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conciergemedicine

Avoid the Pitfalls of building a Concierge Medical Practice

Are you considering transforming your medical practice into a concierge medical practice? If so, than there are a few do’s and don’t’s that can make the difference between success and failure.

The average family doctors see about 4,000 patients in their practice which leads very little time for one-on-one interaction with the patient. In order to have a successful concierge practice, you have to change your large insurance-based practice into a more patient-centric practice by reducing the size of your patient load so can provide a higher quality of care.

Starting a new concierge practice is not easy. There are many doctors who do it successfully while others have failed miserably. If you do it properly, you can reap the benefits of receiving higher pay, quality care with patients, and the overall rewarding experience of receiving cash for your time rather than the paper chase and denials of insurance-based practices.

Do: start with a business plan

It is completely astonishing that most small businesses lack a business plan that is relevant to their business services and produces as well as their position in the market place. A business plan is a road map to show you how to price points, service offerings and overall how to reach your goals. The best way to shape the future of your new business is to begin with a business plan that outlines how your concierge medicine practice will be structured. If you are planning to get financing to open your new office, a business plan is required to show the lender your financial viability to qualify for a loan. Your business plan should include information about your patient load, revenue streams, staffing requirements, and recruitment efforts to keep patient load at a sufficient level to support your business.

Don’t: use a ‘boilerplate’ business plan

There are sample business plans available online that you can purchase, and while these can be a great resource as a starting point to let you know the types of things to include in your plan, they should be treated as just an outline. If you copy and paste the information directly from the sample plan without customizing it for your area, the estimates about revenue, patient load, and other information will range from being either slightly wrong to wildly inaccurate, which can affect your success in the future. Spend the necessary time to customize your plan to fit the needs of the market and to position yourself in a more strategic place than your competitors.

Do: educate your patients of your new practice

Most patients today are very familiar with a traditional model for primary care doctor’s offices, and some may have never heard of a concierge doctor before. Change is hard for everyone, but you can ease the transition for your patients by communicating with them about your plans to become a concierge physician, and helping them understand what that means for them. If you surprise your patients one day without any advance notice or education about what a concierge physician is and why it’s beneficial, you may not be able to keep those patients in your new practice.

Don’t: assume your patients know what your new practice will be like, spell it out for them in your marketing materials

As a physician, you are very familiar with different types of practices and different models, and you know the advantages and disadvantages. Patients, on the other hand, are not familiar with all this information, and it is your job to educate them on why you are choosing to become a private physician, and how it will benefit them. If you’re not sure about the best way to reach out to your patients and help educate them, consider hiring a marketing consultant to help.

Do: hire the right team – hire slowly & fire quickly

Your new concierge medicine practice will require the support and help of a great team, including your staff, an accountant who understands concierge medicine practice models, an attorney, and a healthcare consultant with experience setting up and running patient-centric businesses. Every single employee from manager to operator needs to be on board with your patient-centric business model and culture. If one employee is not, then don’t waste your time. Fire them.

Don’t: hire a consultant with the wrong experience

There are a lot of healthcare consultants who can help you convert your practice to concierge medicine, but you want to be sure to hire one that has experience working with patients that fit your demographics, and not one that tries to make your practice fit into a “one-size-fits-all” model. I have noticed the greatest benefit that a consultant can have when being hired for a concierge medical practice is experience in developing a menu of cash services. You do not want the practice management consultant who only has experience in insurance-based medical practice business models. These two models are tremendously different. One model treats patients as if they are a number and the time the doctor spends with the patient is very limited. The other model is based on a patient-centric model whereby each contact with the patient ensures a positive experience.

Do: review your practice regularly

Constant gauging and auditing your progress is a necessary task that will show you if you are meeting your goals. Set a schedule to review your practice at least once a year to ensure that you are meeting your goals, and find areas where you can improve. You can do this on your own, or with the help of a consultant, to make sure that your practice is thriving for years to come.

Sometimes change can be scary, but both patients and physicians often appreciate the improved care that comes with a concierge practice.

 

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Top Five EHR and Practice Management for Medical Practices

 The Mechanics of Keeping Your Patients Part 2

Running a profitable medical office requires keeping on top of key metrics such as accounts receivable ratios and net collection percentages. However, you have to look beyond those numbers to stay in the black, experts say. Successful practices prioritize teamwork and ensure that everyone on staff knows their role in the revenue cycle and that includes implementing an integrated practice management and EHR software system that best-suits your practice.

For a medical practice, EHR may be important — but practice management is essential. According to KLAS ratings, the top five practice management software systems are as follows:

    • 1. – Epic has become the default system of choice for hospitals, particularly larger hospitals. As a system designed for large enterprises, it is not even an option for small medical practices. While customers may choose Epic as much for its reputation and the breadth of its suite as for any single piece of software, the KLAS rating shows they are also happy with the practice management functionality, which actually reflects the performance of multiple products
  •  2. – Aethenahealth: Aethenahealth rates #1 for practices of fewer than 75 physicians. While most practice management software vendors offer some version of their product as a cloud service, Athenahealth is the one most insistent on sticking exclusively to a cloud model. Just as significantly, the AthenaCollector software is inextricably linked to the company’s business services. One major strength of Aethenahealth is that it can see where in the workflow employees are getting hung up, or how long it takes a patient to get checked in or checked out for a visit.
  •  3. – eClinicalWorks: Ranking in the KLAS survey as one of the top practice management systems for practices of all sizes, eClinicalWorks is second only to Epic for practices with more than 75 physicians. eClinicalWorks boats that it’s clients currently experience a 98% first-pass acceptance rate (claims paid on first submission).
  •  4. – NextGen Healthcare is another of the top-ranked practice management systems in the KLAS survey across practices of all sizes. NextGen offers a revenue cycle management service, although so far fewer than 5% of customers take advantage of it. The software’s ability to track the work that needs to be done to process claims and secure payments are among NextGen’s strongest features. While often overshadowed by EHR hype, practice management is really the core of the system.
  •  5. – McKesson shows up in the KLAS rankings for two products, Practice Plus, one of the favorites for practices of 75 or more doctors, and Practice Partner for smaller practices. McKesson prodcuts are distinguished by their ability to adapt to individual locations, so it’s not cookie cutter, and adjust software workflow to the way a practice functions.

warkprofileprofessionalPractice management software is just one component of helping keep medical offices running smoothly. Technology systems are not the only systems that need to be adopted in your practice. Before you decide a system that fits your practice, you need to have a full grasp of every function in your practice. For example:

  • What happens when a new patient contacts you?
  • What actions happen when you sign on a new patient?
  • What steps do you follow to deliver your healthcare services?
  • What tasks need to be completed when you complete a project?
  • How do you run your back office and administrative affairs?
  • What roles and responsibilities do any team members (employees, subcontractors, etc.) have and what steps do they follow to meet those duties?
  • What does your schedule look like? What constitutes “open for business hours” and “closed for business” time?
  • What are your policies and procedures for working with patients? (Think: patient forms and arbitration agreements.)
  • What are your billing and payment policies and procedures?

The above components are all a part of creating standard operating procedures and policies to adhere to at every level of your practice. If you need help with designing your operations in a way to help your practice runs efficiently, please give us a call. It’s time to start running your medical practice like a very successful business.  Call us today at 702-682-8300.

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The Importance of an Infrastructure in a Medical Practice

The Mechanics of Keeping Your Patients Part 1

Operating a private healthcare practice in today’s environment presents many challenges. Shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, rising business costs, can all feel like barriers to success. Over the last few years, there has been a shift towards attracting private pay patients with the advent of Concierge Medicine, MediSpas, and various complementing services that doctors are pushing in their practice to increase revenue.

What does it take to have a successful medical practice today? Most physicians rely on referrals for getting new patients, as their marketing budget is limited to social media channels and patient referrals. But spreading the word about your business without building an infrastructure within the operations is a recipe for mediocrity. What does that mean? It means that without having systems and procedures in place, patients will constantly be falling through the cracks. But the right “point of care tools” can not only save your practice, they can take it to the next level.

Every medical practice or small business for that matter needs a starting place when building out its infrastructure. With the advent of Obamacare, many practice management software systems have been designed to help automate your operating system along with integrating your PM system with Electronic Health Records.

Integrated platforms that are more user friendly, while both comprehensive in their features and functionality, are vital to success in a very competitive medical industry.  But beware, you ultimately will get what you pay for.  Doctors usually are more familiar with their EMR needs and functionality than they are about the needs on the Practice Management side. Keep in mind that while you may be providing high quality care, you may not be able to collect what you’re due if your Practice Management system or Staff doesn’t have the ability to track the right metrics.  You should also consider outsourcing your Billing & Collections as your best bet in getting your receivables paid.

warkprofileprofessionalPractice management software keeps the medical office running smoothly, and the wrong package can wreak havoc with billing, scheduling, and other essential business processes. A closer look at KLAS’ top-ranked systems will help you choose the one that best fits your practice. Next week we will cover the top five Practice Management software systems for medical practices.

 

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Higher Hires – Practice Management

Hiring the right people should seem like it’s more than blind luck. Every business owner would love a greater sense of certainty that the person they think will be a perfect fit, will be exactly that. But every owner has experienced the frustration of dealing with bad employees, and in turn has made solemn promises to themselves that they will never make the same mistake again. There are ways that you can help keep those promises and it may start with breaking a few of old hiring habits.

Nepotism is a two edged sword.

One of the most satisfying accomplishments is successfully building a business with family members. The ability to employ immediate members of your family, like your children, can be economical during lean times, a common purpose that can be embraced by the entire family, and a great way to continue your enterprise into the future by having your heirs take over the reins. The downside too often outweigh the positives. Nepotism is generally frowned upon because it often places non-family employees at a disadvantage. The temptation of throwing away the employee handbook as it applies to family is too great. This creates tremendous problems for your operation. It instills a sense of entitlement in your employed family members, they never integrate into the workplace team, and they don’t develop valuable workplace skills, experience, and attitude. When family members aren’t performing to the standards set for other employees, it’s a recipe for disaster. Your employees can become resentful, lack productivity and motivation, as well as begin exploring other employment opportunities.

Hiring friends of employees

One of the more convenient ways to find new employees is to ask people around the office if they know anyone that is looking for a job. This is not necessarily a great way to recruit. People who socialize with each other outside of work bring those relationships into the workplace. If things go sour between friends, and we know that they can, then that pollutes the workplace environment.

What you see is what you get

Never make the mistake of thinking that an employee is going to become a different person once they start working for you. If you see that a prospective employee is lacking in a certain area then plan on having that weakness present in the workplace. A person with a bad attitude or poor social skills will not improve because you hired them. A person who lacks the ability to comprehend or learn your desired specialized skills will not become proficient in those skills because they have a great personality. There is the right employee out there. Don’t settle for less. Finding the right people for your practice and getting the best out of them is vital for the success of your practice. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need assistance at 702.682.8300.

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We take great pride in hiring the right people for your practice. Set up a consultation with Lisa Marie Wark and she can create your road map for hiring a winning team here in Las Vegas Nevada.

1. Lisa’s Scorecard

What goes on the scorecard?: The candidate’s personal mission and specific goals they will be responsible for.

2. The Importance of Defined Goals

Lisa’s Motto: “To build great behavioral interviewing models, you’ve got to understand what this person is going to be responsible and accountable for.” Defining your candidate’s goals will help you ask the right questions in the interviewing process.

3. Divide Up the Goals in the Interviewing Process

If you have multiple people interviewing a candidate, divvy up your defined goals. Then, build your interviewing plan around that. This will help you identify “A” players when you debrief with your team.

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Take It Personally

Personalizing Your Practice

We have all sat in those marketing meetings where the talk is all about the newest and greatest gadget that will attract new patients, where we have armed ourselves with the storyboard comparing our unique practice to the competition’s. But when all is said and done, the process and strategy of reaching new patients starts with the basics:  Personalizing Your Brand Leads to a Connection 

And the end result of being personable and connecting to prospective patients increases conversions. The graph below shows on average the benefits of a personalized media campaign. As you can see, personalizing your message increases engagement and conversions.

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In order to start a conversation with a prospective patient you need to define who you are. Are you the cosmetic high-end dentist? Are you the family eye doctor? Do you have a fixed menu of services or is pricing not discussed with the healthcare provider? When prospective patients see your practice, what comes to mind? Now that you have defined what you think you are…you need to personalize your brand to your prospective patients. Defining who you are and being disciplined in conveying that to patients sounds elementary, but you would be surprised how quickly you can stray from your brand and confuse your patients.

 

When you Personalize your Brand, you are Connecting to Patients

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Remember after you ask a question, you need to listen. One company that has been effective and very successful in listening to its customers is Starbucks. Although they stumbled badly last week with their “Race Together” initiative they heard their customers and did a quick about-face and discontinued it yesterday. In a company where the “experience” compensates for the high prices, it is in Starbucks’ best interest to receive feedback directly from BrandsFocusingPersStrat_61-74_infographicthe customers themselves. Starbucks has created a consumer portal, “My Starbucks Idea” where employees discuss ideas that are being implemented while responding to other suggestions.

Another company that has seen tremendous success in personalizing their brand is Southwest Airlines. Southwest has effectively used social media to show what makes them unique and uses social media activity and community engagement to highlight their uniqueness. From promoting a viral video of a rapping flight attendant on YouTube to informing customers of delayed flights, Southwest has successfully created a personable image that conveys a friendly, unique, and intimate brand to its loyal flyers. In fact, a customer on a flight randomly filmed their experience that was posted and quickly went viral. Southwest executives thought it was fun as well, and looked at it as a great branding opportunity, and promoted it on all its social media channels. Since the video was published, it has been on major television networks, talk shows, and news networks.

warkprofileprofessionalIt’s never too late to define, empower, and personalize your brand. Whether you have been around for twenty years or are just opening your doors, defining who you are in the marketplace is essential in attracting and retaining prospective patients. Then, remember to follow-through by meeting and exceeding patients’ expectations.

Call me directly at 702-374-1944 and let’s start branding your business today.

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Accountability Counts in Building Your Brand

 

One of the great privileges that I have had over the last several years is too serve as the Public Member on the Nevada Board of Dental Examiners , and nationally, on The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA). Both boards serve the dental profession as essential professional institutions of accountability and quality control. Last week I was nominated by the CDCA to be the Chairman of the Public Advocacy Committee, with responsibilities to help communicate to other public members in other states about their roles in observing licensing examinations.

A Public member exists on every state dental board as a voice to represent the perspective of those not employed in the profession. Until I was appointed by the Governor of Nevada almost seven years ago, the closest I ever got to the dental profession was a good teeth cleaning every so often. But that is the whole idea of having a public member; somebody who can be part of the process, offering feedback and participating in the process of making dentistry an important partner in the health and welfare of the citizens of Nevada.

Dentists are highly schooled, highly trained medical professionals who, by virtue of the requirements of their state licensing, must hold themselves accountable to their peers and the public. As someone who has spent all of her adult life in the entrepreneurial environment of small business, I can’t tell you how strange it would be to go to work every day knowing that if I made a mistake or wasn’t up to par, I would have to answer to my peers or even my customers.

An added benefit of licensing often escapes medical professionals – the power of branding. Licensing creates an official quantifiable benchmark that is recognized by both peers and the public. There is also the added opportunity for many physicians to become board certified in specialized areas. This presents a powerful branding opportunity not available to other businesses. But medical professionals are slow to grasp the marketing advantage that they have even within their own specialties.

The digital world has given consumers an even easier opportunity to seek out the medical professionals that they will patronize. They are making their decisions based on what people are saying in their social media posts, but also what practices are saying about themselves. You have worked hard to be licensed, achieve certifications, and elevate the reputation of your practice. Don’t make it a secret! The wide world out there wants to know why you are “better” than the competition. They are going to make their choices predicated on what you are willing to tell them.

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Building your brand is not about bragging, but it’s not about false modesty. No doubt you have spent much treasure, time, and perspiration on licensing and certifications. Consumers care about that, and now expect you to tell them about that.

Have you created ways to hold yourself accountable, in order to improve yourself professionally? I would appreciate hearing about it. You can email me at lmwark@gmail.com. Talk to an experienced marketing professional as to the best way to brand “your best foot forward”. Folks outside your doors are potential patients, clients, and customers waiting to find out if it’s worth coming in.

 

 

 

 

 

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One Simple Rule

the-golden-rule-obsWhen I mentioned practicing “The Golden Rule” in the work place in a blog last September I really didn’t expect the reaction from folks that I received. It was included almost as an afterthought in a blog that began with a reference about the foul actions of footballer Ray Rice in the assault of his then fiancé in an elevator. But readers questioned whether it was too idealistic to expect The Golden Rule to be an effective office ethic. I understand that we are all scarred by a lifetime of laboring in inconsiderate, cutthroat, dysfunctional office environments. I also know that most of us have glimpsed a little slice of utopia on those rare occasions when everyone in the building seems deferential with each other and pulling in the same direction.

As an owner/boss/manager you can create more than a few rare occasions of Golden Rule bliss with a couple of basic rules. Which reminds me, I’m honored to be speaking at this year’s Vegas Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetic Dermatology Symposium  on June 19th, on the topic of “How the Golden Rule should be part of your employee handbook”. So here is a short sneak preview what you will hear.

  1. Make sure you have rules of conduct that everyone understands. If you don’t have them, create them immediately, make them retroactive and make everyone, including yourself, sign on to them. Granted, even if you have the gold and make the rules, the Golden Rule is not a set of laws, but an internalized belief in how an individual should relate to others. The least you can do is create boundaries for everyone including a fair, accountable review process, so you can weed out the team killers expeditiously.

 

If your employees haven’t quite mastered the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, then at least they can be held accountable for how they outwardly treat each other in the workplace.

 

  1. We are in a fairly loose labor market. You have a lot more choices than you had just a few years ago. Be picky about who you hire. Dig a little deeper with a prospective employee. Besides the requisite skills and experience, are they empathetic or encouraging? Are they ambitious without a corresponding degree of courtesy and thoughtfulness? I know that this might seem a bit gooey, but it sure beats the pit of vipers in which many offices quickly devolve. Golden Rule employees have a way of developing these same qualities in those around them.

warkprofileprofessionalFor example, the employee who takes a moment and thanks or encourages a colleague sets the stage for reciprocity from that colleague. Even if employees haven’t really internalized a Golden Rule belief, they will quickly emulate the actions and words associated with the Rule as the most desired and acceptable behavior for the workplace.

Now, don’t go thinking that you need to replace your personnel director with a cleric. The Golden Rule is a common sense tenant to guide your business and those you employ.

Do you have any success stories about how the Golden Rule has transformed your business? I would appreciate hearing about them. Drop me a line at lmwark@gmail.com.

 

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Did I just throw my marketing dollars down a digital black hole?

What am I paying for? It’s usually the question that you ask after you write the check. That’s not a good thing.

Return on Investment (ROI) shouldn’t be a mystery, but when it comes to the return on marketing dollars, to paraphrase Churchill, ”It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Every business markets itself, and most will market across multiple channels. Radio, television, and print sales folks will tell you what the latest ratings are, extrapolate a rough number of viewers/listeners/readers, and then spur your imagination with a vision of throngs of people clamoring for your products and services. After this first adventure in media buying, most owners are filled with hope. And then you wait and wait for those mythical throngs. And the second guessing begins.

In the digital age, the mystery of marketing ROI deepens. An increasing number of consumers depend on digital marketing to make most of their decisions. This has created a dramatic movement of marketing dollars from traditional media to digital media. So why is it so difficult to quantify the ROI. Duke University’s CMO Survey of the top businesses in the country last fall revealed that 90% utilize digital marketing and social media, 80% percent use primarily for branding, only 15% say that they can actually quantify ROI.

roi-funnelBranding is hugely important but most business owners want to cut to chase. See the commercial. Jump in the car. Buy stuff. Busy humans aren’t wired that way. They want to be reminded continually in a digital language that they understand and talk to others about their buying decisions. You can certainly track the last click that goes to your website or calls from the smart phone, but what about the first click? When was the first time they heard about you, or did they just make their decision based on a person-to-person recommendation? Even the best digital marketers in the country can’t quite figure the mystery out.

 

warkprofileprofessionalBefore we throw up our hands and surrender to the Unknowable, let’s try a few things to put your mind at ease.

  1. Find out why your customers are patronizing your business. Chances are you thought that information was being collected through a short customer survey by the nice person at your front desk. Check it out. Maybe you need to reevaluate the ROI from your personnel dollars! If you can get the customer info, you are much closer to solving the marketing dollars mystery.
  2. Turn your customers into a sales force. Give them ways that they can share their good news with their friends like special invites, a short video testimonial, some free stuff, etc. You will increase your sales and create a sales conduit that you can easily track for ROI.
  3. Look at utilizing a good Customer Relationship Management System. It will help you organize and track all of the touches between you, your customers, and potential customers.
  4. Make sure you have a digital marketing plan pay attention to it.
  5. Hire a knowledgeable digital marketing person you can trust to help you make prudent marketing decisions.

You now have taken the first steps in solving the mystery. Call us to help ensure your journey at 702-682-8300.

 

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Business Development Consultancy Firms Plan your Business Growth

When starting a new business, there is a lot more to do and a lot more to consider apart from laying the down the foundation. A good business plan along with effective marketing strategies, financing options and many more components are required to grow your business.

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Therefore, to make the endeavor successful, it is helpful to seek assistance from a reputuable business development consultant. Lisa Marie Wark, MBA has had first-hand experience in starting up her own businesses along with consulting with many different medical practices in practice development and management.

Consultants have vast knowledge of the business realm. From client development to investors to other business strategies, they have vast resources and knowledge in every field. They formulate plans to boost your business productivity and assist in each development stage in the journey of executing a successful business plan.

For a business to succeed in today’s techno-savvy era, hitting the spotlight, both in the real world and the cyberspace are very important. Consultancy firms are aware of this fact thus, they look after every Internet-related task of your business carefully. Whether it is about your brand name or the design of your logo, they make sure that the impact of every component of your strategic business plan is strong and long-lasting.

Call us today if you would like to discuss the different business strategies to help your organization reach the next level of success at 702-682-8300.


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