I had lunch last week with a consultant who was keen to grow his practice.
We’d known each other for a while. Indeed we had begun speaking when he had not achieved his 2017 goals. Because they were actually wishes. More money. Increased number of patients. Sadly even if they had been specific goals, the chances are he wouldn’t have achieved them anyway. Why?
In any business, 20% of what you do, results in 80 % of your profits. It does not have to be 80/20. It can be 60/40 or 70/30. But the overriding rule is that some things contribute more to a business than others. Flipping that on its head means 80% of what you are doing could only be resulting in 20% of your profits.
That is precisely what the private consultant surgeon was facing.
This consultant had private practicing rights in three different hospitals. On the two days a week he opened his clinics or attended theatre, he drove to hospital A. After this clinic, he got in his car and drove for an hour to Hospital B. Once his clinic at Hospital B was over, he got back in his car and drove for another hour to Hospital C. After that clinic he went home.
He also had a 6-week waiting time to see him at Hospital A.
At the very least, he was driving two hours each day. Once on a Tuesday and once on a Friday.
Which in my view, at his normal hourly rate of £250 per hour, equaled £500 worth of lost revenue. Twice a week equates to £1,000. Looked at another way, 20% of his day was generating him precisely ZERO.
His answer to the question WHY? was met with the standard – “that’s where the patients want to see me”
When the issue was looked at from another angle, however, it transpired the waiting list was highest at the hospital nearest to him. Hospital A. Indeed he saw the fewest patients at hospital C i.e. the one furthest away. He saw a few more patients at Hospital B than at Hospital C but nowhere near as many as at Hospital A. Hospital A incidentally, accounted for 70% of his referrals anyway.
In January 2018, he gave up his practicing rights in hospital C. Fearful of too much change – sensible man – he maintained his rights in Hospital C. The hour he’d saved by not driving to C was used to see more patients at Hospital A. The number of consultations increased. The additional revenue generated was very welcome.
Curiously such was his reputation that patients who would have seen him in Hospital C drove to see him in Hospital A.
In May of 2018, he gave up practicing at Hospital B. As before he used his “driving time” to see more patients at Hospital A. 70% of his referrals still came from hospital A. But patients could be seen much quicker. That in itself was attracting more patients. No more 6-week waiting list because he had an additional four hours a week to see them.
By the end of September 2018, he was seeing more patients than he had seen during the whole of 2017. He was also making more money.
He had stripped out anything that didn’t contribute to revenue
His targets were more specific. He had achieved his goals. Sort of.
He did not know if he had seen as many patients as he wanted to because he hadn’t set a specific number
He also didn’t know if he was making as much as he should have been because he hadn’t set a specific target.