All the recent talk about clinic management makes us wonder how doctors of yesteryear used to run their practices and remain successful at it. It seems like they just they just came in and did their jobs, and everything else fell into place. But back then, there were lesser patients to attend to. And lesser doctors to compete with. Patients didn’t have a choice but to stick to the doctor closest to them.

Doctor's Practice

Fast-forward to 2014. With the famed urban sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy dietary choices, there are lot more people falling sick. And since they sacrifice their health in pursuit of their careers, they have enough money to spend on their healthcare. They also have a lot of options when it comes to choosing their doctors.

Medicine is a very noble profession, no doubt, but that does not nullify a doctor’s right to earn a living and have a successful and satisfying career. And the only way to run a successful clinic is through proper management.

What is management?

Simply put, efficient use of resources like time, energy and capability to meet your objectives is management.

Why is it important for a doctor to manage their clinic?

In order for a doctor to keep practising, the practice needs to be profitable. Only then you can they cover costs and pay their staff. Profits often don’t happen by chance, neither does success. Good management aims to minimise risks and maximise output (patient care, in a doctor’s case).

What are the basics of management?

The first step in management is planning. Set your expectations first. This can be the number of patient visits you are shooting for, the amount of revenue you need to recoup your practice costs, and the quality of patient-care. With this, you can make estimates as to how many patients you need to see in a week, or the amount you’d have to earn. This gives you a target to work towards.

After you have a target, you’ll can explore different ways to meet those goals.

If you want to increase patient footfalls, get listed on a doctor listing website for free, or take out an advertisement, to let people know you exist.

If your focus is on making sure you are financially stable, use a comprehensive billing and reporting software, preferably one that offers other practice management options.

If you are concerned about improving the quality of patient care, offer them SMS prescriptions, electronic medical records and crystal clear printouts, or an IVR system for your practice to manage calls.

The final piece of the management puzzle is measuring your efforts. The only way to see if you are sticking to your plan is to check your progress yourself. Analytic tools like Reports go a long way in painting a picture of the state of your practice.

Once you start meeting your objectives comfortably every week, you can start thinking about pushing yourself and your objectives higher. Or if you are satisfied with your current pace of work, use your management tools to see how you can sustain it.

Now that you know the importance of management, you’ll also know that you have only one tool for management – your mental bandwidth. Your brain has limited resources, and they key to good management is using your resources wisely. You’ll need to utilise your mental bandwidth towards attending to your patients, instead of worrying about the state of your clinic. A practice management tool can make for a better patient experience because you are focused on them. As a result of that, the chances of them to returning to your clinic are also increased. It’s a brilliant chain reaction that leads to more patients, more profits and better healthcare.