I believe Lean management techniques can and should be applied to podiatry practices today. In today’s healthcare environment, providing high quality care in a fast and cost-efficient manner is a recipe for success. Doing more for your patients, your employees and yourself while using less money, time and energy is the way to go, don’t you think?
Private practice podiatrists should focus on five key areas when they are at work:
1. Do a great job. Help lots of people with their foot and ankle problems in a big way. This is the most important thing.
2. Produce high quality, timely medical records. This is often how a physician is judged (and paid).
3. Code correctly. You should receive proper reimbursement for for medically necessary podiatry services (or private payment), and nothing more.
4. Achieve high patient satisfaction. The public is going to figure out that it is possible to pay someone to garner all positive reviews on Google. Strive to have all your patients leave your office with what they came for, delivered in a kind, competent, hygienic and professional manner. I still think there will soon be a outside entity that does quality reporting for consumer groups and other interested parties that looks past the “5 star” hype.
5. Grow the business. Attract more of your favourite type of patients (the ones that you uniquely can help the best). If you have fun doing what you do best, your patients will have fun obtaining wellness from you.
Ideally, private practice podiatrists will focus on the above five items as the highest and best use of their time. These are the five core functions of a doctor in private practice. We should focus on getting better and better at these five things. But, what about all the other important factors that go into creating a medical practice that delivers high quality care in a compliant, fast and cost-efficient manner? That is where out-sourcing comes in.
When birds fly in formation, they go faster but use less energy. That is what Lean management is all about. For the birds to do their best, they must come together and fly in formation. In today’s healthcare environment, that is what I recommend small practice podiatrists do.