practice is complex, so a practice management company can help improve productivity and efficiency, enhance accessibility, reduce costs, and help you focus on providing the best patient care.
It’s impossible to run an oncology practice on your own. You require staff to help you provide outstanding patient care. However, hiring staff brings a unique set of challenges. Some things to consider are:
- How many staff members do we need?
- How many physicians do we need?
- How many clerical staff do we need to reduce waiting times for our patients?
- How do we recruit and hire the right people?
- Once they’re hired, how do we keep up with training?
- How do we reduce employee turnover?
Right-sizing your staff is a critical piece of your practice management. Without the right team around you, you may find yourself addressing billing or administrative tasks instead of practicing medicine.
Some of the people you hire will interact directly with your patients. Others may be responsible for billing, which is crucial to a successful practice. If we’re familiar with anything these days, it’s how fast things change. It’s critical to ensure your team is adequately trained with the latest information relevant to their tasks. Replacing employees is costly for your practice, both financially and for patient satisfaction and care.
Patients are an essential part of our practices — our focus is always on the patient experience. If Triple Aim is our goal (improving patient experiences while improving population health and reducing per capita costs), then a whole list of additional challenges comes into the picture.
How do we improve patient satisfaction?
Patient satisfaction scores are more important now than ever, impacting everything from wait time to customer service experience and medical care. This is one of the top challenges that practices face today.
When patient satisfaction drops, so will your revenue. An excellent to combat this practice management challenge is to regularly check in with patients to see how they feel about the care they’re receiving. Gathering information through regular anonymous surveys and feedback can help you make small changes that significantly improve patient satisfaction.
While practice efficiency is essential, it’s also critical that physicians and nurses have excellent bedside manners. Ensuring that you’re not rushing through patient visits and investing in them and their oncology care is crucial to improving patient satisfaction.
Mobile access is becoming increasingly popular and can help common combat practice management challenges, including patient engagement, patient satisfaction, and the quality of patient data and clinical decision-making. Developing a mobile app allows providers can document information in real-time and send sure messages to their patients and staff. It also lets patients their records and data on the go.
What about overtreatment?
Thanks to the availability of information online, patients are changing the dynamic of interaction with their health care providers. This causes a set of unique challenges — both good and bad. Patients care about their health, but sometimes at the cost of unnecessary treatment.
How do I get my patients to follow through on treatment?
Affordability and patient compliance are other significant issues for practice management. If the treatment prescribed is too expensive, many patients won’t follow through, deciding not to fill their prescriptions or stretch an existing supply.
From supplies to IT, we also face challenges in operations.
How do I keep good relationships with vendors?
You rely on vendors for everything from medical needs to basic hygiene supplies. Maintaining good relationships and contracts with vendors is key to your practice’s success.
What information technology do I need?
From electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) systems to billing and scheduling needs, you need someone to help you maintain your IT needs and ensure proper security.
How do I address increasing operation costs?
Operating costs are rising. Conducting a yearly audit of expenses can help you determine where you might be able to cut costs in the future. For example, ordering supplies in bulk can be financially draining if you regularly don’t use all of them. Some vendors will deliver supplies daily to avoid excess waste.
About Verdi Oncology
How do you start facing these challenges and get back to treating your patients? These are just the beginning of a lengthy list of day-to-day challenges within physician practice management. Reaching out to an oncology practice management company will help you with the non-medical aspects of running your practice.
Verdi Oncology works specifically with oncology practices to help you with everything from human resources to vendor contracts so that you can focus on patient care. Contact us to learn how we can help take your medical oncology practice to the next level.