The first time I heard about medical practice management consultants was from my friend Shaun in Los Angeles. He was working in the banking industry and called me about a business opportunity. Apparently, one of his customers was a company that had medical practice management consultants and the company was doing great. While I had done business consulting in the past, I didn’t think that the medical field was an area that would necessarily have a great need for medical practice management consultants. To me, it just seemed that medical practices were the type of institutions that didn’t really struggle. Over the course of our conversation, I would learn just how off-base my assumptions were in this field. The Myth I had, like many other people have done before me, made the assumption that all doctors live in a world of success and prosperity. This is a common myth about the medical profession that is held by everyone from young doctors, to those companies doing business with doctors.
Doctors, like any other professionals, have a whole host of costs to consider when running a practice. On top of these costs, they have to consider their debt from school and just how they are going to juggle all of those on top of their personal, and possibly family, living costs. The Issue The reason that many medical practices struggle is because they aren’t being run like businesses. If you are the average individual in America, you probably think that medical operations shouldn’t be run like businesses. If this does happen to be your opinion, I would have to say that I disagree with you. See, the difference between America’s medical system and some other developed country’s medical systems is that if you don’t run your practice like a business, you won’t have a practice to run. Doctors are, of course, trained to solve medical problems and not business ones. Because of this many doctors are known to open up their own practices assuming they will have no issues and then finding themselves worrying about the bills at night instead of worrying about all of the weird rashes they saw that day.
The simple truth about medical practices is that they don’t run themselves and just like any other business, they aren’t too big to fail. The Solution The solution for failing medical practices is just the same as for any other businesses, and that is to change. If your practice isn’t making enough money to keep you alive, you need to change the way you do business. Exactly what elements need to be changed for any business will fluctuate from situation to situation, but many will need to address their insurance situation. Some reading this might assume that having a business that get’s paid by insurance companies would be a dream! After all, insurance companies are big, rich, and can pay whenever they are asked to. While it is true that most insurance companies you’ll work with will be rather big compared to most businesses, it is their size that can cause you so many problems. Insurance companies make money by holding on to the money they already have for as long as possible.
Because of this they can be very hard to bill. Any good medical practice management consultants should be well versed in the whole insurance billing issue. By the end of my conversation with Shaun, it became clear to me that being a doctor wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Particularly if you are a doctor in a private practice. Fortunately I learned that there are some great consultants out there with some great success stories. I never went into medical practice consulting, but I have learned to appreciate doctors more than I used to. Now if I could only afford to go to one…