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I hope December has been good so far for you and your business. Not sure about you but I’m looking forward to a five day break at the end of the year where I’ll be driving to Brisbane and stopping at a few places on the way.
2013 has been a year of implementation and profits. Health businesses that implemented new age solutions and treated their clinic like a business have demonstrated growth, profitability and great success in patient services.
I personally believe that this is the only industry where you can comfortably say you’re in a multimillion dollar business that actually helps people. Congratulations to those who found success in 2013 and for those who faced a few challenges, don’t worry. We’ll help you reach that extra level in 2014.
This week’s blog is a little different, I’ve taken a chunk from our Business Growth Footprint program and will give it to you for free. The Business Growth Footprint highlights critical aspects of health businesses that focus on risk management and revenue growth. Here I have focussed on the technology part and will share more management and business growth strategies in the future.
Neglecting the technology of your clinic is a little bit like neglecting a toothache. Before you know it you’ll end up with a root canal and be a couple of thousands of dollars out of pocket (happened to my friend ? ).
On a serious note, practice managers and health business owners have three main frustrations that ultimately turn to three different fears when it comes to neglecting business systems.
Staff downtime, staff frustration and time wasted finding someone to fix the resulting issues usually turn into staff dissatisfaction, job dissatisfaction and loss of income.
I’ll help you avoid turning those frustrations into fears by giving you a few easy tips that I know will work very well in your business.
Move on from Windows XP
Problem: I can’t stress how important this is. Avoid going to work one morning and not being able to launch Medical Director or Best Practice. Imagine calling for support and being told “We can’t help you”. Your doctors are now ready to see patients but they can’t access any data. This is a typical windows XP scenario.
Solution: I’m going to list out the steps you need to take to handle this:
- Find someone (or you can do it) who’ll be able to migrate your clinical information and business data from the XP computer to the new one.
- Contact your clinical vendor for more details.
- Purchase a Windows 7 computer with at least 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard drive, i5 processor and at least three years warranty.
- Backup your data and arrange for the migration to be completed outside business hours.
- Ensure that printers, scanners, PKI certificates, pathology software, business software and emails are all migrated as well.
- Record the new machine serial number and warranty details in your asset register.
Systemise your practice
Problem: This is for practice managers and business owners. How frustrating is it trying to do your job but you keep being distracted with other aspects that are not as important? Don’t you wish that your business and team were working in an efficient and productive way?
Solution: Create an online process portal. Your staff will be able to use this portal to access all the relevant steps on how to complete a process. An example would be training a new staff member. Here is what your process page should look like:
- Write down the title of the process
- Write down why this process is important
- Write down who is responsible for this process
- Write down when this process needs to be used
- Write down the steps to complete this process
- If possible create a video showing how to complete this process
Increase your online footprint
Problem: Other clinics in the area are expanding and are seeing more patients. You are also unable to recruit suitable GPs or health professionals to your clinic.
Solution: The reality of this new era in the digital and social world is that having an online footprint (website, social media pages) is the best way to build your business’s reputation and increase exposure.
Websites also help take some of the workload from the front desk staff and allow them to deal with priority tasks.
Create a simple website with the following pages:
- Profile of the health professionals
- Profile of the different services
- Useful information for the patients
- Contact us page
- About us page
- Create a business Facebook page and ask your staff, relatives to share it. This is the number one method for building a quick online footprint
- Assign one of your staff or health professionals to write a quick tip every week and post it on your website. Educating your patients builds trust.
- tip every week and post it on your website. Educating your patients
- builds great trust.
I’ve seen more and more new health businesses pop up in Australia and take on a perceptive online approach. Provide an online website and use it to educate patients whilst at the same time build business creditability. Some may think a websites or social media pages aren’t relevant but research shows that new patients will always check online before using the services of a health business.
Audit your IT platform
Problem: Your complete technology infrastructure has failed as it doesn’t meet the software requirements for 2014. Backups have failed and you’ve lost your clinical data. Doctors are now so P****d off you are about to have a nervous breakdown.
Solution: Start 2014 with an audit of your IT in your business. Have a professional assess your server, computers, network, backups, clinical data size (very very important), security policies, risk management policies and disaster recovery policies. The audit will give you specific knowledge on areas of improvement that you can address before it turns into a disaster. Remember, prevention is better than the cure and this is especially true when it comes to technology.