Is Your Cash-Only/Retainer Medical Practice Business Plan Incomplete?
By Michael Tetreault, Editor
JUNE 17, 2014 – As a direct-pay medical practice business owner, you probably have a business plan that states what you want your practice to accomplish over time. It probably outlines or summarizes what competitive threats you see, financial projections, and how much money it will take to get your name onto the streets of your local community. But how often do you revisit this roadmap that can help you get there, or is it now … just the story of what “there” looks like?
I have the privilege of interviewing, talking to and hearing the stories of many prospective physicians considering a career in direct-pay medicine as well as listening to existing direct primary care doctors on a daily basis since starting ConciergeMedicineToday.com. In almost every case, the doctors and their staff have an idea of where they want to be in business in the next few years but no vehicle or plan to take them there. Very few direct-pay doctors have a roadmap of how to achieve their goals or to monitor their progress along the way.
Here is a brief outline for which priorities to include on your direct-pay medical practice roadmap:
You need to create a one-page, actionable, post-able, and unforgettable strategic plan that your entire direct-pay practice can rally around. This process will help you identify priorities, ensure alignment within your staff, nurses, and commit to decisions long enough to judge results that move you towards your one, three, and five-year objectives.
Create and enlist objectives
This list should drive pretty much every decision within your direct-pay practice. It is important to set both long and short-range goals. Long-range priorities do not change often and include: core-values, risky goals and priorities in the three- to five-year range. Short-range priorities include critical quarterly “bumps in the road” that must be accomplished to move your practice toward the defined one year and three to five-year goals.
Track your progress
Making goals is one thing. You should also vocalize them and identify key performance metrics that should help you know if you’re on the right track. Be sure to communicate your progress on your short-range and long-range goals.
Schedule regular meetings to build rhythm and ensure accountability. Doctors we’ve spoken to recommend holding a short meeting each day or at the very least, once a week, to gauge your staff’s progress and to remedy any sticking points. Remember, transparency and honesty is what you’re new model of medicine is all about — give your staff the same transparency, an open-door policy and a place to answer questions, no matter how insignificant or minor they might be. At the weekly meeting, discuss “good news,” patient/employee feedback and review key performance metrics. Then, each quarter, take one to two days and review the past quarter vs. the plan. The goal of this meeting is to update the one-page plan, including any new three-month “bumps in the road” or bigger changes to your strategy.