Private practices are becoming more complicated to manage these days with each new round of healthcare regulations. Therapy students and new grads are even wondering if owning their own practice is still an option. There’s no magic formula for achieving a rewarding and profitable practice.
Therapists can take proactive measures to prepare their practices for evolving technology, increased patient volumes and shifting payment models. If your thinking about launching your own cash practice or you just hope to survive the anticipated changes in healthcare here’s a few pieces of advice you should consider for the new year.
3 Things Every Practice Needs in 2016:
1. A Lean Business Model
Use a lean business model that can you can adapt and grow with your practice. Therapists shouldn’t burden themselves trying to anticipate every future change that will occur with Medicare and with their local competition. One thing for certain is that there is going to be changes in healthcare and you won’t be able to come up with a fool-proof strategy that take into account every change.
Instead, develop a lean and agile framework around your clinic’s ideal client population and your unique value proposition. So as things change, and they’re going to constantly change, you can alter your course without losing your core identity.
Eric Ries in The Lean Startup describes a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. We live in uncertain times in healthcare where practices need to create innovative solutions to stay in the game. Business as usual just won’t cut it anymore. Just look at your reimbursement rates.
One of lean startup core concepts is to learn what customers really want through “validated learning”. Products and services are quickly developed, tested and measured without resorting to vanity metrics. A lean business model will enable your practice to shift directions with agility, altering your plans inch by inch rather than constantly playing catch up.
2. A Strong Team Culture
Build a real team with your entire staff. Make the patient the hero of your practice story not the owners or “productive therapists.” If rehab were a sporting event, it’d be one that revolves strictly around the team—not the star players. Private practices need to move away from “I’m the doctor models” that rely solely on therapist’s expertise to sell the practice. Instead dividing your staff between providers and support staff, create teams that build unity around defined goals and effort.
Create a strong team culture in your practice. Every member of your team from the first phone call, to the aide that cleans treatment rooms, to your billing person, is important in creating a memorable positive experience. It is vital in today’s economy that you have every member of your team on board with your core values and trained in their role. Every person is vital in helping the clinic be successful. Everyone’s job including yours depends on it.
3. A Prevention and Wellness Focus
Focus on creating cash based health and wellness services. Let face it healthcare is expensive. People are spending more out of pocket through higher deductibles and copays. Practices that focus on reducing costs for the consumer by avoiding costly procedures will be seen as a trusted ally. Even in the midst of high patient volumes develop cash based services to help people be healthier and stay out of doctor’s offices. Design special interventions that rely on your professional education and expertise that meet your patients’ needs.
Patient databases can help therapists identify at-risk patients that are good candidates for fall prevention screening or personalized medical fitness programs. Start with previous patients that already know, like and trust you.
One change that you will most likely not see in 2016 is being paid more for the care you provide. Therefore, cash based services can help practices make up the revenue gap by offering high quality prevention and wellness services. It’s a win–win for the patient and the practice.
Being innovative and flexible in your practice is a key to adapting to the inevitable changes ahead. Making your patients and staff the heroes of your clinic will create positive experiences for both parties. This will lead naturally to greater satisfaction and practice growth. Step into your patient’s shoes by helping them improve their wellness and reducing their medical expenses. These foundational principles are not earth shattering but if you implement them in 2016 you’re bound to look good in the new year.
I’m launching a Cash Practice Pilot Course for therapists interested in starting their own private practice in January 2016.
The course promises to help students build a solid business foundation that will take students from a practice idea to seeing their first patient. I’m limiting the class to 15 students because I will provide one-on-one coaching to help students do whatever it takes to launch their own practice pilot clinic. The deadline for signing up for the pilot course is midnight December 30th.
If you’re interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and type Pilot Signup in the subject line. I’ll arrange phone call so I can answer your questions about the pilot course.
The last announcement is I want to make my readers aware of an upcoming change to the title of the Functional Freedom podcast. The focus of my podcast and blog has evolved into helping therapists launch and grow their own private practices. The new name and brand will better reflect the focus and direction of the podcast. I will be adding new podcast features in 2016 that will help you gain the personal and professional freedom to have a successful and meaningful practice. I’ll share more about the upcoming changes in future podcast episodes.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for listening to my podcast show after show. The number of downloads and subscribers is slowly growing. I had the opportunity to speak with a few of you during my research for the cash practice pilot course. Getting to meet you and hear about your dreams and steps you’ve taken to fulfill your calling as a therapy entrepreneur has been the greatest pleasure of doing the podcast and blog.
You all are amazing people and you are doing some pretty amazing things. Keep it up. I hope to inspire, encourage and provide you quality information so that you can continue to make a difference in your part of the universe.
Get Your Own Copy of On Fire
As therapists we have tremendous opportunity to use our abilites, education and expertise to enhance client’s lives. What a privilege? If your are in the therapy business to serve people, then my new book On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice might help you. The healthcare industry has undergone so many changes lately and many therapists are overwhelmed, overworked and confused on where to turn to for help in the battle.
On Fire takes a close look at innovative therapists who are using alternative ways to deliver high-value care to their patients. Cash therapy services have emerged as a viable alternative to accepting business as usual.
If you are intrigued by the attention that cash-based practices are attracting On Fire is a great primer to help you get up to speed on the key issues and how if might impact your practice. The book is available on Amazon. If you are interested in getting your own copy join my email list and I’ll keep you up to date on the special pre-order bonuses I’m giving away.
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