Guide To Setting Your Clinic’s 2022 Goals
As with other aspects of your medical practice, setting goals is a balancing act of fiscal responsibility, keeping up with the latest medical innovations, and most importantly, continuing to make your patients the main priority.
While these are important general ideals, setting goals is all about the specifics, especially when going into 2022. What are the current healthcare gaps in the community? How can you let your service area know what makes your practice stand out? What types of technology should the practice invest in to add the maximum therapeutic benefit? How can all of these goals be achieved within a framework of keeping the practice financially stable?
Kickstarting the Process
Before you can begin creating your goals for the New Year, it’s essential to gather information on a company-wide basis.
Start by talking to your department heads to “take the temperature” of varying objectives in all your departments, from your medical team to Human Resources and the billing department. If you have important consultants, this would also be a good time to hear from them on issues such as vendor selection.
It’s also important to set up a facility-wide polling system, rather than hearing only from the managers. Depending on the size of your practice, the process could be as informal as brainstorming at a group retreat or as structured as a questionnaire distributed to multiple departments.
More important than what polling method you use is making sure you hear from everyone who works at or with the practice, from bookkeepers to the janitorial staff, as well as the direct health care providers.
Also, consider emailing current patients and asking them to fill out a questionnaire. You can also put a questionnaire on your website for a limited period. Make sure to add a line for online visitors to specify whether they’re current or prospective patients.
Knowing What To Ask
If you find that any initial feedback is too vague, it can help to add prompts to your questions.
For example, you might inquire what role employees and patients feel the practice currently holds in the community and whether that role needs to be fine-tuned in 2022. What makes the practice better than others, or potentially not as strong? What services do patients and visitors most often ask to be added to the practice, or at least expanded? Is there anything the practice offers that hasn’t been well-received?
Once you have a collection of goals, it’s time to evaluate that data. Determine which objectives came up most often across the different groups you’ve asked. That doesn’t automatically mean that the most popular ones need to be given the highest priority, but it will give you a baseline going forward.
Finally, separate these suggestions into long-term and short-term goals. Many of these will sort themselves into obvious categories — upgrading the break room coffee maker is short-term, while building a new wing is long-term — but others may call for one final brainstorming session so that more people can weigh in on creating the final priorities list.
Interpreting the Feedback
Because you’ll be getting feedback from a range of sources, the next step in the process may well be to contextualize some of the comments into easily understood goals for 2022.
Chances are, the responses will fall into at least some of these larger categories:
- Expand staff training and certification opportunities.
- Invest in new therapeutic technologies.
- Replace outdated office equipment.
- Recruit new staff for specific gaps in the practice.
- Attract new patients.
- Improve experience ratings from current patients.
- Persuade more patients to come in for preventative screenings.
- Create more opportunities for patient monitoring.
- Upgrade billing systems.
- Manage available funds more efficiently.
- Add an agreed-upon number of new services.
- Upgrade the practice’s website and/or make it more user-friendly.
- Add cash-based services that can free up funding when insurance reimbursements lag.
Remember, you’re not setting goals to boost the morale of your employees and patients, nor are you using the new goals as a way of communicating your “brand” or “general mission” to the community. Instead, these need to be objectives you intend to accomplish, whether in the upcoming month or as part of the five-year plan.
How can you make sure that your goals are realized? First, do the hard work of assigning objectives to the right department. The reality is that your medical practice will need all hands on deck to make crucial improvements.
Work with your department leaders to set realistic time frames for each goal that their department is responsible for. Encourage them to not only let you know the progress they’ve made but to make sure that their own team members also feel part of the “accountability chain.”
Aspen Laser is proud of its history of helping medical practices achieve many of their therapeutic goals through its wide range of programs and products. Let us know how we can best help you meet your objectives as a healthcare provider.