Updated: Mar 25, 2019
I have consulted for over one hundred practices, and I have many friends that are doctors who are quite good at running their own practice. However, for each doctor I know who is a good business person, there are many who do not run the business side of their practice well.
For the most part, doctors are poor business people because they are focused on the medical side of the practice – practicing medicine is an all-encompassing job, and that takes most of their time.
To be a successful doctor, you need to make enough money to cover business expenses and draw a salary to support your family. To make money, doctors must be great doctors. They need to have repeat patients, build the trust and confidence in the community and generate a referral base. If they do not focus on their quality of medicine or dentistry, they will not succeed in their field. However, if the doctor is focusing on their clinical practice, who is able to focus on the management of their business? Being a successful doctor in private practice means a great doctor is available to offer care to their patients and the business is run successfully. When a doctor reaches a point where they feel that the management of their practice is dominating their energy, time and focus, it is time to consider practice management.
Doctors, in general, have a gap in their knowledge regarding marketing and networking techniques, contract negotiation, management, HR, payroll, compliance, financial management, etc. That being said, why would a doctor be a strong business person? The saying, “A jack of all trades is a master of none” is a reference I offer my clients continuously. You can not be everything to everyone – that is a recipe for failure.
Leadership and management should be set by the doctor, as success and failure start at the top. However, the day to day leadership and management of a practice should be delegated to a practice manager. Ackerman Practice Management has developed a comprehensive approach to the management and growth of medical and dental practices. We work on collaboration within the practice to develop a self-managed team, sustainable and successful business and clinical systems and on-going business management, so the doctor can focus on being the best at what they do, and the business supports the reputation of the doctor and their vision for the future.
Some of the questions a doctor asks me to evaluate and improve:
1. How can I improve clinical workflow to improve productivity?
2. How do I evaluate the financial performance of my practice?
3. How do I make changes to improve the overall effectiveness of the practice?
4. How do I market my practice?
5. How do I protect myself from lawsuits?
6. What are the federal and state compliance mandates I am required to follow?
Shanalee Ackerman, RDH, MBA, is founder and CEO of Ackerman Practice Management, a consulting firm that specializes in medical and dental practice management and compliance. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.AckermanPracticeManagement.com.