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Grow My Practice – 4 Tactics to Improve Clinician Productivity

As a busy healthcare practice owner, your time is valuable. You know it’s important to operate your practice efficiently, while also providing for the best client experience possible. 

That’s why optimizing clinician productivity can be an investment in your client’s health (greater access to care) and the financial success of your practice (greater EDITBA). In fact, a practice can gain a competitive advantage simply by closely managing their clinicians’ productivity.

Productivity metrics are measurements used by practice owners to evaluate the performance of clinicians. These metrics are used to highlight areas of opportunity for improvement to ensure optimal efficiency and productivity. 

Productivity metrics typically fall into one of two buckets: output value or input cost.

Output value is often measured as:

  • Revenue billed/hour: based on the revenue mix of the clinic (i.e., $176/hr)
  • Schedule efficiency: total available Ax/Rx slots in the schedule minus an 8% no show/cancellation rate (i.e., daily schedule efficiency target for a clinician could be 92%)

Input costs are often measured as:

  • Direct labour costs: clinician cost to deliver care
  • Indirect labour costs: administrative or other support staff costs
  • Gross margin: revenue minus labour (direct + indirect); a 55-58% gross margin range is healthy

In one of our previous blog posts, Why Your Healthcare Practice Should Use a Business Scorecard, we mentioned the importance of improving scheduling and productivity inefficiencies. Now, let’s go one step further and unpack the four best tactics to improve productivity from an output value perspective. In a future blog, we’ll dive into labour costs and models.

It won’t come as a surprise to many practice owners that tactic number one starts with human capital: our clinicians. At the end of the day, when you strip everything away, we’re all just people. People caring for people. So, how can we help our clinicians get better at this?

1- Help clinicians become more human (EQ eats IQ for breakfast)

    Creating positive change in the lives of your clients might be your greatest legacy as a clinician. Clients won’t remember what you did, but they’ll remember how you did it. A blend of caring plus competence is the fastest way to build trust. The most important therapist attributes required to create an engaged client outcome might surprise you. They are:

    • Empathy
    • Effective communication
    • Friendly and caring attitude
    • Professionalism
    • Knowledge
    • Skill

    Winning with EQ will have a downstream impact on many of your lead measure KPIs, such as lowering no show/cancellation rate, improving net promoter score, encouraging fewer private pay clients with three or less visits, and increasing friends and family referrals.

    2- Define your productivity KPI (Rx/day or revenue/day) and measure it in your practice scorecard

    Often, simpler is better. A good calculation option for clinician productivity = number of hours    worked/day x number of treatment slots/hour x 92% (8% no show/cancellation rate)

    • 7 hours/day x 3 Rx slots/hour x 0.92 = 19 Rx/day (Adjust accordingly for Ax slots)

    Practice owners should know their average revenue/Rx across their entire clinic.

    • For example: Average Rx revenue = $65 x 19Rx/day = $1,235/day or $176/hr

    3- Create schedule efficiency and discipline

    Our best advice to win on schedule efficiency/discipline is to start by reading: The 4 Disciplines of Execution (Mc Chesney, Covey). It’s likely that any practice with a schedule efficiency of less than 92% has succumbed to the so-called whirlwind of urgent activity required to operate the day-to-day. What gets lost is the time and energy required to execute on the tactics that allow you to keep your doors open in six months’ time. 

    Understanding the ‘what’ of execution must come before the ‘how’. There are a multitude of ways to win at schedule efficiency (one of which is outlined next). To be fair though, schedule efficiency/discipline is one of the hardest tactics to master, and in trying to do so, your eyes will certainly be opened to your practice/organizational ethos.

    4- Eliminate non-billable clinician hours in the schedule

    Business admin should control the clinical schedule—with no exceptions. As a result, it’s important to remove all the ‘white noise’ from the schedule. This includes anything like charting time, prep time, etc.

    As a practice owner, it’s imperative that you form a united front with your business administrator and communicate the ‘why’ to your clinical team. Remember, the why should resonate as a benefit to the clients your clinic serves. This could be greater access (or same day access) to care, a more comprehensive care plan, or even a financially viable clinic.

    As a practice owner, understanding and leveraging your competitive advantage is essential, especially when you compete in a commodity driven industry. Transforming human capital into a competitive advantage is what practice owners should turn if they’re unable to sustain a competitive advantage related to location, price, service, customer experience, or clinical expertise. 

    Practice ownership that emphasizes a dual focus on managing their people, in combination with developing their people, will uncover a long-term competitive advantage.

    Need Help Getting Started?

    If you’re running a busy healthcare practice, finding time to design and implement tactics to improve clinician productivity might feel overwhelming. But you don’t have to go it alone. And the work you put in now will pay off in the future.

    If you need help, our team at ELEVATE Practice Intelligence is ready to assist. Book a free consultation today to see how we can help you measure your performance and create a thriving business sooner.

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