• Mitchell Walmsley

New Year, New Mindset: What are your Medical Practice Goals for 2019?

After the rush of the new year has come and gone, it’s time to take stock and reset your goals for the year ahead. Reviewing your practice’s finances and clinical benchmarks, reflecting on your growth and goals met, and planning improvement and changes for the new year can give your medical or dental practice the direction it needs to stay competitive and agile within the market. The same goes for your personal goals too, how can you expect to be better in the new year if you don’t reflect on your progress and re-plan? This article aims to help you reset your targets for 2019.

REVIEW – LOOK AT THE NUMBERS

It’s easy to think about the direction of where you want to take your practice in the new year, the difficult part is knowing how to get there. To help you successfully plan to achieve those goals, you first need to review your current situation.

Take a look at your monthly, quarterly, and yearly data. Areas you can look at include:

  1. Finances – the number of monthly patient visits, patient charges, cash inflow, adjustments, total accounts receivable (A/R), A/R broken down by number of ageing days, average days sales outstanding (DSO), number of patient statements sent (including the percentage of who go to collections and who pay), and patient balance of total A/R. (Discover 3 financial decisions that will shape your future)

  2. Staff – what was your turnover rate? How many objectives were met? Are your staff members on track?

  3. Personal – what do you do for yourself? If you like to go to the gym, how many times did you go last year? Once you look at your current situation, you may be pleasantly surprised or disappointed by the health of your practice. Either way, you are now aware of how well you are actually doing and you can make plans towards improving your situation.

REFLECT – WHAT WENT WELL OR NOT SO WELL?

Once you have reviewed your current situation, now is the time to reflect. Reflection is not to be underestimated or dismissed as it is often in these moments that we have the most clarity.

Take some real time to reflect on your business and yourself. Areas you can reflect on include:

  1. Last year’s goals – did you reach these goals? If not, why not? Is this the direction you still want to move your practice towards? If not, why do you want to change direction?

  2. Weaknesses – what didn’t work this year and why not? Were deadlines realistic? Were expectations communicated properly? Were staff given enough support? How can you improve employee productivity and satisfaction? Are your current systems and programs limiting work? Where was time wasted? Could your patients be happier with the care and service you provide?

  3. Strengths – what areas are going well in your practice? Can you apply this to any other area? Can you make further improvements?

  4. Personal – what could you do better this year? Do you need to improve your communication, time-management, or leadership skills? Do you need to focus on your personal health so that you can be more focused and effective at work? The time you take to reflect will either result in you coming up with solutions, big or small, that will lead to big and positive changes, or it will leave you with key questions and problematic areas that you will need to look into further. Either way, this time is valuable as it gives you a clear direction when resetting your targets for the new year.

RE-PLAN – WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2019?

You have reviewed the current situation of your practice and you have reflected on why and how you got there as well as where you want to go, now it’s time to create your strategy for how you plan to get there. Here are a few areas to consider in the planning stage:

  1. Set a few key goals – from the overall vision that you have of where you want to take your practice, come up with 2 or 3 key goals this year that will help bring you closer to that vision. Make sure they are clear and realistic and communicate these to everyone in your practice.

  2. Seek professional advice – in areas where a professional can save you time and help you make positive changes, you should seek their advice so that you can get back to growing your practice. Consider areas where you could benefit from some help.(Need help creating your business plan?)

  3. Factor in personal goals – your own personal goals can be extremely beneficial to your business, so factor in personal time to maintain your health as well as learning and developing new skills. A personal goal could be as simple as exercising for 30 minutes a day, reading for 20 minutes a day to keep up with changes in your industry, or even delegating more work.(See our tips for a profitable and enjoyable year ahead!)

  4. Plan your strategy – you have your yearly goals, now it’s time to work backwards and set realistic monthly and quarterly goals to help you meet them. During this stage, also think of how you can motivate staff to achieve these goals such as how you will celebrate when certain milestones have been reached. You can also include training and development plans as well as plans to update your employee benefits package.(How can you improve your practice?)

During this stage, it’s important that you’re honest and realistic with your time frame. There is nothing worse than starting the year off with goals that are impossible to meet; all that leads to is a drop in morale and productivity as staff feel like they are always behind.

Read: How to Put Together a Budget for Your Practice

NEW YEAR, A NEW MINDSET

What are you looking to achieve in 2019 from a business and personal point of view? What are your new targets for the year ahead? In order to achieve your goals, you need to take the time to sit down and think about what those actually are in the first place. Only then can you effectively review, reflect and re-plan to propel your practice forward.

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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