• Mitchell Walmsley

How to make Incremental Improvements in your Practice

I am a big believer in the importance of business planning for your medical or dental practice.

In today’s Blog I wanted to discuss a particular philosophy that may assist you in continuously enhancing the quality and efficiency within your practice.

WHAT IS KAIZEN?

Kaizen is a Japanese principle, which can be loosely translated as ‘continuous improvement’. It is a long-term approach to business that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality.

Kaizen can be applied to any kind of work or industry and it is the responsibility of every team member.

HOW DOES IT APPLY TO A MEDICAL OR DENTAL PRACTICE?

So how can you apply that principle to build a better medical practice?

Well, it all starts with business planning. As part of the business plan (including SWOT analysis) for your practice, you should have identified areas for improvement, such as:

  1. training

  2. policies and procedures

  3. systems

  4. etc

Your business plan then becomes the starting point to set quarterly goals, identifying which area of your practice you want to enhance.

HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT KAIZEN IN YOUR PRACTICE?

Once you have set your quarterly goals, they need to be translated into quarterly action plans, with relevant responsibilities allocated to various team members.

For example, let’s say you want to focus on staff training. This particular goal could consist of the following steps:

  1. Identify skills and knowledge gaps of team members – interview or assess every team member – identify essential skills/knowledge required – map skills and knowledge gaps per team member

  2. Research suitable courses and training per team member

  3. Establish ideal training plan and timeline per team member

  4. Etc.

It is essential that you then allocate the responsibility for these action steps to appropriate team members, so everyone becomes engaged in the continuous enhancement of the quality of patient care and efficiency of the practice.

In addition to this structured process, you should also encourage your team to propose ideas for improvement, which could be part of your weekly or fortnightly team meeting.

SUMMARY

A practice that is not growing, is in danger of becoming less competitive, viable and financially rewarding.

If you would like some assistance with your practice business planning, please feel free to contact me via mitchell@affluenceca.com.au

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