Control the Controllable and You’ll Manage Change Successfully
So it looks as though we may have dodged things temporarily with the implementation of ICD-10, but if it isn’t ICD-10, it will be something else, changes from insurers, new guidelines on this or that or another new regulation buried in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The pace and demands of change today are like never before and there is nothing that indicates it is going to normalize or slow. In fact based on what we’ve seen over the last few years, I would expect practitioners to continue to shoulder the brunt of change.
But here’s a new way to think about it that WILL make practicing and managing your practice easier – Control the Controllable. For better or worse, we have little say in most of the changes coming our way. What we do control though is how we operate our day-to-day operations, what my business partner likes to call the ‘blocking and tackling.’
ICD-10 is made scarier by the fact that most practitioners see it as another thing to pile on top of an already stressful day that involves seeing patients and managing staff among many other things associated with being a small business owner. I realize it isn’t easy to step back, evaluate and change, but it is worthwhile. This is where consultants are helpful. Independent eyes with expertise around process and improvement that visit periodically to enforce improvement across the practice that frees capacity to handle change.
When you are proficient at blocking and tackling such things as patient flow, scheduling, billing, insurance authorization through good processes, when you encounter change it is less intimidating and disruptive. Operating a well-run practice will allow you to see some of the changes for what they really are — steps in the right direction or a better direction versus just another requirement that will make my life more difficult.
In order to get started, determine what is day-to-day blocking and tackling for your practice. If your business is patient care then it’s the general processes involved in patient care. Patients have to schedule appointments, check-in, be prepped for the doctor, receive care and check-out. These blocking and tackling processes do not even account for all the processes that must occur after the visit to ensure proper payment but I think you get where I’m going. If these processes are sound, capturing additional data requirements during check-in for example are more easily accounted for and implemented. They become less daunting and disruptive.
Once you recognize your day-to-day blocking and tackling you can begin the process of identifying what is constraining these areas and implement process improvements to eliminate waste.
To learn more about the 7 Wastes and Lean Practice Management, visit our website.
Chuck Smith is a Managing Partner at Practice CoPilot.