How To Do A Wellness Exam On Your Business, Part 2

Ready for your check-up today? Good!

Before we get into too much detail, here’s a brief recap of last week’s article; and just in case you missed it, you can read it here.

Last week I talked about performing a wellness exam on your business. The wellness exam, of course, is a medical concept; one that is easily transferred and applied to business.

The idea is simple:  monitor all vital systems, so that problems can be spotted well before they become entrenched or even reach critical proportions.

You want to be proactive. You do not want to find out:

  • There is not enough money to pay the rent the same day rent is due.
  • New employees still haven’t received HIPPA training, the day a compliance officer walks through your door.
  • Your business hasn’t paid employment taxes, and now there’s a letter from the IRS requesting payment for back taxes, fines, interest charges, and late fees.

Performing routine wellness exams in your business will help you identify areas that are under performing or need to be corrected.

The challenge is to create “wellness systems” that work for you. They should be easy to use and give meaningful, useful feedback.

Decide What To Track

Start by deciding which metrics to track in your clinic. Remember, nothing is written in stone, it all depends on what you think is important in your business.

However, there are some base metrics every medical clinic should track; they include cash flow, billing, and AR. So, if you track nothing else, make sure you keep up with those numbers.

But let’s get back to the Wellness Exam. What’s the best approach to set one up for your clinic?

I suggest you divide your Wellness exam into three distinct, functional groups:

  1. Customers
  2. Promotion
  3. Operations

 

The first group includes everything related to customers, your patients:

  1. Number of patient visits per month
  2. Number of services provided to patients per month.
  3. Customer satisfaction with services provided.
  4. Customer satisfaction with clinic overall.
  5. The effectiveness of services and customer care.
  6. Include anything else you think important to track.

The second group includes everything related to marketing your practice:

  1. Promotional strategies used to market your business.
  2. Promotional channels used: website, social media, news paper ads, online listings, etc.
  3. The effectiveness of promotions and channels: return on investment (ROI).
  4. Include anything else you think important to track.

The operations group includes everything else:

  1. Employee Management
  2. Compliance Review
  3. Record Keeping
  4. Financial Management
  5. Business Plan review
  6. Include anything else you think important to track.

It seems overwhelming, doesn’t’ it? It will be if you tackle it all at once. However, if you break it up, it’s far less overpowering.

Feel free to go with the groups I suggested. Alternatively, create your own structure, one that’s meaningful to your business.

Most of the above groups contain links to additional information. This will help you get clear about what information to measure and track in your clinic.

Establish Performance Indicators

Once you know which parts of your business will be part of the wellness exam start to develop performance indicators.  In other words, you need to decide what is healthy or unhealthy for the individual parts of your business.

This doesn’t need to be difficult. Start with a number or a range of numbers and go from there. Here’s an example…

Let’s say you’re evaluating the level of customer satisfaction in your clinic. Most likely you’ll be collecting feedback from your patients by:

  • Conducting a quarterly customer survey or
  • Collecting entries from the suggestion/feedback box in the waiting area of your office.

Once you have the survey results, how do you evaluate them? How do you know if your office is on target or if you need to make corrections?

You’ll know what the results mean by having a set of pre defined criteria in place.

Let’s say you decide the performance indicators for customer satisfaction are as follows:

  • 85% to 100% is excellent, needing no improvement
  • 70% to 85% is good with room for some improvement
  • anything below 70% needs to be looked at and improved

You see, unless you’ve defined your performance indicators ahead of time, the survey results aren’t that useful. You need to know that your performance goals are so that you can make adjustments when needed.

This is no different from the benchmarks used in clinical practice. You know that a blood pressure reading of 214/112 is dangerously high; something needs to be done, at once!

The same applies to your business.

So set aside time and establish performance indicators for all areas of your business. Understand that establishing performance indicators is critically important.

Remember, it’s hard to evaluate the performance of your business unless you can measure it against something.

Create Checklists

Next, create simple checklists to use when doing the wellness exam.

Create a checklist for every area of your business that will be part of the wellness exam. The checklist should include only the essentials of what needs to be measured and tracked.

Next, get some binders. Put all your checklists in the appropriate binder, grouped by performance areas of your business.

Create A Schedule

This is the only thing left to do, before conducting your first wellness check.

In all likeliness, you won’t do the entire wellness check all at once, in all areas of your business. More than likely you’ll devise a schedule when to rotate through the different areas of your business.

Decide how often you’re going to perform your wellness checks:

  • Weekly?
  • Monthly?
  • Quarterly?
  • Yearly?

Not sure what frequency or schedule to pick? Here are some suggestions:

As a rule of thumb, you’ll track the financials of your practice weekly, monthly, and quarterly; of course, you’ll be looking at different numbers and results for each time frame.

However, when performing your wellness exam, you’ll be evaluating the effectiveness of the financials being tracked.

  • Are the reports adequate?
  • Do they provide meaningful feedback?
  • Is there a need for additional, more detailed reporting?

If the numbers look good and your practice is doing well, you may decide to check the quality of your financial reporting on a quarterly basis.

But if the numbers don’t look good, you want to check the financials more often, so that reporting can improve and feedback is more meaningful.

Customer service is an area of business you may want to examine on a yearly basis, as long as there are no problems.

However, if you’ve had complaints and customer service is poor, increase the frequency of check-ups until the quality of customer service has improved.

Isn’t this a lot?

I know this seems like a lot to track, and in all reality it is.

Please don’t get overwhelmed, simply start small. Pick the most critical areas of your business and start implementing the wellness exam. Once you have an effective process in place, you can add on additional areas over time.

Remember, there is no “right” way of doing this. However, just being aware and paying attention to the individual parts of your business will lead to better outcomes.

Do you think the Wellness Exam is of benefit to your clinic? Can you see yourself implementing it?

Tell us; we’d love to know.

 

By Johanna Hofmann, MBA; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”

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