Best Practices in Managing a Medical Practice
July 27, 2021
By: Susan D. Albano, Chief Executive Officer, Prime HealthCare, PC
Managing a medical practice is challenging in the best of times – throw in a pandemic and the challenges increase exponentially. Arguably, Covid-19 has been one of the biggest disruptors in our industry, but we face the need to change and adapt regularly. In his article, The Innovative Health Care Leader, Michael Morrow-Fox describes the rate change in health care knowledge as having doubled every 50 years in the 1950’s, every 7 years in the 1980’s then every 3 ½ years in the 2010. That means that the strategies we employed 5 years ago may not be relevant or useful today. So rather than explore specific tactics, it will be more meaningful to focus on the qualities that make for a strong medical practice.
Key words that come to mind include, agility, adaptability, innovation and resilience.
A well-managed practice is able to pivot quickly and effectively embrace discontinuities, large and small. It is agile and adaptable. This doesn’t mean that it has a knee-jerk reaction to environmental stimuli, but it takes in those environmental factors, processes them and responds to them. As an organization, we were able to respond to the lock-down in March 2020 by adapting telehealth very quickly. Was it easy? No. Was it comfortable? No. Was it necessary? YES! By stepping out of our comfort zones, and embracing this technology, we were able to continue to keep our doors open and more importantly, we were there for our patients.
A well-managed practice is innovative. It seeks solutions to problems that arise. It tries new things – some may work, and some may fail, but standing still and wringing one’s hands will never solve a problem. When we began on our journey to value-based care, it was clear that our patients were overusing expensive resources such as the Emergency Department. One of our APRNs had an idea; if we cared for our very frail patients in their homes, maybe we could reduce cost. This germ of an idea has blossomed into a large group of ten providers and is a foundation to our value-based strategy.
A well-managed practice is resilient. Despite thoughtful planning and purposeful actions, bad things happen. A resilient practice is able to pick itself up, get through the bad times and have the confidence that it will emerge better for having gotten though it. All of us who have gotten through the past year and a half can attest to the value of resilience.
A medical practice is not an inanimate object, but rather it is the sum of its very important parts. At the heart of everything we do, we have to remember that we exist in order to provide quality care to our patients. Every single individual in your practice, whether providing direct care, sitting at a desk or mopping the floors, should understand that we are all here for the patients.
It is important to build and maintain a team of individuals that are aligned with the core values of the practice. It is incumbent on practice leadership to nurture qualities such as agility, adaptability, innovation and resilience in all their staff. Communicate often, lead by example, encourage creativity, show appreciation, be present and breed positivity.
Susan D. Albano is Chief Executive Officer at Prime HealthCare, PC