3 ways to fall victim of the false economy trap when growing your practice

1) Failing to plan for growth.

In the beginning, there’s a temptation to want to keep all costs down – or to ‘boot’strap’ it. You reckon that you’ll sort that administrative ‘tidiness’ once you have the need for it, or have enough patient ‘bums on seats’. The trouble is, literally trying to do all your admin yourself is a big time suck – time you should be spending on seeing another patient.

If there isn’t ‘another patient’ to be seen, you need to invest that hour or two in connecting with / meeting with potential referrers. ‘Doing admin’ is a great way to hide from going out and networking, because somehow it seems like you’re ‘saving’ money. Big mistake. Only you can drive your practice growth, so outsource everything you can, from the outset. Your hourly clinic rate will easily cover the expense of outsourced dictation transcription.

Spend your time meeting with clinicians, visiting GPs and getting new referrals, not figuring out how to correct that font formatting.

2) Failing to have a voice at the end of the phone.

It’s a funny thing, but patients really like connecting with human beings and not voicemail when they ring to book an appointment.

If you’re starting out in practice, you may have tried the ‘I’ll phone them back in between patients’ method. At best, this leads to an interesting game of answerphone tennis, but usually it leads to a patient simply connecting with another clinician elsewhere.

Also, don’t kid yourself that it’s OK if someone else can take a message for you, and you’ll phone the patient back to set up the appointment. It’s not, it’s naff. They’ll be long gone by then when they figure you’re not interested enough in their well-being, or professional enough to pay for someone who can answer phones and manage your diary.

3) Fudging together a cheap system for notes and appointments, when you should be using a practice management software system.

Picture the scene: You’re a neurosurgeon who also works in the NHS, and you need to plan imaging appointments, follow ups, and an operation to take out that cauliflower thingy growing in the patient’s thoracic spine.

Mid-clinic appointment, you realise you can’t put your hands on the MRI report / letter from the anaesthetist about the patient’s wobbly ticker / theatre availability list. (Again).

Result? The Patient loses confidence in your practice because they fear your admin chaos will be reflected in your ability to take care of them in theatre.

Yep. They really do think that way. Wouldn’t you?

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