How To Develop A Long-Term Plan For Practice Transition

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In order to maintain a high number of referrals, the author recommends putting on a short, lunchtime presentation on a few simple diagnoses for referring physicians. Doing so can translate into the referring doctors recalling your practice when they need
How To Develop A Long-Term Plan For Practice Transition
Having a binder log of diagnostic tests referred to outside facilities can help improve efficiency and follow-up with a patient’s care.
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Author(s): 
By Steven Peltz, CHBC

   A detailed assessment of the day-to-day operations, billing and marketing of a podiatric practice can greatly enhance one’s results while planning a personnel transition within the practice.

   With this in mind, I conducted an operational and revenue analysis for a doctor with the objective of helping him to plan for the future of his practice and the location of his practice.

   The analysis has a couple of key sections. First, we reviews the processes in the doctor’s office such as scheduling, patient intake and patient flow. We move on to discuss the practice’s present marketing approach, reviewing the findings and emphasizing improved efforts in cultivating referrals. There is also a discussion of the practice’s approach to billing and collections. There are recommendations that relate to each of these sections.

   His practice includes a part-time physician. The office accommodates a busy one-provider practice. When there are two or three providers, this impacts the ability of the physician to see patients at his own pace.

How Streamlining Scheduling Can Provide A Smooth Transition

   When preparing for a practice transition, it is important to take a close look at the office scheduling. This will help prepare for a possible future when more than one doctor is working in the office and both time and office space are limited.

   The full-time doctor’s schedule allows for a patient every 15 minutes. With 28 office hours a week, he can see about 110 to 130 patients.

   The part-time doctor’s schedule accommodates a new patient for 30 minutes with some follow-up visits scheduled for 15 minutes. With five hours a week, she can see about 12 to 15 patients.

   The office has three potential exam rooms. Using 40 hours per week that the office is open and doctors can see patients, 120 exam room hours are available. This equates to 360 15-minute appointments. The practice uses only about 155 15-minute appointments, equating to a 43 percent utilization of the exam rooms.

   Based on the above assumptions, the practice can see on average between 115 and 135 patients per week. If the office is open for 40 hours per week, there are three exam rooms and if the average patient visit is 30 minutes, then the practice has the maximum potential of booking 240 patients per week. If doctors see 135 patients per week, the practice is operating on 56 percent of its allowable patient time. However, this is still not efficient.

   Overhead depends on two factors: the actual costs paid for overhead expenses and the revenue collected. If the actual patient visit hours decrease, the overhead becomes higher. If the actual patient hours increase, the overhead becomes lower. These results take place without spending more or less on expenses.

When A Provider Rents Space In Your Practice

   In planning for a transition, it can be important to determine how much rent a second practitioner would pay. A plastic surgeon rents space in the office on Tuesdays from 9 to 5. During that time he uses one exam room, one staff member and the conference room as his office. His rent for 2005 was $4,600 or $383 per month. The decision to rent to the plastic surgeon was more of an emotional decision than an analytical decision.

   Therefore, on Tuesdays, the doctor cannot be double-booked due to there being only three usable rooms and three providers. In order to determine what the true rent should be, one would consult the following exercise.

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