For Family Practice clinics to not only survive but be successful is a formidable task. It requires innovation, clear focus and a distinct understanding of the purpose and goals of a FP clinic. There must be a well thought out strategic plan and then the administrative discipline to work that plan for success. Some features of a FP clinic must be simply no brainers and these are the features that are essential.
- Non- physician providers – for a FP clinic to be successful, NP (nurse practitioners) must be a part of the equation. And their roles should be clearly defined as well as hours. A part-time NP can be considered especially during flu season in conjunction with the full time NP….but in general a full time NP brings the most bang for the buck.
- An EHR with a strong patient portal that encourages patients to get off the phones and onto the computer. Most young families are very computer savvy and welcome mobile access to medical records, appointment scheduling and provider to patient emailing.
- Flexible office hours – being open when patients are available is a huge plus for FP clinics. This may mean after hours clinic a couple of days a week and some Saturday hours.
- Being pro-active with MCR patients – the MCR population is growing and all of them will need a primary provider to coordinate care. While the role of the Primary provider may become smaller for MCR patients as other specialists take lead roles; there is nonetheless a way to be successful with these patients. Flu shots, prescription coordination, clear plans for preventive care and testing will bring dollars into the practice. That means the practice needs a way of establishing the organization of these programs and making sure MCR aged patients are informed.
- Strong referral protocols – one of the challenges of FP is knowing what to treat and what to refer. Each practice must have strong guidelines and stay within those guidelines. Moving quickly and efficiently from one patient to another is the hallmark of a successful FP clinic.
There are many ways a FP clinic can increase revenue, cut costs, and remain successful in this challenging and changing healthcare environment. The trick is having the right leadership to get your practice there. Sometimes going outside the routine “hire a manager” is needed. Consulting with an expert should pay for itself!!