Grow your medical practice, pain free!
“Growing pain is an unavoidable part of growth”, we’re all told so. It’s easy to simply believe this old saying and suffer through growth stage. It’s a bit hard, however, to pause and think if there’s anything that you could do to ease the pain?
Why growth hurts? You may wonder.
Well, I would like to take a step back and ask a different question: “does growth hurt?”
It does, at least physically! I’ve seen my 8-year-old son complaining about pains that are only explained as growing pains by his pediatrician. I have also witnessed companies that complain about various things, as if they’re suffering from actual pains, especially when they are growing!
Does everybody suffer?
Nope! Just like any physical pain that can be exclusive to some ethnicity, races, genders, etc…, growth can be a source of great discomfort for some and an enjoyable experience for some other businesses.
Now, why do they suffer?
Similar to a human body, a business relies on many elements to function. For a business to be at its optimal health, these elements need to work in harmony. A malfunctioning organ can affect the entire body. Out of all the elements that are required to maintain health, some can be more important than others during the growth stage. The more important the organ is to your business’s growth, the more painful growth can be if that organ does not function well. Sometimes, however, the organ is simply needed to support another part of the body, such as muscles that are needed to support bones or the joints that connect them. Bone growth can be painful when the delicate balance of bone, muscle, and joint growth isn’t maintained.
What about business functions?
21st century business ,in my humble opinion, relies on its information technology and knowledge-base to grow. Many businesses’ only output is derived from the collective knowledge and experience of their workforce in practice. For example, a medical office specialized at cancer treatment is an institution that puts the knowledge and experience of its doctors and medical staff in practice to help patients. You might argue that it is the medication that ultimately treats the disease and kills the bad cells. But, let’s not forget that one requires high levels of expertise in the field of chemistry and medical to formulate and to prescribe the medication respectively.
Information technology, however, is a recent addition to the world of business. Sharing of information was simply not possible 40-50 years ago and that’s why innovations were introduced at painfully low speeds for centuries. Today, we’re able to access and share information at the speed of light. That’s how a research study in rural village of China, for example, can help a U.S. researcher find and introduce a medical breakthrough in the treatment of a disease.
Your medical practice relies on you and your team’s knowledge to treat illnesses and to find better ways to serve the patients. Your practice, just like any other business, also relies on the ability of your team members to have access and communicate the right information within the environment and with your patients. That’s where information technology can truly serve as your business’s nervous system, supporting every other function to achieve optimal results.
As important as these two business functions are they must grow together to provide optimal results. Majority of growing pain cases are the result of the information and human capital growth without the necessary IT infrastructure to support that growth. That’s how these challenged businesses, especially medical practices, produce at levels that are below their capacity. Many clinics who receive bad reviews on rating sites have some of the most knowledgeable doctors on duty. A simple analysis of those negative reviews show classic symptoms of poor IT functionality. Some of the complains I read on Yelp about medical practices are:
“They could not find my records”=They don’t have the right information system in place!
“I waited for 2 hours! Can’t they set appointments based on the doctor’s’ availability?”=They could not share information among themselves!
“My prescription was never sent to the pharmacy”=The information was not properly transmitted to all the nodes!
“I had told them about my medications…”=They failed to put the information in the right place!
“I was charged for the service that is supposed to be free, I never go there again!”=The information sent to the billing was inaccurate!
“My identity is stolen!”=They could not store my information securely!
There’s a lot that IT can do to remedy these issues and to support your growing business.
Don’t let your business suffer from the growing pain when you can avoid it. The right tools can make wonders happen. Your initial investment can be limited to a few hundred dollars but the ROI is priceless. Your team, your patients, and your society can all benefit from the expertise that you make available to them via the power of information technology.