By: Ivan Delman, DC
As the doctor who owns the clinic, you
are the big dog on the porch. You are top management! The buck
is supposed to come to a screeching halt at your desk. You're
the person who must come up with creative,
inspirational, and feasible solutions to practice problems.
It is natural, after several years in practice,
to get "comfortable." This is dangerous, because it
can stall then retrogress the growth of your practice. When your
practice growth starts to slow down, a decision must be made.
As the owner/manager, you have to make a conscious effort to
raise the level of your practice. So, how do you do that? There
are several routines you can institute to get you there. Constantly
question and re-evaluate your practice in all its aspects.
Be aware of what's going on in your office.
This doesn't have to be a formal affair. Just keep a small portion
of your awareness consistently focused on clinic operations during
your normal day (If there is such a
thing as a normal day). As you move around the office, if something
gets your attention, don't
ignore it. Your subconscious is ringing your alarm bell; listen
to it and investigate.
My staff was aware I knew what was going
on in the office which kept them alert and involved. The more
involved they were in office operations, the better their performance.
Periodically step into your staff's shoes.
You may be surprised how well they are doing despite all their
interruptions, including you.
Do this also with your patients and any
one else with whom you deal in your office. Experience what it
is like to be in an exam room for 15 minutes in a flimsy gown,
listening to the staff laughing and having a grand time outside
the door while you tap your bare foot wondering when you'll be
seen by the doctor and wondering what might be wrong with you.
This knowledge will greatly enhance your sensitivity to the needs
of both staff and patients.
Encourage your staff to take notes. Look
at both sides of your operating coin. Have them note both good
and not-so-good patient relations. They should bring these notes
to the weekly meetings so you can work at
repeating the good things and correcting the not-so-good.
Always know the current operating status
of your practice. Plan is NOT a nasty four letter word! How can
you operate your clinic without a plan? How can you plan if you
have no data? As a successful doctor, you already systematically
gather the operating statistics of your practice such as services,
collections, new patients and patient visits. I strongly recommend
this be done on a weekly basis. Instead of looking at a series
of numbers, you will get a better picture of your progress (Or
lack) by turning that jumble of numbers into simple pictures.
I charted our data in line graph form because it is easier to
see trends on a line.
(See Chapter 15, below.)
Your data should be graphed to show the
trends for a week, month, quarter, and the year. We followed
these procedures during the 18+ years we were in practice. By
studying our clinic trends, we were able to predict and correct
problems before they knocked on our clinic door.
Ask yourself. How can I manage "it" unless "it"
can be measured? Surprises are acceptable for a birthday, not
I wish you total success in your chiropractic
Ivan Delman, DC
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