For Doctors: Try These Tips to Boost Sagging Practice Revenues

Reimbursement for healthcare services is declining with no end in sight. That forces you to be more efficient than ever with your resources and to innovate new ways to increase your medical practice profits.

Tips to increase revenue for doctors

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As you strive to come up with a leaner, meaner model for your practice, here are a few tips:

1. Improve your coding

Statistics show that providers can increase their medical practice revenue by as much as 20 percent if they can code better. Doctors may make coding errors or code too conservatively. To avoid this, it’s critical to devote more time to coding instruction. Research suggests that short, frequent coding trainings are more valuable than exhaustive but infrequent trainings. If you have provider meetings once per month, consider devoting 15 minutes of those meetings to coding education.

2. Streamline your scheduling

Scheduling inefficiencies can reduce your overall income significantly (some studies suggest by up to 30 percent). Watch for these scheduling problems in your practice:

  • Doctors spending too much time with patients and getting behind
  • Patient no-shows
  • Providers arriving late for work
  • Inadequate staffing during high-demand times (and over-staffing during low seasons)
  • Too much time scheduled for lunch
  • Limited practice hours that don’t accommodate different scheduling needs

Analyze your schedule and make necessary adjustments. Could your providers and staff shift their leave time to non-peak seasons? Could you offer evening or weekend hours to better suit patients’ scheduling needs? Are you reminding patients about upcoming appointments to reduce no-shows? How could you help your providers better adhere to the appointment schedule? Discuss these issues at upcoming staff meetings, and work out solutions to improve your efficiency.

3. Educate your front desk

The front desk employees are the first people that patients talk to—whether on the phone or in person. Are they friendly and welcoming? If not, they could be turning away potential patients. Do they understand all of your services so that they can tout them to patients who express interest? Your front office can be a very effective marketing tool if they know how to properly pitch your practice offerings. And finally, is your staff educated about the insurance system? Problems occur when front desk employees enter incorrect insurance information in your practice’s computer system—or fail to collect adequate information from the patient. When these problems occur, the insurance department will become bogged down as they mop up other people’s errors.

4. Diversify your services

You can increase your medical practice profits by adding more services. For example, you could offer medical spa options such as dermal fillers, laser hair removal, body contouring, laser treatments to minimize age spots, and more. One big benefit of these services is that they are primarily cash-pay.

Another example of a profitable ancillary service is allergy treatment. This has great earning potential because 20 percent of the population has allergies. Rather than prescribing a litany of medications to your patients or referring them to an allergist and losing continuity of care, you can prescribe allergy immunotherapy. Allergy immunotherapy is available through allergy shots or allergy drops (sublingual immunotherapy). The latter option is safer than shots and can be dosed at home. Unlike pills, nasal sprays, and inhalers, immunotherapy treats the underlying disease instead of just the symptoms.

Turnkey allergy treatment programs, such as the AllergyEasy program, can provide you with clinical training as well as all necessary supplies for testing and treatment. With only a modest investment of time and resources, you could have an allergy treatment program up and running to provide long-term relief for your allergic patients and increase your medical practice revenue.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.