Running a small medical practice doesn’t go without its challenges, but almost half of the doctors believe the extra work involved is worth it. Many patients enjoy the smaller practices they were used to when they were kids. The older buildings carry a charm that the larger hospitals of today don’t offer.
The care seemed more personalized, and parents seemed to take their kids to the same doctor they grew up with.
And then, all of a sudden, it seemed the wonderful world of small practices began to shut down. The entire industry of small medical practice was getting prepared to succumb to the larger-sized practices.
Today we look at the challenges that small medical practices go through so that you understand what to expect in this industry.
1. No expertise or time for medical marketing
Medical marketing is a much different animal from traditional marketing for various reasons, and many practices simply don’t have the time or expertise to do it because they are too busy running their small medical practice.
Their competitors, who are larger, may have the budget to hire a marketing company that can do their marketing for them, which in turn attracts more patients to their practice.
In today’s world, it’s vital to have a complete medical marketing plan that covers content marketing, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO). If you don’t have the time, consider outsourcing or hiring a staff member to do it.
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2. Work-life Balance is Minimal
Running your practice on your own can be very time-consuming. It can make it challenging to spend time with your family or other extracurricular activities.
It’s not surprising to find that many of the small medical practices owned by one person get burned out and eventually shut down. Bureaucratic tasks and too many hours at the office make it difficult to keep running the practice on your own.
If this sounds like you, consider hiring a temporary staff member to help with administrative tasks or things you can easily delegate that doesn’t require much skill.
3. Cash flow issues
In general, as a business owner, cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. As a small practice owner, you need to provide the level of care your patients expect, all the while keeping money coming into the practice.
That’s why a good medical billing system is essential for your practice. Finding good medical billing software can help your practice tremendously, allowing for better organization and streamlining of daily transactions. Take your time to find software that will work best for your small practice.
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4. Hiring the right people
You probably have a few good employees that help you run the practice and keep things going as smoothly as possible. As you grow, you will want to hire more people for your team.
Having a good hiring system in place will help you bring on the best people because hiring the wrong people can lead to costly mistakes. Note that the average cost per hire of a medical assistant in the United States is around $38,000 per year.
Consider partnering with recruitment agencies or staffing firms to help you choose the best candidates for the office roles you are trying to fill.
5. Low Patient Retention
Patients these days have several options when it comes to healthcare. That’s why proper branding and marketing can help you stand out in the medical field. If you don’t treat patients right, they may never return, or worse…leave a bad online review.
An easy way to improve your practice is to ask your patients for feedback on how you can improve your practice. Satisfaction surveys can be put together to get honest feedback and grow the way your patients want and need your practice to develop.
Providing the best healthcare experience possible will encourage patients to become referral partners — a great asset for any small medical practice.
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6. Increased Regulatory Requirements
This can be a challenge for small practices because they don’t have office managers, IT personnel, administrative support, and anyone else to help them stay on top of the regulations.
For example, there is one program called the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) that rewards high-quality medical providers with payment increases while, at the same time, decreasing payments to providers who don’t meet specific standards or performance.
The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System is used for the payment adjustments for Medicare Part B under the QPP based on eligible providers’ performance levels and participation.
If your practice participates in the MIPS, you must submit and track data for at least three or four categories for the performance year you are participating.
Things such as quality, improvement activities, and promoting interoperability become important when participating in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System.
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Small Medical Practice Challenge Wrap Up
Physicians in today’s independent medical practices face steadily increasing pressures. The three challenges highlighted here—decreased time with patients, increased regulatory reporting requirements, and increased provider burnout—are connected, each magnifying the others.
It’s very challenging for a small practice to thrive today without having a solid strategy for growth, marketing, and patient retention. With the increased regulatory reporting, constant burnout from being overworked, and decreased patient retention, it can seem like a huge hill to climb over.
Finding help with hiring, marketing, and customer retention is key to growing your small practice over time.
For more information on how MindBody Talent can help with your recruiting efforts for your holistic medicine practice, visit our website today!