A vacuum is a space that is devoid of matter. It’s used to describe an emptiness, nothingness, and absence of other things, particularly when something should be there. A practice management vacuum is one that is devoid of the knowledge and systems that enable a practice to run effectively and efficiently. This is a common reality for private practices today, but it’s not your fault, doctor. Most podiatric professionals—in fact, most professionals in general—have never had any practice management education, training, or experience, leaving their office with a vacuum in the center.

Sucking Away Time and Efficiency

Just as air immediately gets sucked in to fill a physical vacuum in a test tube, your time and efficiency get sucked down when you don’t have practice management systems in place to support your office. You end up struggling more with frustrations, feeling overwhelmed, and losing a lot of time and well-being instead of seeing your practice grow and thrive.

Even if your marketing is successful at bringing patients through your door, you aren’t able to handle them appropriately or effectively. This means you aren’t seeing all of the patients you could be seeing, and you are losing money, nights, weekends, even sleep just trying to make it all work.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

So What Fills that Vacuum?

The way to manage your practice efficiently so that you don’t feel frustrated or overwhelmed, or end up losing time and profit, is to establish systems that actually work so your practice moves from functioning to thriving. When your practice is successful and bringing in lots of patients, your office needs to be able to handle them well from check-in through bill collection.

This means systems and protocols are in place for your staff to avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and the “revolving door” effect that can occur when employees aren’t doing jobs in a satisfactory way. Falling short in this area is just as frustrating for your employees as it is for you, doctor, because most people want to do well at their job. But if they are not given the correct tools or processes or support, they’re unable to do anything except plug a finger in the hole in the dyke and hope it keeps the water out.

There also needs to be specific processes, procedures, and protocols to handle the unceasing parade of patients in today’s increasingly complicated and paperwork-slammed environment. This is for more than just the initial appointment, too. They require follow-up, coding, billing, getting paid—everything that involves communicating with every other player in the system of seeing a patient from beginning to end. This is complicated and without high-quality procedures, you end up barely keeping back the flood. Most people feel like they are just getting by.

You Have to Lead Your Staff

As a business owner, you, doctor—as well as your management staff—must lead your team in all of this. You need to train, guide, coach, develop people, correct their errors, and help them become more efficient and effective. Your staff depends on you for all of this, so they can have and work within those systems and protocols properly and help the practice function smoothly.

Where You Can Turn to Actually Learn This

Unfortunately, there are very few places a doctor can turn to learn how to do this. You could go back to a university to get an MBA and learn all about businesses. Even then, though, typical programs don’t focus on how podiatry practices operate. You’ll also learn a lot of theory, but not necessarily the practical side.

You shouldn’t have to stumble through your practice management. That’s why we founded the Practice Management Institute: to provide doctors and their staff with the resources they need to succeed in their management. When Top Practices was originally founded in 2007, we focused simply on the marketing side of practice growth. But we quickly came to realize that, without effective and efficient management, an increased flow of patients was just overwhelming. Now we offer coaching, training, and tools to transform your staff and your practice into an organized, well-oiled machine.

If you’re asking yourself why the same management problems keep happening to you over and over again, the answer is simple: practice management doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You have to fill that vacuum of knowledge with the systems, protocols, and procedures that actually work. That is the entire purpose of the Practice Management Institute. If you’d like to learn more about this, contact us. You can e-mail [email protected] or call (717) 725-2679 to connect with us and start improving your practice management right away.