Every medical practitioner who has set up their own practice has experienced the burden of escalating paperwork and admin. In the beginning, it’s usually taken as an encouraging sign – your business is growing, you have more clients whose patient notes need managing and payments collecting. This is great news, despite the operational tasks that fall out of your success; more complex tax returns, managing a packed diary and taking on extra staff.
But there comes a point where the admin starts to take over, eating into your private life, impacting your family and leaving you feeling overwhelmed. Leave it too long and you’re heading for burnout.
The struggle lies in knowing when something needs to change and the kind of tools that can help you better manage the business side of your practice. No business owner wants to spend unnecessarily on software or other tools – but there comes a time when these tools are absolutely necessary if you are to drive the business forward.
Here are five signs that your clinical practice needs the support of a better business management solution in order for it to grow to the next level of success.
1. You feel you need more time to create brilliant care plans for your patients
You have big ideas for how to offer your patients the best possible level of care. You want to create plans that make a real difference to their treatment, rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance of their individual conditions. The problem is, everyday operational tasks keep getting in the way.
This frustration is common when a practice starts to outgrow its current business management processes. It’s actually a very positive moment in the story of your practice because it means it’s hit a certain level of success. It also means you have quite a narrow window in which to act if you are to maintain your growth trajectory.
You need to alleviate the operational burden of your practice in order to give yourself the freedom and time to put those brilliant ideas of yours into action. You’ve achieved as much success as you can with the system you have. But your practice is fundamentally different today from how it was when you started. Tomorrow’s success is going to require something else.
2. You feel you’re unable to tackle known issues in your business because you simply don’t have the time
There are many issues that, although small to start with, can eventually lead to major disruption in your practice if they are not tackled early enough.
If you’re constantly fire-fighting and don’t have the time to fix small issues before they turn into big problems, you have a bigger problem than you realise.
You need time. If your admin is taking up all your time, you need a new admin tool – because your focus should always be on your patients.
3. You are often picking up admin tasks during evenings and weekends and feel stressed by the burden
If you are stressed and tired, with no time for leisure activities or for your family, you are not going to give your patients the best of yourself.
Being extremely busy does not necessarily mean you’re working at your most efficient or productive. It’s time to work smarter if your business is to thrive. It will also make your life much more enjoyable.
4. Your processes haven’t changed. You’re now managing 200 patients with the same spreadsheets you used to manage 20
Very small-scale businesses in start-up mode have a very specific set of needs, largely centred around economy. Once a business grows beyond a certain point, those needs change. What once looked like a wise cost-saving option can become a labour-intensive burden that costs you far more than you realise.
Doggedly sticking with a system simply because it was once the right one for you is short-sighted at best and can, in the worst cases, actually lose you business. You need a system that fits your business today, that helps you, rather than hinders you, and that can grow as your business grows.
5. You find yourself thinking ‘I didn’t sign up for this. This is not the practice I had in mind’
What was your vision when you started out? How far away is your reality from that vision?
If you’re feeling disconnected from your original goals, it’s highly likely that you’re finding yourself embroiled in tasks you have no desire to complete.
You invested years of your life and lots of money into your training to become a physical practitioner – not a business person. Helping people is what you want to be doing and in order to get back to that core reason for starting your practice in the first place you need to create a better balance in your day.
The great news is that if you update your practice management solution, you create time for yourself to re-engage with your vision. This can fire up a positive cycle of change as you document your goals, communicate it to your teams and together create the practice you always wanted.
Knowing what a great practice management solution looks like
If you’ve identified that you need to update the system you use to manage your practice you’re already on the path to creating a more successful business. There are many options out there now, one of which will be perfect for you.
Ideally, you want to look for a solution that offers a combination of great software tools, support, training and business advice. You’re a medical professional, not a business expert. The best practice management solutions will support the business side of your practice fully but will also provide a secure, integrated electronic patient record function too.
Ultimately you need a solution that allows you to stop spending so much time on paperwork and gets you back in the clinic, helping your patients. You want to provide a consistently outstanding level of care that encourages repeat visits and long-term care plans that optimise patient wellbeing. That is precisely what the best practice management solutions are designed to help you achieve.