As the owner of a physician practice, you work hard and sacrifice a great deal of time to make your business successful. As the practice grows, so does your workload.
You start on the front lines driving clinical treatments and referrals, then move to the back office supervising daily operational tasks, often obligatory, just to keep the practice afloat. You know you’re needed to keep the business running, but you want to make sure it continues to operate efficiently if you aren’t around.
Here are four things you can do replace yourself in your practice and bring back some time to yourself:
Responsibilities can really weigh you down as they become more detailed and more time consuming. When responsibilities start to detract from the things you love, it’s probably time to consider delegating some of those responsibilities. Being a successful leader means learning to prioritize your duties and assign those tasks to someone who you can trust to perform well.
Be aware that finding the right individuals to delegate responsibilities to can be time consuming. You need to be sure whoever is assuming those duties can perform at your own level of expertise. If you have a management team in place, reach out to your best employees and teach them how to do the tasks that take up a lot of your time. Alternatively, or in addition to training staff, considering finding a partner who can complement your business.
Some tasks may be better completed by outsourcing rather than hiring and training new employees. Back office assignments, such as billing and collections, can be sourced out if you aren’t in need of full-time help.
It is more important to free up your time for those heavyweight projects. If your time is spent on resubmitting denied claims rather than long-term planning, you could miss out on taking your practice to the next level of its potential. Something to keep in mind: If you choose this route, it can get costly, especially if a lot of duties are being outsourced. Additionally, quality is a concern to consider as well if you choose this route. Will the quality be to your standard? Will your practice be a priority for the vendor like it is for you? Due your due diligence and vet a qualified third-party company.
Consider bringing on a partner
Perhaps you want to take a bigger step back than simply passing off some tasks to someone else. You want to grow your practice, but you don’t want to do it alone. You can see the bigger picture, and you know a partner is necessary.
A physician partner can help you get to the next level by bringing a complimentary skill set to the table. Having a physician partner will allow you to spend more time doing the things you love outside the practice and focus on the things you have a passion for within the practice. A good physician partner will want to see the practice succeed because of the synergistic elements you two bring to the practice.
If you do decide to add a physician partner, there are many things to consider, which I have addressed in previous articles:
- Six key areas for successful physician partnerships
- Seven reasons to create physician partnerships
- Evaluating a physician partnership
Consider a gradual complete exit
Maybe your aim is to retire completely from your practice. Maybe you love your practice, but you’re drained and need to get out or move on. Maybe your priorities in life have shifted but you don’t have a way to step back. This is the road to succession planning.
A new owner could be your best bet. Whether that’s a physician partner or another acquiring entity, you can work to create a transitional period after the sale.
Your practice is a financial investment for some buyers, so you if you can illustrate the value your employees bring to your business, you can advocate for their continued employment. After all, if you are going to leave your practice, you want to make sure you leave your employees in a good atmosphere.
When it’s time to replace yourself, it’s important that you provide a secure environment for those you leave behind. Additionally, a gradual transition out of your practice will give everyone who works with you a chance to get used to the changes, and it will retain their respect for you.
Planning ahead allows you to focus on the best fit for the practice, first and foremost. Once you find the best fit that will respect the legacy of the practice and your employees, then it is very likely you will also find the greatest value.
Nick Hernandez, MBA, FACHE, is the CEO and founder of ABISA, a consultancy specializing in strategic healthcare initiatives for physician practices. His firm helps devise and implement strategies that will allow practices to remain competitive and solvent. E-mail him here.