If you are spending more than 5 hours a week managing your Pediatric Practice as a physician owner/partner, then you should evaluate simplification techniques. How do processes move from simple to complicated? Usually it is a function of a process that has added features and needs with minimal looks at re-design. Redesign changes to a process shift a practice toward simplification and do not happen with a one-time change (there needs to be multiple small changes). An owner and/or operations lead of a Pediatric practice need to make incremental changes each week. Some suggestions on how to move your Pediatric Practice to optimal simplification include:
• Once a year, make a list of all the items that you spend time managing outside of Patient interactions (recommend spend 30-40 minutes to gain some depth without moving too granular). Identify how much time per month you spend on each item.
• Place each of the items in the list into different categories (Employee, physicians, marketing, Managed Care, finance, supplies, facilities, etc.).
• Rank the categories and the priorities that ‘matter’ most to the practice (e.g. which items increase revenue and reduce work load).
• Highlight the items that consume more than two hours per month and do not significantly increase revenue (a good question: would I pay someone $100/hour to manage this activity? If the answer is no, look to move off or eliminate from your work stream).
• Allow a week to pass then spend an hour (uninterrupted), to ask some basic questions: Do I need to service my processes (e.g. do you need to use your time to manage billers, IT personnel, back-ups)? What is the level of training and expertise of my practice personal? How do they benchmark in skills and performance versus the industry standards as billers and practice admin personnel? Do I have the skills/training to educate and assess them in the admin areas?
• Wait another week and evaluate 2-3 Pediatric Specialty Billing Companies – ask what is there collection rate? What is the range in increase revenue for Pediatric Practices that switch to their system? What support personnel will you as a Pediatric Office need if you leverage their resources?
A word of caution, this is a task that cannot be delegated to another staff member due to conflict of interest (e.g. billing team concern that the new process will show more productive to the practice – this was not ‘their issue’ probably just a system/process and/or training issue). Simplification, if done correctly, will provide the Pediatric partners with more income, less work and less stress.