Trying to get your medical practice expenses under control, without doing so at the expense of your care experience? While the ins and outs of maintaining a doctors’ office budget can be incredibly tricky, there are a few good ways to balance your books with your patients’ overall experience.
We asked veteran podiatric surgeon, and owner of Achilles Running Shop, Dr. Mark Mendeszoon of Precision Orthopaedic for his insights on medical practice efficiencies and cost savings. Here are eight valuable tips that are bound to help you and your staff with your medical practice’s expense control.
8 Tips to Improve Your Medical Practice Efficiencies & Cost Savings
1. Upgrade equipment & building facilities
One of the best cost-saving measures in healthcare that has virtually no impact on your patients’ experience is improving your practice’s energy efficiency through upgrades.
This is especially true if your building, and the appliances inside it, are more than 20 years old. About a decade ago, Dr. Mendeszoon’s practice took over a building built in the mid-90s - and they knew it needed a lot of upgrading to reduce their energy spending long term.
According to Pacific Gas and Electric, upgrading or replacing old commercial HVAC units can increase your energy efficiency by up to 20% annually.
2. Get good at negotiating
Negotiating is essential when it comes to maintaining a business, and even more so when it comes to running a medical practice. Understanding what you’re getting, the price you’re paying for it, and how it stacks up to what other similar volume organizations are receiving is important to making the right contracting decisions within your practice. By making sure you’re getting the most out of your spending, you can provide the best-quality care possible for your patients without impacting their experience.
For Dr. Mendeszoon and his practice, this is a top-tier priority: “We always negotiate our rates with our insurance providers to stay on top of our annual costs.”
3. Hire a rockstar office manager
Like we said in point two, you need to be a great negotiator… or hire someone who already is! If you don’t have the time to shop your insurance rates, supplier pricing or other vendor contracts, an experienced office manager is worth their weight in gold, and can be crucial to keeping your medical practice expenses under control.
4. Don’t be afraid to shop around
When you use certain insurance, supplies and equipment vendors, rate increases tend to be inevitable after a certain period of time. For this reason, it’s wise to make time in your annual roadmap to reevaluate and switch vendors as needed.
Although the time and effort of shopping around can seem like a hassle, little increases can add up in a big way, which can have a major impact on your medical practice expenses. This is where having a great office manager can come in handy again. “We’re always shopping around for equipment and trying to price things out well in advance,” says Dr. Mendeszoon.
5. Keep an eye on your energy costs
Even if you’ve upgraded your air conditioning and heating units, installed top-of-the-line windows, doors and motion sensors, and insulated your office from top to bottom, your energy bills could still spike at any time.
Energy prices - that is, the price you’re paying per kilowatt-hour or cubic foot - change from day to day, and even minute to minute, and are impacted by factors that are largely out of the control of medical practice owners.
National weather events, major market swings and even local demand can all cause electricity and natural gas rates to fluctuate in a big way. Most of the time, these changes are small. But sometimes - like in the case of the Texas Winter Storm of 2021 - these factors can add up and create a huge problem for energy consumers. Consider business owner Vic Cherubini from The Woodlands, Texas; his shop Woodlands Photo Studios was hit with an $18,000 electricity bill following the storm.
While this is an extreme example, it does illustrate the importance of having a fixed-rate commercial energy plan. In addition to preventing unexpectedly monstrous bills, fixed-rate energy plans can also help you forecast and budget for your medical practice’s energy expenses ahead of time. By keeping your rate consistent, and choosing a well-established broker with plenty of offerings, you can find a plan with a rate that works for your doctors’ office budget for the long run.
6. Hold monthly operations meetings
Whether you have a staff of ten or a staff of sixty, holding monthly operations meetings can be helpful in improving the efficiencies and cost savings of your medical practice.
By taking time to discuss overhead, staffing logistics and other expenses, you can help your staff help you tackle any glaring costs at the end of each month, so that you can work to nip them in the bud sooner. “When we have our monthly meetings, we get to see everything; where we’re at for the month, our income, our overhead, expenses, everything,” says Dr. Mendeszoon.
7. Complete continuing education courses
As a medical professional, it’s always important to continue your learning throughout your career. However, it can also help your practice save more on yearly insurance costs.
“Continuing medical education courses can give you a 10-15% discount on insurance,” says Dr. Mendeszoon, “So every year, we make sure we’re completing those courses successfully.”
8. Find a great EHR
According to an article by UBM Life Sciences, an average of $50,000 is lost annually per physician due to excessive busywork. Solution: EHRs.
According to the CDC, as many as 20% of physicians still do not use certified electronic health records within their practices. In addition to eliminating busywork for you and your staff, saving you hours and hours of paid time, EHRs are extremely useful for providing high-quality patient care, and can improve your patient satisfaction rates in a huge way.
According to HealthIT.gov, 92% of patients whose doctors used an EHR were happy their doctors used e-prescribing and 76% reported that it made obtaining medications easier.
Pay less for energy bills and keep your practice overhead lower
At Integrity Energy, we specialize in helping small-to-medium size business owners keep their energy costs flat and manageable for the long run. We offer rates from over 30 major suppliers, allowing you to have a wide variety of plans to choose from. We’ve helped over 40,000 business owners - including medical professionals - find the best energy rates in their area over the last decade.
Find the best energy rates for your medical practice today - request a quote online now.