Surviving During A Perfect Storm: Building A Strategic Lifeboat For Your Practice
Working in Healthcare is always challenging. Since March of 2020, add in a pandemic and it is even more challenging. So how can one’s business survive – and even thrive during these tumultuous times? How does one build a lifeboat and not a flimsy raft in this pandemic environment?
With so much change occurring at hurricane speed, your instinct may be to just react to the daily crises and not be cognizant of the longer-term impact to budgets, staff, and patients. Remember, “longer-term” in pandemic context is months, not years! So how to stop just a knee-jerk reaction and think through solid options? Take these three steps:
First, if you have a strategic business plan, get it out and review the core elements to make sure you have included the questions below. If you do not have a plan, answering these questions will get you started and won’t take long -- but it is critical that you answer these questions to build on your strengths and values.
What is your core business? (What do you do? Internal Medicine, Ortho, Surgery, Peds?)
Who are you serving? Types of patients (age, disease, ethnicity, geographic reach?)
What are your strengths as compared to the competition? (technology, staff, expertise, hospital partners, office workflows?)
How do you define your value to patients, employees, partners?
Revenue streams? (private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid?)
Second, in building/revising your plan, the focus now shifts to the external environment, which has been completely turned upside down in the past four months. By understanding the basics of your business within the external market, you can use your strengths to develop and implement new tactics and processes. So how do you take your business and adapt to the current market?
Identify what has had the most impact on you and your patients.
Prioritize to focus on what will have the greatest positive effect.
Third, develop new tactics and processes. Aligning your actions with your strengths, core business and patients’ needs allows you to make decisions that fortify your practice. It also prevents you from making spur-of-the-moment decisions that could be costly and fail. This is building your lifeboat – not reinventing nor blowing up what you already have. Understanding your business sets you up to make the right decisions, not just grabbing a passing buoy.
For example, many patients are afraid to visit clinics/medical offices because of the pandemic. However, ongoing care for their chronic conditions is essential to prevent future complications. If you are serving an elderly, Medicare population, implementing a telehealth plan, though great in theory, may be more difficult to do. If your objective is to ensure that patients are taking their medications for chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, would interim phone calls work? What staff can be reassigned to reach out to your patients most in need? Can you partner with nursing schools or medical schools to hire part-time staff? Maybe internships? Prioritizing workflows to be efficient and generating revenues providing care that is safe and personal is the goal. Capitalizing on your business relationships can expand your options, particularly if you have a strong story to tell.
There is a myth that strategy is a long, drawn-out proposition that is costly and not relevant to your business. However, with focus and direction, a strong strategy will guide you as you build the lifeboat to weather the storms. Whether your business is new or established, following these three steps can help you develop a strategic plan that is the foundation of your clinical practice, allowing you to grow in patients and profitability.
Articles distributed by Malecki & Brooks Law Group, LLC are advertisements and summaries for general information and discussion purposes only. They are not full analyses of the matters presented, legal, or otherwise, and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
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