In our previous blog post, How to run your practice as a small business: Part 1, we covered 3 business tips to consider when running your own medical practice.
In this post we will look at:
- How to market your business within the healthcare industry
- The importance of having clear policies and procedures in place
- Why staff satisfaction is vital for running a business
Tip 1: Consistently market your practice
If you view your practice as a business you will realise that, like any business, you need to keep marketing yourself in order to get more patients, scale your practice and become more profitable.
It is important to note that when it comes to healthcare marketing, policies may differ depending on the country you are based in. The Health Professionals Council of South Africa’s advertising guidelines, states:
- Do not draw attention to personal qualities, superior knowledge, quality of service, professional guarantees or best practice as this could be construed as canvassing patients.
- Do not draw attention to one’s offers, guarantees or material benefits, not falling within the categories of professional services or items.
- Graphics and anatomical structures or a photograph of a medical practitioner on websites are permissible provided that it is not indecent, deceptive, misleading or bring the profession into disrepute.
- Avoid using phrases like “conditions apply” – such conditions must be specifically indicated.
- Do not advertise the practice’s tariffs to the public at large. You may put up a notice in the practice to inform your own patients of the tariffs.
The following information may appear on adverts, letterheads, account forms and electronic stationery (websites included):
- practitioner’s name;
- registered category;
- speciality or sub-speciality or field of professional practice (if any);
- registered qualifications or other academic qualifications or honorary degrees in abbreviated form;
- registration number;
- addresses (including email address);
- telephone and fax numbers;
- practice or consultation hours;
- practice code number;
- dispensing licence number (if any)
A few ways to market your practice:
- Email your patients and community monthly about health news and updates about your practice.
- Create targeted adverts on social media
- Create a website to advertise your services, engage with potential customers and broaden your reach
- Place an advert about your practice in the local community newsletter or newspaper
There are many other ways to market your practice as a medical practice, as long as you abide by the above mentioned advertising guidelines.
Tip 2: Be compliant and have procedures & policies in place
Ensure that you have complied with the correct legal and regulatory bodies. Practice productivity can be slowed down by cutting corners and the red tape which ensues.
Establishing relevant, current and legal procedures when running your practice is important; procedures which will cover all operations including admin, claims and patient satisfaction. Review these every quarter to ensure you are keeping in line with industry trends and to ensure that you are still running a thriving small business. If not, iterate and adjust.
One such important policy is a financial policy:
A financial policy will allow you to set the tone for money conversations with patients. The policy will tell patients:
- What they must pay
- When they must pay
- How you bill
An effective financial policy is:
- In writing
- A simple text or graphic
- No more than one page long
- Very clear
- Given to every new patient on their first visit
- Given to existing patients when first implemented and again once a year after that
Tip 3: Invest in employee satisfaction
Satisfied employees are productive employees. By ensuring that you have clear objectives for employees, and ensuring that employees have the required skills to achieve the set objectives, you are investing in a productive practice.
Ways to increase staff satisfaction:
- Ensure employee recognition:
Implementing rewards such as ‘employee of the month’, giving gift cards or certificates can be helpful in boosting morale and motivating employees.
- Review job duties:
Ensure that your employees are constantly acquiring new skills in order to excel at their job. Challenge your employees but do not overwhelm them.
- Cultivate a positive work culture:
Use positive re- enforcement and encourage social interactions. It has been proven that people who feel like they are part of a team perform better at work.
Another important fact to note is that a high staff turnover often has high costs, because you need to invest in the resources to train someone new, and in turn productivity and practice efficiency may take a knock. Therefore, it is wise to view staff satisfaction as a business investment, because it is.
There are many ways to ensure your practice runs as a thriving business, and in this 2 Part series, we have only covered a few vital steps. Running a business may seem daunting, but once you have implemented the basic proven methods of success, you are on your way to business success!
At Healthbridge, our commitment to the business of your practice frees you up to focus on your patients. If you are starting a practice or would like a complimentary assessment of your practice’s current processes please feel free to contact us. Alternatively, visit our homepage to find out more