Many of us have had the experience of enthusiastically starting a garden only to get busy with life’s many other demands. The day-to-day to-do list prevents us from dedicating time to our garden’s growth. As a result, the vision of creating our own Garden of Eden fails to materialize. Running a psychiatric practice often follows a similar pattern. Day-to-day tasks clamor for our attention, blurring the original goals we had in mind for the practice. In this post, we’ll show you how to get your hands back in the dirt with smart time investments that will make your business more profitable and sustainable. Here are five key ways you can improve your psychiatric practice management.
Build Your Managerial Skillset
For mental health professionals who own their practice, management is a skill that isn’t necessarily second nature. And most formal training for therapists includes very little (if any) instruction on managing the operations of a small business.
The good news is that managerial skills are something you can easily learn over time. Dedicate a little time each week to take a class or do some reading on business finances, billing, marketing, and HR if you employ other therapists. Although you probably won’t be handling all the tasks involved in every area of the business, it helps to be well-acquainted with each. Having an understanding of what’s needed to do each job well will allow you to bet more effective when hiring outside help like a CPA or billing expert.
Identify Ways to Be More Efficient
Over time, ways of operating any business tend to cure like concrete. It’s easy to start operating on autopilot, doing things the way they’ve always been done. But there are always ways to become more efficient and improve your processes. Chip away at the hard edges of your processes and procedures, examining each one for redundancies. Look for ways to combine or eliminate steps whenever possible. Improvements don’t have to be significant to make a big impact. A series of incremental changes can add up to substantial time savings.
One of the simplest ways to streamline your practice is to delegate lower-skilled tasks to a virtual assistant or part-time employee. Returning phone calls, marketing tasks, following up on billing-related issues, and many other demands on your time can be handed off to someone else. Track your time to see how much of it is spent on office-related tasks. Another low-hanging fruit is automation. An EHR software like TheraNest can automate new client onboarding, client scheduling, and appointment reminders.
Managing your own billing? Check out our guide, How to Be Your Own Biller as a Therapist.
Mind the Bottom Line
Having a firm grasp on the money coming in and going out of your business will help you make your practice more sustainable. In addition to making smart spending decisions, you’ll want to optimize your billing process. Submitting claims promptly and reducing rejections and denials will ensure you’re getting reimbursed quickly and accurately for the services you’re providing.
If your eyes glaze over when you see numbers, hiring a financial manager or billing specialist may be a good solution. Professionals who specialize in revenue management and billing will be able to focus on the financial health of your business while you take care of clients.
Expand Your Reach
Marketing can be a challenge for therapists running their own practice. Fortunately, the internet has opened up a range of new, inexpensive ways to reach prospective clients. Creating a local business listing on Google is an easy way to start. If you’ve ever searched for a local restaurant online, you’ve seen this feature in action. Local listings are usually found right at the top of the local search results and include customer reviews and business details.
The next step is creating or updating the website for your practice. Your website is likely the first impression and point of contact for most prospective clients. Make sure your site looks inviting and professional, and is easy to navigate on both a mobile phone and a desktop computer. Also, consider getting listed in directories like those of your Chamber of Commerce or professional publications and organizations.
Focus on Expanding Your Own Wellbeing
Managing a practice can be all-consuming if you let it be. There are always more tasks on the to-do list. Be sure to carve out some time for self-care and your own personal growth. The time you spend on your personal needs is an investment that will pay off in better focus, smarter decision-making, and a more efficient use of time. Yoga, exercise, meditation, or more time spent with family, friends, or a significant other can help bring you back down to earth and keep you focused on what truly matters. Set wellness goals and schedule them into your weekly routine. If you have office staff and other therapists working with you, encourage them to do the same.
Psychiatric Practice Management for a Sustainable Future
Running a psychiatric practice is hard work. Over time, it’s easy to lose focus on the long-term, meaningful goals that drove you to launch your psychiatric practice in the first place. Dedicating attention to effective practice management will help you maintain profitability while striking a reasonable work-life balance. Like a well-tended garden, taking time to work on your practice’s health will deliver rewards now and into the future.
Ready for an EHR to streamline your practice management?