To be an optometrist or ophthalmologist, you need to understand the human eye. But, to run an eye care clinic, you need to understand business management. As a practice owner, you’re not just a healthcare provider but also a team leader, a customer service champion, a data security guardian, and an efficiency engineer.
Properly managing an eye care clinic means delivering the kind of top-tier service that leaves people not just seeing better but feeling better too. And that’s hard to do well.
We want to share our experience to help those of you with concerns about outsourcing for an eye care clinic. First, we’ll share some signs that outsourcing could be needed. Then, we’ll talk about fears that could be holding you back. Let’s be real. It’s scary because outsourcing is a big decision. But, we have some insights on preventing those fears from becoming a reality. This information will help you contemplate whether a significant operational change is the right decision.
Recognizing the Signs for When to Outsource
If your business is running smoothly and your operational expenses are low, there’s not much motivation to outsource. So when should you consider outsourcing? Here are some telltale signs that a clinic is not providing top-quality care and is capital inefficient:
- Day-to-day operations are tedious because of an old system that needs updating. Outdated practice management software, electronic health records (EHR) systems, or communication platforms can create unnecessary bottlenecks.
- It’s a struggle to keep up with complex admin tasks. Insurance verification, medical coding, and regulatory compliance can be overwhelming, often diverting your focus from patient care to paperwork.
- There is no time to update reporting or website content impacted by recent regulatory changes. From privacy and security policies to quality reporting models and telemedicine regulations, remaining compliant while optimizing operations can be a daunting task.
- High Accounts Receivable (A/R) Days or other lagging indicators signify a slow process or inefficiency. High Accounts Receivable (A/R) days, a high rate of insurance claim denials, or consistently low patient satisfaction scores could be red flags, signaling a need for operational adjustments.
If these signs resonate with your current situation, consider outsourcing. For some clinic owners, there are understandable fears about outsourcing. We’ll discuss those fears in the next section and share how to avoid common pitfalls. It’s worth the effort. Our clinics have tackled these issues without falling into any traps, resulting in a 33% boost in revenue per patient and a 12% rise in patient exams. Your clinic can do it too.
Imagining the Worst Around Outsourcing
Outsourcing can feel like venturing into the unknown. It can feel like critical processes are slipping out of your hands. You might be worried about a lack of personal touch in patient interactions or a dip in the quality of patient care. We have shared these concerns. And we found it helpful to make a list of these fears so we can make a plan to avoid them.
Fear of Losing Control: As the leader of your clinic, it’s natural to want to keep all processes under your direct supervision. Outsourcing might seem synonymous with ceding control, which could lead to a perceived lack of transparency, difficulties in communication, and a disconnect from your team. This fear is rooted in the idea that if admin work isn’t done where you can physically see the person and the desk, there’s no way to know what is happening. Especially if your clinic is in the United States and your workers are over seas. This is a critical fear we’ll address in the next section.
Fear of Compromising on Quality: If you’ve built your clinic on the foundation of top-quality care, then you wouldn’t want outsourcing to ruin your reputation. The worry of an outsourced team not meeting these standards or losing the personal touch is common. This scenario could manifest if the outsourcing partner isn’t aligned with your clinic’s values or lacks the necessary training and expertise.
Fear of Data Security Breaches: Protecting patient data is paramount in today’s digital age. Outsourcing can raise concerns about whether your sensitive data would remain secure in the hands of an external party. An event like this could happen if the outsourcing partner doesn’t prioritize and ensure the implementation of robust data security measures.
Fear of Financial Instability: Financial prudence is crucial in managing any healthcare clinic. Outsourcing might raise fears of hidden costs, budget overruns, or lower returns on investment. And this fear holds weight if there’s a lack of transparent pricing models, contract clarity, or metrics to measure return on investment from the outsourcing partner.
As daunting as these fears might sound, it’s important to remember that they are not inevitable consequences of outsourcing.
At My Business Care Team, we recognize these fears because we’ve faced them too. In the following section, we’ll share our mitigation strategies to avoid these worst-case scenarios.
Avoiding the Worst-Case Scenarios
A clear understanding of potential fears surrounding outsourcing is a solid starting point for devising strategies to combat these concerns.
Regaining Control with Communication and Transparency: Overcoming the fear of losing control begins with selecting the right outsourcing partner. Seek a team that values transparency as much as you do and establishes clear communication channels from the outset. Regularly scheduled updates and easy access to reports can keep you in the loop, ensuring you maintain an oversight role even as you delegate daily operations. This helps restore control, allows you to manage your time more efficiently, and keeps the focus where it belongs: on your patients.
Ensuring Quality through Alignment of Values and Expertise: To ensure the quality of care stays consistent or better with outsourcing, choose a partner that shares your commitment to patient care and has demonstrated expertise in the field. The right partner would not only be familiar with the intricacies of optometry and ophthalmology but also share your vision for delivering top-quality care. Ask potential partners about their training process, quality assurance measures, and how they plan to customize their services to match your clinic’s unique needs.
Safeguarding Data with Robust Security Measures: One of the best ways to combat the fear of data breaches is by partnering with an outsourcing team that takes data security as seriously as you do. When evaluating potential partners, inquire about their data security protocols, compliance with healthcare regulations, and experience with healthcare data management. Ensure they use up-to-date software systems that prioritize data security and comply with HIPAA and other relevant laws.
Preserving Financial Stability with Transparent Pricing and ROI Metrics: A reliable outsourcing partner will offer transparent pricing models, clear contracts, and concrete metrics to measure return on investment. Before entering into an agreement:
- Discuss the pricing structure.
- Inquire about any potential hidden costs.
- Understand how your ROI will be determined.
A professional partner should be able to provide clear answers to these questions, offering you peace of mind and assurance that your financial stability is being safeguarded.
Outsourcing does involve a leap of faith, but it doesn’t have to be a leap into the unknown. By carefully choosing your outsourcing partner and establishing clear expectations from the beginning, you can effectively mitigate the fears associated with outsourcing. Let us share some actionable next steps to help make the outsourcing journey smoother for you.
Practical Next Steps
As you contemplate the move towards outsourcing, navigating the process can seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some practical next steps to get you started in the right direction:
Research Outsourcing Partners: Your outsourcing journey doesn’t have to be a solo one. You could work with a partner. Some of the common options people consider are:
- Do it yourself (DIY)
- Hiring virtual assistants (VA)
- Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
We plan to write about each of these approaches in more detail. From a high level, the DIY and VA approach could be good options for someone with a strong business management background. Whereas a BPO, like us, specializes in the specific needs of an optometry or ophthalmology clinic. If you decide that a partner is the best option for you, look for one with demonstrated expertise in your field, a clear communication strategy, robust data security protocols, and a proven track record of increasing revenues and improving efficiency for clinics similar to yours.
Gathering the Necessary Information: If you’re looking for partners and have made a shortlist, gather all the information you need to make an informed decision. This includes understanding their pricing model, getting details about their team and their training process, assessing their technology capabilities, and inquiring about their data protection measures. Ask for case studies or testimonials that showcase their impact. Transparency in these areas is key to building a trusting partnership.
We’ll have some articles in the future with more tips and best practices for clinics choosing the DIY or VA route.
Understanding the Transition Process: Outsourcing should not disrupt your clinic’s operations. Ask potential partners about their onboarding process. How will they ensure a smooth transition? What kind of support can you expect during this period? An experienced partner will have a structured plan to minimize disruption and facilitate a seamless shift to the outsourced model.
Setting Clear Expectations: Before you begin, it’s essential to set clear expectations. Discuss the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to you. Whether it’s reducing accounts receivable days, improving patient satisfaction scores, or increasing revenues, having agreed-upon metrics will allow you to measure the effectiveness of outsourcing and ensure alignment with your clinic’s goals.
Starting the Journey: Once you’ve selected an outsourcing partner, share with them as much information as possible about your clinic’s operations, systems, and objectives. This will help them tailor their services to your specific needs and ensure they become a truly integrated part of your team.
Taking the outsourcing plunge may seem like a significant step, but with careful planning and the right partner, it can lead to improved efficiency, greater revenue, and better patient care. My Business Care Team is here to be that partner for you, combining our industry expertise, tech-savvy solutions, and passion for quality patient care to help you navigate this journey.