Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Simple Way To Increase Your Productivity And Profitability for a Doctor's clinic - by Dr Aniruddha Malpani

While most doctors have great clinical skills, we often don't learn to manage our practice very well . Even though every clinic is a small business, and every doctor is an entrepreneur who needs to earn a profit in order to provide high-quality medical care to his patients,  we are never taught any business skills. 
This is why we often end up trying to do everything ourselves. We want to be in control of everything, and our medical training teaches us to be the captain of the ship, and to take responsibility for everything we do. We become expert micromanagers, and are very uncomfortable delegating duties to a receptionist or assistant. In fact, most doctors don't even have an administrative assistant, because they feel that they are incompetent. This often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy . Because they are not willing to invest the amount of money needed to get a good secretary or personal assistant , they usually get poorly trained front office staff, who cannot perform the complex tasks needed to run a clinic, which is why the doctor often ends up doing all his administrative duties himself. This is a complete waste of his energy. His precious ( and expensive time) would have been more fruitfully deployed taking care of patients, rather than on doing administrative trivia, such as giving appointments, or collecting his fees - duties which are better assigned to an assistant. 
Because doctors pay peanuts , they get monkeys , and then they feel that an assistant cannot add any value to their life.  Working in a doctor's clinic can be quite a complex job. The hours are long; and there are multiple tasks which need to be accomplished simultaneously , such as answering the phone; assisting the doctor; answering his summons; and trying to pacify patients, who are upset because the doctor is always running late. 
Learning medical jargon is a challenging exercise, especially when  the doctor does not provide any training , and expects the assistant to figure out everything for herself while working on the job. We usually set them up for failure, and when they do fail, we get a chance to complain that the young generation of Indians is lazy and useless, and refuses to work hard. Doctors need to understand that they cannot afford to be penny-pinchers when employing team members for their clinic.
 The only way doctors can improve their profits is by seeing more patients, but they end up being the biggest bottleneck in their own profitability . They hurt themselves by hampering their personal productivity by trying to do everything themselves. They need to increase their efficiency by seeing more patients , and the only way they can do this is by delegating their administrative tasks to an assistant. The rule is that any task which can be done by someone other than the doctor should be done by someone else , because the doctor is the highest paid employee in his clinic. You should concentrate on taking care of your patients , so you don't need to waste your time and energy on doing routine things like giving appointments , or collecting fees. This is something which is far better done by a receptionist , but you need to be willing to pay your receptionist well . 
A good receptionist can add so much value to your life !  Even if you end up seeing just one patient more daily, she will have more than paid for her salary .  Equally importantly, a good receptionist can help to improve the quality of your life as well.  If you do not have to worry about the boring , mundane routine chores of running your clinic , you will have more free  energy and bandwidth , and will be able to devote more time to taking better care of your patients . The person you employ needs to very talented, and you should be willing to pay her what she is worth. Every leading doctor has a great personal assistant, who runs their clinic for them, and they will no tbe able to function without her.
It's not easy being a medical receptionist-cum-personal assistant-cum-secretary-cum telephone operator, and you need to appreciate her efforts. Let's not forget that a major reason patients prefer going to corporate clinics as compared to the traditional family doctor is because they employ better secretarial help. We need to learn from them , and stop treating our staff salaries as an expense - they are really an investment, and often one which is far more cost effective than a new ECG machine! A good secretary can be a huge valuable asset because she is the friendly smiling face of your clinic . Patients are reassured when she picks up the phone and greets them, because she is a familiar figure they can connect with. A good assistant will let you know exactly what's going on in your clinic, and will alert you when a patient is upset or unhappy, so you can take corrective measures. She can pacify patients who are getting restless when you are running late, and can help you to pick up your pace when a patient wants to just sit and chat with you. She can act as a peripheral brain and  alert you to medical problems ( such as an abnormality in a lab report) if you are able to retain her for long enough, because she will learn a lot from you by osmosis. She can help to put you in a good mood by making sure you get your tea on time; and will help to make sure that patients like coming to your clinic , by ensuring that it is kept clean and tidy. A  good secretary is worth her weight in gold, and she can make your life much more fulfilling . She can help you to earn more money by allowing you to reclaim more time for yourself and your patients.

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