What do Medical Practice Consultants do?

Medical practice consultants help practices increase efficiency and revenue, but what exactly do they do that helps?

The growth in the medical practice consultation industry has coincided with the increased burden on healthcare professionals in terms of costs and regulations. In an industry where physician responsibilities are constantly changing and the regulations in which they operate constantly changing as well, it is often in the best interest of management to bring in skilled and experienced experts.

Many of our clients often lead with the question “what exactly do you do that helps us?”. That question is hard to answer in general, since we adapt to each client, but there are a few key things we almost always help with. Here is what medical consultants can do for your practice.

Medical consultants help organize your practice

Our responsibilities are constantly changing depending on who the client is, but medical consultants almost always help organize a practice to help it run better. This could be in terms of bureaucracy, patient scheduling, or staff management. With better defined processes and more efficient scheduling, your practice will see an uptick in productivity and revenue.

Evaluate expansion opportunities

One of our major duties as medical practice consultants is helping identify opportunities for your practice to expand. With the added pressure to improve upon services being ever constant, new opportunities for growth must be acted upon. We help implement new services, evaluate new locations, or provide expert insight.

Consultants offer strategic planning

We can offer strategic planning in other areas aside from growth. Medical practice consultants offer tax planning, mergers and acquisitions planning, and new business model planning. Identifying new revenue opportunities and chances to save on operating costs is our specialty.

Benefits planning services

One of the most common services that Fairfield Consultants offers is helping you plan the management of your employee benefits. Optimizing your benefits strategy has far-reaching consequences for both your practice and your employees. Getting the right consultants can help make both parties happy.

You might say that our experienced consultants wear many hats, because we need to adapt to the major needs of our clients; however, there are a few things that we build our services on, and that’s increasing your revenue, maximizing your process efficiency, decreasing your costs, and providing management advice. Now that you know what medical consultants do, you need to find the right consulting firm to help take your practice to where you want it to go.

The Benefits of Medical Practice Consulting

Why more US medical practices need consulting, and how we help make you profitable

The medical industry is constantly changing, and as new regulations, technologies and health trends continue to appear, the need for flexibility, adaptability, and efficiency have never been higher in the healthcare world.

In the beginning most practices are quite small, and therefore, relatively simple to manage. But as more patients come through your doors and new physicians join the practice, things become a bit more difficult to handle. More and more private practices and hospitals are turning to medical practice consulting to maximize efficiency and profitability while still providing the highest level of care to their patients when they need it most.

Here are just a few of the benefits of medical practice consulting.

Medical practice consulting means higher profit margins

As medical facilities expand, they become increasingly difficult to manage, and, in turn, you get less out of more. Think of it as the law of diminishing returns. But one benefit of medical practice consulting is that an experienced firm can help solve issues and increase your annual revenue. Fairfield Consultants has helped numerous medical facilities with issues such as:

● Employee benefits management
● Facility optimization
● Productivity analysis
● Schedule management
● Operation costs management
● And human resources consulting

With our expert knowledge of the industry, we can advise you on the best practices for managing costs, getting maximum productivity, and generating the most revenue.

Better patient care

One major benefit of medical practice consulting is the improvement in care that your patients will receive. This could either be on your end in terms of health analysis and providing care, or it could be in the experience they have dealing with your practice and staff. Our consultants understand in-depth the need for friendly, accommodating staff, efficient patient scheduling, and fee scheduling. The end result is a practice where patients feel they are being treated like people and not like numbers.

Better flexibility for the future

The one constant in the medical industry is change. The regulations regarding medicine, insurance, and patient care are always changing, and the technology with which you provide your service is often different from one day to the next. We have helped numerous medical facilities conduct future-earnings analysis, be prepared for changes, and adapt to new billing regulations. Making sure you are as informed as possible on the industry changes is a major factor in running a profitable practice.

The medical industry is one of the most difficult industries to be in, and that’s why so many medical practices are looking for help from 3rd party experts. The benefits of medical practice consulting are higher profitability, better flexibility, and a higher level of patient care. Fairfield Consultants has helped countless hospitals and medical practices in the Tri-State Area run at peak efficiency, and we can help yours too.

Telemedicine 101: Telemedicine In NY Is Changing The Industry

Technology has changed the way that people socialize, work, and entertain themselves, but it has also changed how people get medical care. You might think that getting medical care over the web isn’t possible, but in many cases a doctor is just a click of a button away.

You might wonder how it works, how effective it is, or why it is becoming so popular in New York. Here is everything you need to know about telemedicine and how it is changing the healthcare industry in NY.

First, how does telemedicine work?

Telemedicine is defined as any health care that is given through the use of telecommunication. In the modern world, it is most commonly used in conjunction with video and internet technology, though in the past it was done through telephones. The use of video conferencing technology allows medical practices in the city to simulate a real office visit.

What are the benefits of telemedicine in NY?

The benefits of telemedicine in the big city are clear. First off, you can see a real doctor right from the comfort of your own home at the click of a button. Aside from the convenience, the biggest benefits are:

● Avoiding crowded and germ-ridden waiting rooms
● Bridging the gap between patients and primary care physicians
● Cutting down on hospital crowding
● Cutting out commute times
● Flexibility for busy patients
● And much more!

Tech savvy patients need only call, email, or send an instant message, and this will lead to a doctor’s appointment ASAP. In a city as big as NY, being able to get to anyone quickly is a huge advantage.

What should telemedicine be used for?

Of course there are limitations to this practice, but it clearly has many uses. Physicians can:

● Diagnose common medical problems(headaches, sore throats, digestive issues, aches and pains, etc)
● Share test results and home medical remedies
● Follow-up on appointments from the office
● Monitor chronic illness symptoms
● Prescribe medicines

New York is a busy places, and many patients just simply don’t have the time to commute to us, sit in the office and wait to get seen. Taking advantage of modern technology to get medical care is the future of the health industry.

Telemedicine is a growing trend in the healthcare industry, and with it thousands of patients are getting the care that they need quickly and conveniently. Now that you know how telemedicine in NY is changing the healthcare industry, you only need to find the right medical practice.

The Benefits of Concierge Medicine in NYC

As the landscape of the healthcare industry continues to change, and the needs and schedules of patients become more complex, more and more doctors are turning to the concierge medicine model in New York City. The hustle and bustle of the busy city means that the benefits of concierge medicine in NYC are far larger than they are elsewhere.

A model where an affordable fee is paid for exclusive access to a physician has helped many people get the care that they need in our overburdened system. Here are just a few of biggest advantages.

Concierge medicine means less crowded waiting rooms

Doctor’s waiting rooms are some of the most crowded places here in New York, and that is saying something! You could find yourself waiting hours just to get in the door. When a fee is paid for a doctor monthly or yearly, this retainer fee means that you have exclusive access to that physician. Concierge medicine in NYC ensures that the patient pool is kept small, and that you never have to wait long to get the care you need.

Flexibility

In the city that never sleeps, people are always on the go. You have appointments, meetings, work, and family life to balance. With a retainer fee paid to your trusted doctor, you usually get flexible availability to meet your schedule and needs. If you need an appointment on the same day, then it is usually possible. No need to try and mold your busy schedule around your doctor.

Personal access to a doctor

A family doctor is a great thing to have-they know your medical history, your family’s history, and they probably know you personally outside of their practice as well. With concierge medicine, it goes even beyond that. Doctors will often give personal contact details, email addresses, phone numbers, and anything else you need to get in touch when they are needed. A smaller patient pool means more personalized care. In a city of millions that is worth more than we can say.

As the healthcare industry changes and people’s lives change around it, doctors have had to adapt. Offering personalized services for an affordable fee has given doctors the ability to care for their patients better. The benefits of concierge medicine in NYC are clear. It’s up to you to find the right doctor for your needs.

10 Reasons Why Patients Leave A Medical Practice And What You Can Do

 

“The secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient”. Although they were uttered nearly a century ago, these words are truer today than they have ever been. With the recent sweeping changes to the healthcare industry, physicians and their practices are struggling just to maintain their current levels, let alone grow. Declining reimbursements from Medicare and private insurers mean that providing the highest level of care to your patients so that they don’t leave should be your highest priority. The last thing you can do is lose your existing patients.

Yet even with these difficult times, I still see physicians and their staffs forgetting that they are treating patients and not diseases. The patient-doctor bond is one that is built on trust, comfort, and education. Because of changes in insurance or relocation out of your area, patients are more likely to leave a medical practice than at any other time. Here are ten reasons why patients leave a medical practice and how to avoid it.

1. NEGLECTING PATIENT PHONE CALLS
Having a nurse or other service work as an extension of yourself to return calls is common policy among practices, but patients usually want to speak directly with their physicians, especially when it is a serious situation. Patients look to their physicians for strength and security in difficult times, and will often leave a practice if they do not feel their doctor cares enough to return calls. It is understandable that you cannot interrupt your patient flow just to return a call. Your patients will understand this, but there is no excuse for letting days pass before you return a patient’s call about abnormal test results or to help relieve anxiety about a pending surgery or treatment. Taking the time to personally consult them and assure that everything will be fine strengthens the bond between the two of you.

2. TAKING YOUR PATIENTS “FOR GRANTED”
I have worked with over 1,000 physicians in my years, and I am always amazed at the number of times I have heard “my patients don’t mind waiting for me, regardless of how long they have to wait”. This attitude and the failure to return phone calls creates the perception that you don’t care. You cannot forget that your patients need treatment, and they are looking to you for help. You are providing a service. How would you feel if you had to wait on someone that long? Your clients have plenty of options, and the more you treat them as if you don’t care, the quicker they will leave your practice.

3. OFFICE DELAYS
Delays are a fact of life, especially in practicing medicine, but do you do your best to work with the patients that will be affected by the delay? When there is a delay in your office (emergency, seriously ill patient, power failure, etc.), do you have your staff:

  • Tell the patients in the waiting room about it?
  • If it will be an extensive delay, do you give the option to reschedule?
  • Does your staff call patients scheduled for later in the day and explain the delay to them with an option to reschedule?

Nearly all patients will understand a delay for an emergency or other reasons, but they appreciate it when you work with them to make good on the deal.

4. DELAYS AND DISHONESTY!
Continuing from #3 with delays, one of the biggest mistakes that I have seen is trying to trick patients into believing their isn’t one. Don’t try to mask it with excuses or by moving patients to an exam room, then making them wait for you in there longer than usual. You might fool some people, but certainly not the patient waiting. Patients will quickly leave your practice if they think you are neglecting them and not being honest.

5. SCHEDULING TEMPLATES
Scheduling templates are a must in the healthcare industry, but the wrong template can cost you dearly. Optimizing your patient scheduling system will make it easier for your clients to get the times they want, and help you maximize volume throughout the day. You need to strike the balance between a schedule that works for your patients and physicians at the practice. The wrong template can create delays and overburden physicians. Not everyone works at the same pace, and it could seem unfair to more productive physicians to see more patients. I reccomend working a productivity compenent into your scheduling and getting a consultant to help maximize your efficiency. You can avoid patients leaving your practice by helping them get the times that they want and keeping your physicians happy.

6. CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT
Your front desk is the face of your practice. They are the first people the patient sees on the way in and the last they see on the way out, and this makes them integral to your success. They act as your “de facto” marketing department, so the right one will make customers feel warm and welcome, and the wrong one will create a glass wall that only adds to the anxiety of the visit. These staff members set the tone for the entire visit. You need to set things off on the right foot. Make sure that your staff are:

  • Friendly
  • Smiling
  • Courteous
  • Knowledgeable
  • Pleasant
  • Professional in collecting money
  • Happy to set new appointment times
  • And capable of remembering patients names and faces

Greeting a patient coming in and helping them leave is the perfect bookend to a pleasant visit.

7. OFFICE HOURS
Your patients are busy people, and while they are certainly willing to make some sacrifices, you must be aware that they have busy work and family schedules. I’ve seen a lot of patients coming to my practice because of my flexible hours. Do you offer early mornings, evenings, or weekends? Patients who can’t get the times that they want will leave your practice instantly. You can avoid this by making some sacrifices on your end and having more flexible hours.

8. OFFICE APPEARANCE
Walk through any museum or art gallery, and you will notice how much attention is paid to the appearance of the displays. This is because they understand the importance of presentation when trying to frame an experience. Imagine being your patient: you are sitting inside the exam room when the doctor walks in dressed in his favorite band’s t-shirt and a pair of jeans. How would you feel? Presentation is everything, and appearances matter just as much in the healthcare world as any other. Is your facility clean, modern, and comforting or is it dirty, out-dated, and reminiscent of a centuries-old hospital? Every penny that you spend updating is well worth it. Don’t have the funds? Ask me. I have helped many colleagues in similar situations.

9. CUSTOMER SERVICE
Don’t be fooled by its placement on this list. Customer service is perhaps the most important factor in any industry, especially in one where patients have a lot of options. Caring for a patient is about more than just knowledge and technique, you need to provide a great service as well. This goes for all facets of your practice and every stage of the customer experience. For example:

  • The first phone call: is the person on the other end professional, informed, flexible, willing to “go the extra mile” to schedule a visit or answer a question?
  • The front desk: are they professional, congenial, and empathetic?
  • The clinical staff: are they professional, knowledgeable, and empathetic?
  • The physician or extender: do they put the patient at ease? Are they friendly, knowledgeable and caring? Do they offer extra advice and personalized recommendations?
  • Billing department: are they professional, willing to work with the patient to resolve outstanding balances or correct billing errors? Are they non-confrontational?

Customer service is about more than being flexible and smiling. You need to make sure that you dedicate yourself to the patient every step of the way.

10. MONEY
Dealing with someone’s health is a delicate situation, and nobody likes to think that they are getting sub-par attention at a medical practice because of money. Even though you certainly aren’t sacrificing their care because of a financial situation, your patients might feel that way. The last thing you want to do is have your staff start an argument over bills, and you certainly don’t want them to have their insurance or financial situation become a point of contention between the two of you. This will cause patients to leave your practice instantly.

There are straightforward solutions, namely:

  • Improve office professionalism
  • Improve office communication
  • Improve office access
  • Improve office courtesy
  • Show empathy and work with patients on bills

I would recommend training by an outside party or parties, not a “do-it-yourself” type program. The ROI on your investment will be immeasurable!

As a medical practitioner or clinic, you need to realize that the landscape has changed, and patients are leaving practices now more than ever. In order to grow, you need to practice the highest level of patient care. That means treating the whole patient and not their sickness or insurance company. These are the ten reasons that patients leave a medical practice and how to avoid it. If you treat a patient well, they will tell their family, friends, and colleagues, meaning you will experience immense organic growth. The key to success in today’s healthcare world is in caring for your patients, so avoid these customer care mistakes.

Why Should I Hire A Consultant?

In this incredibly complex and ever-evolving healthcare environment, I continue to scratch my head over the reluctance of physicians to hire consultants.  There are any number of financial and/or operational issues that cry for outside help; yet, physicians continue to resist getting this help.  Is it a matter of money?  Some consultants may be expensive or are unwillingly to guarantee outcomes.  My clients routinely get an ROI measured in hundreds and thousands of per cent so, for me, my “down time” can’t be because of money.  Is it they don’t want to admit there is something they don’t know?  For some, maybe.  I don’t see the big deal.  There are lots of things I don’t know and I’ll be the first person to tell you that!  Is it because physicians just don’t see the need for a consultant?  I always tell any physician who will listen to me that you need an advisory team.  A reliable accountant, lawyer, insurance broker and consultant.  This advisory team can help you with any problem that surfaces.  The consultant member of this team is every bit as important as the other three but is usually the last to be engaged.

I love my job.  I know that lots of other consultants love their jobs too.  We love to uncover and fix problems; increase your income; improve your office morale and make visiting your practice a most pleasant experience for your patients.  Give us a chance!  I will go anywhere and work with anyone to make a difference.  You don’t have to hire me.  Hire any consultant you choose.   Use an objective, third-party to make a difference today.

Yours respectfully,

John P. Croce