At medical practices, a little money saved every day goes a long way. Here are ten money-saving tips.
1. Get voice value. Instead of paying for an answering service, use a less-expensive option such as a virtual phone service. Some allow users to record a message and provide extensions so the caller can easily reach the necessary party (such as an on-call physician).
2. Fix faxes. Reduce printing costs when you receive medical record requests by using an online fax service to sign and fax documents electronically.
3. Prep printing. Share a single networked printer for everyone at your office rather than maintaining — and buying ink — for multiple printers.
4. Go green. Spend money on energy efficient technology now and save money later. For instance, install motion-sensor interior light switches. Also, simple reminders, such as asking staff to turn off computers when not in use, cost nothing and save lots over time.
5. Ask for discounts. Buy in bulk when ordering new office and/or medical supplies. To get even bigger discounts, partner with nearby practices when making standard purchases. Also, ask if suppliers will give discounts for upfront payments.
6. Choose secondhand. Buy gently used or refurbished furniture or equipment. Where to begin? Check out a favorite listserv, Facebook group, or Craigslist.
7. Lower labor costs. Need an extra set of hands? Get an intern who wants to learn the ropes of running a practice to do basic administrative tasks (such as helping out at the front desk) that are overwhelming staff.
8. Cut cable. In lieu of CNN or the Discovery Channel, play family-friendly or informational videos in waiting areas.
9. Nix paper. The stuff from trees costs money, so eliminate it when you can. One physician we spoke with created an app to capture charges electronically via mobile devices in real time and send bills instantly to Medicare and other payers. The result: "No charges are missed, no booklets to collect, and one fewer billing employee."
10. BYOB. "Bring your own books." Have docs and staff bring in magazines for patients, and get free ones like Prevention sent to your practice. To avoid clutter, sweep through the waiting room once a month and discard old ones.
Marisa Torrieri is an associate editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].
Aubrey Westgate is an associate editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Physicians Practice.