Building a successful chiropractic practice isn’t something that occurs by working just a couple of hours a week.
It involves spending several hours a day providing quality care in an effort to retain the patients you currently have while constantly striving to find ways to grow your patient base even more. It also requires creating and implementing a solid recordkeeping system, regularly updating patient files, and also finding the time to earn those required continuing education credits necessary for keeping up your licensure.
With only 24 hours in a day, it may make you wonder how you could possibly get all of this done in a way that does your practice the justice it deserves. Fortunately, there are a few rather simple things you can do starting today to reduce some of your time burdens, potentially freeing up a few hours for you to spend doing things you enjoy outside of the work environment.
1. Engage the talents of your staff
When your to-do list is full and your days are jam-packed with patients and administrative tasks, it’s easy to think that what you need is more staff. More employees can help you better handle the scheduling of patient appointments, updating patient records, and securing payment from the various insurance companies. They could also take some of the load off you, freeing you up for the things that only you can do.
But Liz Wiseman, Harvard Business Review contributor and author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, explains that you may be better served by first looking at your current employees and asking yourself if you’re utilizing all of their talents. In other words, are you using their strengths as best as you possibly could?
For instance, maybe you have an employee who is great with people and could potentially improve your patients’ experience with your office, thereby improving patient retention, yet he or she spends the day stuck behind the computer updating patient files. Or maybe the converse is true and you have a staff member at your front desk who is interacting with your patients but would be better suited in a position that involved inputting data into your health record management system.
If you’re not sure where your staff member’s talents lie, ask them. Ask them what activities they enjoy doing in the office and whether they have any ideas as to how to make your practice more efficient with its time. They may come up with processes you’ve never thought of or didn’t know exist, enabling you to streamline your practice without having to bring on additional staff.
2. Outsource when you can
Outsourcing is typically an option that is most relevant to companies involved in manufacturing products or those that conduct a majority of their business online. However, outsourcing certain functions as a brick-and-mortar company enables you to receive the same benefits by passing off duties that don’t necessarily have to be done in-house or by you, duties that may be taking up a bit too much time. What functions can you potentially outsource as a DC?
One of the biggest is marketing as Small Business Trends reports that the average small business owner spends roughly 20 hours per week trying to get their name out there and, ultimately, attract new clients. Add this to all of your other obligations and it’s easy to see how a workday can extend way beyond sundown, even seeping into precious family and holiday time.
Imagine the time you stand to gain by letting a marketing professional handle this function for you. Not only would you potentially get back 20 hours in your work week, but that’s an additional 1,040 hours over the course of a year. That’s time you could spend taking a class you’ve been wanting to take, hitting a few golf balls, or playing with your children while they’re still young enough to want to spend time with you.
3. Look for new ways to do day-to-day things
Another option is to take the activities you’re currently doing and look for new ways to do them, ways that won’t take as much time. Many times we develop the mindset that “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” However, just because something isn’t broken doesn’t mean that it is as efficient as it could be.
Using outdated software, for instance, is like not replacing windows because, though they leak a little, by and large, they still keep the weather out. That may be okay for the short term but, over the long run, you stand to lose more than you gain.
To start, make a list of all of the things you typically do in a day, as well as how much time each action generally takes. Then, for each item, ask whether there’s another way you could do that particular thing that may take fewer minutes of your day.
For example, if you spend the first five minutes of each appointment updating the patient’s file electronically, what about having one of your staff do this for you before you even enter the room? Or, if you find that a good portion of your day involves educating patients about the healthiest way to sit, stand, and walk, developing a pamphlet that you can give to them enables you to provide the same information without having to repeat it verbally time after time.
Even if this new process or idea involves making a financial investment up front, it is money that is well spent if it means that you have more time to do the things you enjoy with the people that you enjoy. There’s simply no price tag for that.