Not All Goals Are Created Equal

medical billing mistakes

At Altus, we are big on goal-setting. We do it for ourselves, and we LOVE helping our clients do it. We’ve seen what happens when a practice takes the time to figure out what it wants and then works towards it.

Here are a few reasons we love goal-setting as a practice:

1. Goal-setting helps a team clarify what it really wants. Is it more patients? More margin? More revenue? More newborns?

2. Goals unite a team around a common purpose and direction.

3. Goals lead to accountability. They help a team see the big picture and how each individual plays a part in the success of the practice.

BUT not all goals are created equal.

If your goal is to “Grow my practice,” then we would push back on that a bit. How do you know when you’ve reached that goal? Is it when you bring in more revenue? Have more providers? Serve more patients? In short, we’d ask you to define “growth.”

That’s why we set goals that meet the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Specific.

Setting SMART goals has the potential to unite your team– from the providers, to the front-desk staff, to the clinical staff – in such a way that they see how they play a role in the company’s success. SMART goals also help you know when/if you’re making progress so you can adjust course when you’re not

Take as an example a practice that is aging and wants to “Get younger patients.” Pretty vague and hard to measure. What if instead, this practice made it their goal to increase newborn patients by 10% this year? Each department could then set its own mini-goals that would serve this greater purpose. Maybe it’s more provider meet-and-greets, maybe it’s more marketing on pregnancy websites, maybe it’s setting aside a newborn area of the waiting room making it an appealing place for parents to come.

Ground your goals in data.

Hand in hand with SMART goals is evaluating the data. It’s nearly impossible to set a specific and measurable goal without first knowing where things stand.

Maybe you are like a client of ours who thought they needed to hire a new provider because their current team was already at max capacity of 30 patients/day…or so they thought.

When we dug a little deeper, we realized they were basing that on memories of crazy busy days, instead of actual averages.

So we set a goal to increase their average from 25 patients to 28 patients per day by the end of the year. Once achieved, THEN they would explore adding a new provider.

We looked at the real numbers and set a goal they didn’t know they needed. A few simple changes later, they have more money and less cash-flow stress.

This goal met all the SMART criteria mentioned above. Furthermore, it united their team and gave them a clear direction and motivation, AND led to a 14% increase in revenue before even adding another provider.

Maybe your current pain point is an aging practice and a need for more newborns. Or too much time spent on the phone when you could be utilizing the portal. Whatever it is, progress won’t come without setting a data-informed and SMART goal first.

Does your practice set goals? We’d love to hear about some goals you are working towards or even goals you’ve recently achieved. We can also help you evaluate data to make SMART goals for your practice.