Getting started is harder – expansion is, too!
Those who have faced the challenge of starting a medical practice — funding, location, staffing, insurance, and building a reputation — might think expanding a practice is relatively easy.
In fact, expansion is every bit as challenging. Most well-established practices understand the need for growth and want to grow, but may be unsure about the best way forward. Should they add providers? Additional locations? Some of each? And how to do so?
And as they ponder those questions, an equally critical reality faces them each day — the need to tend to the needs of existing patients!
Take time to think it over
Before you take even that first step toward expansion, it is best to gather the stakeholders in your practice and do some serious thinking. Evaluating your capabilities, needs, and options can save time and money — and help ensure your time and effort are wisely spent.
First, what kind of expansion?
Some organizations simply replicate what is already working, but on a larger scale, adding providers, services, and locations as needed.
But that approach may not be the best or most cost-effective approach for your organization. There are many ways to meet the demand for additional healthcare services, and not all of them require investing in additional staff, equipment, or locations.
One: Increase use of existing tools
eClinicalWorks superuser practices such as South Dakota’s Brown Clinic use practically every aspect of their EHR, including Population Health tools that have enabled them to handle increasing numbers of patients with chronic medical conditions without adding locations and with only a small investment in personnel.
Florida’s MMR Healthcare has used existing tools — including the Patient Portal, HEDIS® analytics, Chronic Care Management, and Transition Care Management — to improve their understanding and care of their patients.
Two: Speeding your workflows
Another proven method of handling growth is streamlining workflows so you can see more patients — without sacrificing quality.
Three: Keeping an eye on your reputation
Savvy practices regularly review social media profiles and read patient reviews. The impact of social media is more powerful than ever. Your practice may have good reviews, but even a few bad ones can discourage potential patients from choosing to receive care from you.
Before considering expansion, practices must attend to negative reviews. Those reviews may be unfair, even untrue, but since potential patients have no way of knowing that, actively managing your online reputation is critical.
Make the most of what you have
Before considering new monetary investments in your practice, invest the time to develop the value of your existing resources more fully. Very often, additional training, optimizing workflows, and turning on some of the powerful tools already contained in your EHR can help you expand the scope of your practice without spending a lot of money.
Still unsure where to begin? Give us a call today! eClinicalWorks is much more than an EHR vendor. Our goal is to remain a comprehensive healthcare IT partner for your practice, helping guide your growth and development for many years to come.