Maximizing Efficiency in Large Chiropractic Practices
Maximizing efficiency in a large chiropractic practice is the foundation for a well-run, profitable business. While small chiropractic offices may be able to be lax in some areas, large practices have many more demands. There are more patients to see, more claims and bills to handle, and more headaches overall.
According to the 2021 Physician Report, medical offices that saw increased growth in the previous year said that they did so by seeing more patients. They also reported increased operating expenses, more time on uncompensated tasks, higher overhead, and the burden of extra paperwork. Basically, the challenges in chiro practices are only compounded as the business grows.
Applying Lean Principles in Healthcare
Maximizing efficiency in a large chiropractic practice requires a deep dive into people and processes. You need the right people within your organization to drive the clinic, but you also need to refine your processes to optimize efficiency.
In manufacturing, the lean methodology is widely acknowledged as a strategy to provide continuous process improvement. The same strategy can be applied in healthcare for maximizing the efficiency of large chiropractic practices.
What Is the Lean Methodology in Healthcare?
The lean methodology in healthcare is a set of principles to reduce waste while improving the quality of care and patient satisfaction. By streamlining systems and processes, chiropractors can spend less time on paperwork and more time on patient care. Also, staff members working efficiently will be more productive.
The Five Principles of Lean
The lean methodology is made up of five key principles that can be applied to any healthcare provider or medical practice:
- Define value.
- Map the value stream.
- Create flow.
- Establish pull.
- Pursue perfection.
Defining value requires evaluating the value and cost of everything that you do in relation to profit margins. The goal is to understand what drives costs and what drives profits. This understanding can help you decide which areas of your practice need improvement.
Map the Value Stream
The next step is to map each process and discard non-value-creating activities. For example, while you need to gather patient information for intake, having the patient write down the information and then requiring your front desk staff to enter it into your practice management system is inefficient. You can streamline the process with online intake that automatically populates within your electronic health record (EHR) platform.
Within each process, you can break down the steps to look for efficiencies and opportunities to streamline or consolidate functions. Maximizing efficiency in large chiropractic practices can occur when you consolidate claims and billing, for example, rather than handling it at individual offices.
Establishing pull has to do with inventory management. In production, it’s the practice of limiting the number of materials that you need until just before they’re needed. This avoids tying up capital in materials or products. In large chiropractic offices, there’s a fair amount of inventory. From equipment and products to durables and office supplies, most practices tend to over-purchase, “just in case.”
By managing inventory more efficiently, you can often find significant savings. This is an area where centralizing your purchasing and management and negotiating preferred rates with suppliers can improve margins.
The first four steps of the lean methodology create efficiencies. The goal of this step is to realize that the pursuit of perfection means you are always re-evaluating each of the first four steps for process improvements. Even the smallest improvement in efficiency can create significant savings.
Maximizing Efficiency at Large Chiropractic Practices with ChiroSpring
ChiroSpring's chiropractic practice management software can reduce much of the manual work in your large practice.
For example, the EHR components of ChiroSpring enable you to digitize all your records and eliminate paperwork. This makes everything that you need available at any time in any location. You can unify care across different locations and consolidate many functions.
Not all chiropractic software handles multiple locations or large practices well. In many cases, the software is merely duplicated for each location. Even if the software is cloud-based, it may use separate databases, which means information is siloed for each location. Using a single EHR/practice management platform with one database provides true multi-location support. There’s no need to enter patient information twice, even if patients visit different locations.
ChiroSpring makes it easy to toggle between locations, access any information in any location, and do roll-up reporting. With one system for managing your practice, you can be more consistent in your processes and procedures, providing greater consistency in care. It also enables you to consolidate work functions across locations or shift workloads to different locations depending on patient volume. In many cases, maximizing efficiency in large chiropractic practices means you can reduce staff or hours.
Features like online intake and visual check-in/check-out reduce patient wait times and make your front desk staff more efficient. The patient flow module enables you to manage patient routing and signal chiropractors when patients are ready. Patients can be color-coded so providers know at a glance whether they’re here for a consultation or an adjustment.
Auto-SALT capability and SOAP notes that automatically generate billing and claim forms can save significant amounts of time for staff. Billing and claims can be consolidated for large practices with online processing and sending claims to the clearinghouse using direct, secure FTP. Reconciling ERA takes only a few seconds.
ChiroSpring is also a scalable solution that can grow with you. If you have a large practice and you’re not using one database for all locations, your ability to grow is limited.
ChiroSpring is an all-in-one practice management and EHR system built specifically for chiropractors to help them regain face-time with patients, spend less time on back-office tasks, maintain a limited staff, and save operational costs.
To see how ChiroSpring can help you simplify how you manage your practice, reach out to one of our specialists today!