When considering the prospect of bringing in a 3rd party consultant into your healthcare practice, cost is one of the top considerations most practices think about. What if I could tell you how to get a healthcare consultant at no cost? What if I could tell you how the engagement could actually make you money? Now that I have your attention, let’s look at some key areas to focus on when searching for the right firm to assist your practice.
First you want to consider what your actual need is. Are you looking for revenue cycle assistance? Or do you need a healthcare IT specialist? Maybe it is pre or post EHR implementation consultant? Search only for consultants in the area in which you need assistance. Talk to your colleagues in your area, ask for referrals. The point is to look for an expert in the field and not to waste your time speaking with firms that cannot help you.
Along with expertise comes experience. How long have they been working in that industry? What kind of training do they have? What is the education level of the consultants that will be working on the project? All these questions have much to do with what the Fair Market Value (FMV) for the level of consultant you will be hiring. For example an Executive Level consultant may run you in the low to mid $200’s per hour based on their experience level. Some projects will include a mixture of experience levels, executive and associate levels, which could save you a considerable amount of money.
Now, let’s talk about how to get a consultant at no cost to you. You may have heard the old saying “you need to spend money, to make money”? Well often this is the case in the consulting industry. Let me explain by sharing a true experience with a recent client. The client approached us for a revenue cycle assessment. Medical Management Services (MMS) had the two main ingredients listed above to meet their needs. MMS had the expertise in the practice management software they were currently using, and MMS also had experienced revenue cycle consultants available for the project.
Now that I have set the stage for the project, here is how MMS helped this particular client. MMS asked for an initial retainer fee up front. This is typical in the consulting industry. MMS sent our consultants on site to begin the project. During the first week of the engagement, our consultants uncover several hundred thousands of dollars left sitting on the table! Not only did that money cover the cost of the project, but uncovered a major continuous stream of revenue that was now coming in the door. This client actually made money on this project.
The bottom line is, when you are seeking help from an outside consultancy, consider more than just pricing. First, do your due diligence by asking the right questions. Then verify their experience, verify their expertise, and check references. I also recommend meeting the firm face to face. There is just something to be said about meeting a person face-to-face that helps you to connect with that person before inviting into your practice.