I became accustomed to living in gray, both in my worldview and in my professional life. Then I was hired as an independent contractor for a manufacturing company. Working as a quality manager at an environmental manufacturing company helped me to understand why black and white processes and systems are essential for a business. Here is what the manufacturing industry is doing that would revolutionize your practice.
1. Focus on Monitoring and Measuring
My time in manufacturing was littered with management saying, “We think we are x percent accurate” then measuring the actual data and hearing, “Wow! I didn’t realize that was happening!” But data and numbers make most therapists’ eyes glaze over or puts them in a comatose stupor. But change happens in the practice the first questions that are asked are; “how did this happen?”, “what is the long reaching impact going to be?”, “how can this be prevented in the future?”. All good questions! There is a way for practice owners to answer these before change happens.
First, outline the parts of your practice that are important (i.e. revenue, claims processing, website conversions, client retention, etc.). Second, find ways to monitor and measure them with data and numbers. Third, track those parts over time to see what trends are appearing in your practice. Finally, make decisions based on what you are seeing from a data perspective. This will help make good decisions and avoid risks!
2. Focus on Continual Improvement
Another area of my time in manufacturing was dedicated to the idea of continual improvement. Whenever there was a glitch in the processes or when someone made a helpful suggestion, it was my job to think through how we can implement that change across the company.
In private practice, your processes will change as you grow, as politicians are elected, as insurance changes, and as you diversify. Focusing on how you can continually improve yourself, your practice, and your processes will go a long way in creating a better practice. Consider creating a document that helps to track all of your continual improvements over a year and then look back on those to see your progress. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
3. Focus on Risks
The manufacturing world hinges on taking risks. Will this product bring a good ROI? Can this vendor deliver or are they going to jeopardize the company?
Private practice is no different!
The question becomes, how do you manage that risk? How are you monitoring that risk? A good example of this is the recent changes to the psychological testing codes. The APA is adding 13 new codes. This means that insurance will need to create a new fee schedule, determine approved units, and determine a prior authorization process. How are you dealing with that risk if you do testing?
There are a lot of ways to measure risk, but a popular way is the SWOT Assessment. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This matrix can help a practice owner get a visual picture of what factors will, won’t, or might influence the practice. I recommend documenting what those various things may be to better mitigate risk or take necessary risk! Read this article if you want to know more.
There are a lot of ideas out there that can help your practice become the best that it can be. These three ideas of continual improvement, risk, and measuring progress can help your practice perform better. Also, they can help you know your business more intimately. Take some time and see if these principles can help you and your practice. Better practices mean better individuals, families, and communities.
Jeremy grew up in the Pacific Northwest where he discovered his passion for people. He decided to go to college in Chicago to further develop his skills working with people and pursue a degree in counseling. While in Chicago he worked for a group practice as a practice biller and marketing manager. This initiated his desire to pursue learning about the business of Private Practice, particularly medical billing. Jeremy’s website: https://www.practicesol.com/
He now lives in Michigan with his wife of 3 years. They both are pursuing their passion of helping helpers maintain sustainable and compliant billing practices. In his free time, Jeremy loves reading, fishing, biking, hiking, and camping.