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Best Practices for Medical/Dental Practices

April 5, 2017

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Effectively managing a medical or dental practice is no easy task. There are many moving parts and new issues popping up on a daily basis.  However, by implementing some best practices in key areas of your practice, you can save time and money and avoid costly problems down the road.

Staff Satisfaction: A happy staff can make all the difference.  They represent your practice from the moment your patients walk through the door until the moment they leave; therefore, creating a work environment where the staff is satisfied if of the upmost importance.  Not only does a satisfied staff impact patient perception of your practice, it can also impact your bottom line.  It is costly to replace and retrain new hires when employees leave. In fact it is estimated to cost 20% of an employee’s salary to find a replacement.  Talk to your staff.  Ask about what they like most about the practice or what they would like to see change.  Even implementing small changes can go a long way towards showing your staff you care.   

Data Security: Protecting your patient’s data is more important now than ever.  As medical and dental practices have moved to e-records, hackers have increasingly targeted healthcare organizations in order to steal valuable medical records.  Every medical or dental practice should conduct a thorough evaluation of their data security measures to ensure patient data is as secure as possible, as well as implement a comprehensive plan that can be executed should a data breach occur.  That plan should include a process for reporting and patient notification.  It might also be important to look into cyber insurance which would help to decrease the financial burden should your practice experience theft of patient data.

Billing Management: Effective management of your billing process is one of the most important aspects of practice management.  When this process is not running efficiently, it can lead to the failure of any medical or dental practice regardless of the quality of care.  By creating a billing process that is easy to follow and properly training staff, you can help to avoid common billing mistakes that can lead to lost revenue such as improper coding or lack of follow up on reimbursements. For some practices, it can make sense to outsource billing.  There are a variety of factors to consider when determining whether to outsource billing or keep it in house, such as cost, quality of staff, number of providers and patient volume.

Recordkeeping: Just as poor billing management can sink a practice, so can poor recordkeeping.  Recordkeeping is important for a medical or dental practice in terms of medical records and also financial records.  First of all, it is critical to keep up to date and thorough medical records to manage your risk. Procedures and training come into play again here.

There should be a clear process for updating records and staff should be well trained so that they do not miss any steps and understand the risks.   Regular evaluation of medical records should also be conducted.

Second, it is equally as important to keep detailed financial records. This means keeping track of all major purchases such as new equipment, travel to conferences or meetings, patient or staff appreciation events or other expenses that could be tax deductions.  Again, this is an area where outsourcing can be beneficial.  An outside advisor can help you to maximize tax savings for your practice, and they can also help you to streamline your financial record keeping so that the tax process is much smoother.

For any questions regarding the effective management of your medical or dental practice, please contact your MWA Advisor today.