With the recent accelerated increase in demand for digital offerings, aesthetic medicine practice management has become increasingly complex as conducting business virtually can make ensuring optimal patient care and satisfaction challenging. Many factors contribute to the efficacy and efficiency of dermatologic care both in-person and online, however, a select few can be used to easily optimize your practice.
According to Jeremy Youse, MD, founding partner, medical director, and practicing dermatologist at VitalSkin Dermatology who explained his approach in a recent interview with Dermatology Times, there are 5 tasks to prioritize for a more efficient practice. These include scheduling and staffing arrangements, maintaining inventories of equipment, supplies, and technology, managing clinical preferences, as well as developing individualized patient treatment plans.
1. Scheduling and Time Management
Many dermatologists operate as both clinicians and business owners leading to limited flexibility in their schedules. As such, schedules need to be constructed with the goal of serving as many patients as possible while also ensuring high-quality care. This includes scheduling additional time for patients who require extra attention and have complex needs, as well as scheduling those with more common issues that can be easily cared for using telehealth services.
In the article, Dr. Youse highlights the importance of scheduling time for administrative tasks as well, such as accounting, marketing, and payroll. Having the right amount of control over scheduling can help clinicians avoid burnout and support a healthy work-life balance while also guaranteeing that necessary tasks are completed.
2. Staffing and Team Members
A large part of a practice’s success relies on the employment of the right team; finding the right staff members that align with both your personal goals and those of your practice is critical to meeting patient expectations and guaranteeing a smoothly running office. At the same time, employing a team member that is not a good fit for your practice can make daily operations more challenging, disrupt team unity, and lower overall patient satisfaction.
“Knowing when it’s time for a team member to transition to a different role or leave the team is just as important as finding the team members,” Dr. Youse told Dermatology Times. “Most people don’t enjoy firing people, but when it comes to the best interests of our teams and practices, having the ability to shape our teams to our liking is key.”
3. Equipment, Supplies, and Technology
Dermatologists and their aesthetic medicine practices require the right tools and technology to effectively treat patients and be successful. Thus, another area of importance is the ability to control and maintain a stable inventory of equipment, supplies, and technology. The tools necessary will be determined by the area of a practice’s focus; those performing more clinical dermatology services will need different supplies than those focusing specifically on aesthetic procedures.
Dr. Youse stresses the need for controlling a realistic budget that allows you to keep an appropriate inventory while maintaining a steady cash supply. This can include ensuring staff members are taking advantaging of purchasing discounts and not buying supplies outside of purchasing contracts. To sustain a practice’s financial success, he emphasizes the importance of overall control and awareness of spending patterns.
4. Clinical Preferences
All healthcare professionals tend to prefer performing certain procedures over others and having the freedom to do so is important to overall job satisfaction. Dr. Youse encourages making time to see the patients you want to see and to practice the specialty areas you are passionate about, educating yourself in the subject to become as efficient as possible and make it a part of routine daily activity.
“I have a strong interest in Mohs surgery, but also enjoy the mix and variety of patients I see with medical dermatology problems,” he told Dermatology Times. “Having the options and flexibility to see both surgical and medical dermatology patients is important to me.
5. Individualized Patient Treatment Planning
Another key task to navigate in practice management is the development of personalized treatment plans that are tailored to each patient’s unique characteristics and needs. To assure the best outcomes and recovery for patients, clinicians should aim to individualize treatment plans instead of assuming a cookie-cutter approach. Despite barriers such as pre-authorizations and insurance denials, the aesthetic medicine practice will greatly benefit from maintaining treatment plan control that prioritizes each patient.
According to Dr. Youse, knowing which aspects of practice management you do not want to control is equally as important as identifying the tasks you want to personally handle. Areas of the business such as accounting, marketing, policy compliance, insurance contract negotiation, and other more mundane administrative tasks are all critical aspects of daily operations, however, they may not be as exciting for practicing dermatologists. Finding the right partners and staff members to support you is crucial; these trusted advisors can help take on such tasks while allowing you to grow the practice in the direction of your passion.
By prioritizing the aforementioned factors, aesthetic medicine professionals can ensure their practice is functioning with optimal efficiency, yielding successful results, and continuing to pursue new levels of patient satisfaction.