Get Your Medical Practice Back on Track

February 2, 2013

If you have owned your medical practice for more than two years, it's time to step back and do some evaluating on its culture and direction.

There is a constant buzz in the air and a constant draw for your attention. Perhaps you have a family outside of this very demanding business. Perhaps you have elderly parents you are caring for after you come home from taking care of your patients. Whatever the circumstances are, most likely your medical practice is taking a back seat to the rest of the demands in your life. Now is the best time to take a look at your overall practice with fresh eyes and make sure it is heading down the path you intended for it to go.

There are several areas you can look at within your practice that can be great indicators of its direction:

Culture
Your company culture that you cultivate (consciously or not) is an enormous part of your overall business. Culture can be looked at in three major categories.

• Employees - What kinds of stories do your employees tell about their experiences there? Are they positive or negative? What kind of atmosphere is created by the strongest or most senior employees within your organization?

• Values and Traditions - Do you celebrate your employees major life milestones? These can include having a child, graduating with honors, special birthday, wedding, etc. If you show an investment in your employees, they will reward you ten-fold. The values that your company follows and represents really reflect in the employees you have working for you. If you are willing to let some ethical issues slide, then you will attract that kind of employee. If you are a by-the-book leader, you will attract those types of employees and they will always have your back. Which ones do you have in your practice?

• Company Goals and Communication - If you are not able to articulate where you are going, you and your employees will wander aimlessly around in circles. If you have clear goals - whether financial or position-specific - your employees need to know those. By sharing what your needs and wants are, you are providing a clear platform to your staff of what is required of them. If you don't know where you are going, how do you ever expect to get there?

Business Plan
If you do not have a business plan that includes the following, then you might want to take a few moments and consider doing so:

• Executive Summary - This identifies the major players within the organization. Do you have a board of directors (even if just a small company), who are the decision makers?

• Organizational Background - Who are your employees, and your management team?

• Marketing Plan - What is your pricing and is it competitive for your area? How are you distributing your brand and your position within the market?

• Operational Plan - Staffing and training needs, any acquisition needs, capital equipment, etc.

• Financial Plan - Current financing, funding plan, and financial forecast

• Your Needs - When you went to school, did you picture yourself doing what you are doing now? Are your personal and professional needs being met? Did you ever want to spend an afternoon volunteering or giving back to your community somehow that has just not come to fruition? There is always time, you just need to shuffle your tasks and priorities. Rely more on your staff, if needed, to free up some personal or professional time.

Whatever the area you need to improve upon, it's never a bad time to start. By just taking a few steps back to analyze where your medical practice is right now, you can steer your practice down the path that you intended to go, but just did not have time to cultivate.