It was the classic environment where chaos reigned supreme.
There was a serious amount of money outstanding.
Didn’t take long to work out why.
The problem was the practice principal. He insisted everything had to be done immediately. His view was that the practice was a business. It must solve all problems immediately.
Resolving every single problem immediately didn’t allow sufficient thought as to what the problem really was. Nor did it allow consideration of the cause and allow time to consider the options.
Instead, identification of the problem was receiving less than a minutes attention. The cause of the problem was ignored. The solution to any problem was a “knee jerk reaction”
Any and all business require a plan. Without one it is difficult to track where the business is going. Simple said the practice principal. The plan is to see as more patients. Anything that prevents that is removed. It never occurred to him that the administration must be complete.
It should not be subject to a stream of quick-fix solutions and absolutely not when the cause of the problem hasn’t been established either.
Once the plan and goals were actually defined, the functions of the practice needed to be split in two. Primary and secondary. The identification of primary productive areas and secondary non-productive areas is done by using a value chain. Devised in the mid-’80s by Prof Michael Porter it is one of the simplest management tools ever. So, what is primary? What is secondary?
Primary: anything directly focused on your patients.
Secondary: time spent undertaking tasks that are not patient-focused.
Anything and everything that is secondary should be outsourced. Thus practice staff will be free to concentrate on their primary area: patients.
The time generated by adequate examination will allow the practice to speak to MORE patients. Increased consultations will follow.
It’s a case of concentrating on what the practice is there for. If you measure your practice against a value chain, you’ll discover the primary values are supported by secondary values.
Outsource secondary values and the practice will become more profitable.
Yet numerous private practices make the mistake of not distinguishing between primary and secondary functions. With the result, chaos reigns supreme. The practice doesn’t work as well as it should. For example, numerous patients were complaining the practice telephone wasn’t getting answered. They didn’t realise the staff was implementing yet another quick fix solution. And they didn’t care.
They telephoned another consultant instead.
The practice principal totally disagreed. Secondary “non-productive” areas should be ignored. Concentration on “primary productive” areas would take precedence. More patients. Always more patients. He still insisted on solving problems immediately.
Sadly his only answer was to blame everyone else. His 150 miles an hour approach might explain why the practice had gone through 4 practice managers in just over 32 months.
The above happened just over 2 years ago. The practice principal called me last week. Sadly it appears I was right all along.
He hadn’t avoided the CHAOS FIELD.