It’s not just the delivery of medical care that determines the value that your medical practice or group delivers. It’s all of the “soft” stuff as well — in fact, the so-called soft stuff is a larger factor than groups generally acknowledge. Very few groups reward their physicians for it.
Look at an example outside of healthcare, but one that we’re all generally familiar with. You want to send a package from one place, say, Columbus, to another, say, Kansas City. Both FedEx and the Post Office will deliver the package. In fact, the Post Office will deliver it for a fraction of the price.
But FedEx will allow you to track the package all of the way, they’ll get it there on time, and if there’s a problem with delivery they’ll contact you. On the other hand, the “tracking system” at USPS.com tells me that a package I am expecting has been sitting in a sorting facility for the last 6 days. Call their “help desk,” and you find out that they are expecting a “higher call volume than usual” which will result in a longer waiting time and that all information is available on their website. Sure.
That’s why FedEx can charge around 50 times more than the Post Office to deliver a letter.
The corresponding defect is the downfall of many medical groups. I’ve yet to work with a group that is accused of providing crummy medical care. But great medical care is simply the price of admission.
Does your group have aberrant members that are pissing off colleagues, referring physicians and hospital staff?
Is your receptionist, whether the one who actually works for you at your office-based practice, or the one at your outsourced billing service or management company, being kind and caring when answering the phone?
How easy is it for patients or referral sources or those you are doing business with to reach you? I know you’re busy doing cases or seeing patients, but how quickly do you return those calls? I’m still waiting for a call back from my internist that I placed four months ago. Maybe I should say from my ex-internist.
All of this circles back on your group: To your ability to maintain relationships with facilities and referral sources. To your ability to retain employees. And, of course, to your ability to retain patients and the relationships that enable you to care for them.
Does your compensation plan take “soft” factors, not only units produced or time worked, into consideration in determining pay? If not, you’re likely rewarding behavior that can lead to your business downfall.
Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.
Mark F. Weiss