2017 was a year characterised by bold headlines internationally and within South Africa. From the tragedy at Life Esidimeni care facility, to the country being downgraded to junk by top Ratings Agencies, and the allegations of corruption within government and private sector.
These events can render us powerless as the public, but it would be a loss if we harvested no lessons from these events, because as we have seen, what occurs on a macro level also affects the micro; therefore, it also affects you, as a practice and business owner. We’ve rounded up some lessons from the events of 2017, and gathered some insights to help you create a successful practice in 2018.
Economy level experiences also affect small business owners
South Africa was downgraded by Ratings Agencies last year; an unfortunate economic setback. We’ve written an article, here, on how being downgraded affects you as a practice owner. So, how can you ensure that your practice remains financially healthy under this economic climate?
- Use technology as a cheaper alternative to supplier delivery
Reduce potential supplier costs by automating business processes.
By automating certain tasks, you can reduce the number of human resources required to perform that particular task. For example, you can automate reconciliations, as opposed to hiring someone to spend hours performing reconciliations. We have found that automation can reduce reconciliation time of 100 claims from 2 hours to 10 minutes, depending on the number of reconciliations!
- Create an emergency fund
For a healthy business cash flow, it is wise to keep some money tucked away for a rainy day. An emergency fund should be at least 6 months’ worth of all your business expenses.
Patient neglect has placed healthcare professionals under scrutiny
The Life Esidimeni tragedy woke the nation up to the necessity for transparency and accountability by all healthcare professionals. There are many lessons to harvest from this unfortunate event.
- Always put the patient first
This is something you already know, but in light of recent events, it is worth repeating.
- Regularly assess patient needs
- Ask for feedback from your staff about how you can improve patient care in the practice
- Ask for feedback from your patients as well
- Ensure that you are committed to continually listening to your patients and improving patient care
Be transparent and accountable
Ensure that your operations are transparent. One way to do this is to invest in automating benefit checks, so that patients can see in real time, before their consult, what they are covered for and how much they need to pay.
- Build trust and loyalty
Do not leave communication with patients to the consultation. Show that you care by ensuring that you send follow up SMSes and appointment reminders, these can be automated to save you time. This nurtures the relationship and may build a sense of loyalty and trust for your practice.
- Corruption, or the perception of, has made stakeholders cautious of what they invest in
As a result of the corruption allegations at state level and within the private sector, the public at large are now more cautious about whom they choose to invest their money and time in. As a business owner, leader and healthcare professional, it is important to put patients at ease and to implement credible tools.
- Documentation as a form of accountability
Reduce clinical and billing errors by making electronic clinical notes during the consultation. This ensures accountability from yourself and staff, should the need arise to pull up patient history or billing information. The myMPS Dr App allows you make electronic notes onto existing templates by logging onto any tablet.
- Bill efficiently and transparently
These clinical notes can be sent to your staff. This creates transparency because the notes are taken with the client present in the rooms, and the patient can then be billed in real time therefore motivating the reason for payment.
As you set goals for the New Year, take the events of 2017 and turn them into valuable lessons. Keep yourself updated about the economic state of the country, and figure out how it affects you as a small business owner, and then implement the necessary changes. Ensure that the patient always comes first and that your practice fosters transparency and accountability. Happy 2018!