There are currently more than 230,187 medical practices in the U.S.
Do you run one of them? Do you have concerns about the efficiency of your practice? Do you worry that you’re not managing it in the best way possible?
If you need help running your practice and helping it to become more profitable, you may want to consider working with a consultant.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of hiring consultants to help with your medical practice. You’ll also get some tips to help you choose the right consultant (or consultants) for the job.
What Do Consultants Do?
In general, medical practice and healthcare consultants provide advice on business and administrative issues.
They usually don’t focus on clinical aspects of running a practice, but they do look at the way you’re running your practice to help you figure out ways to streamline processes, save money, and minimize human error.
Many practices hire consultants when they’re struggling to make ends meet, or when they’re getting ready to expand and want to ensure they’re doing everything in the most effective way possible.
Pros of Hiring Consultants
There are lots of reasons why you might want to hire a consultant. Some specific benefits they can provide to your practice include the following:
Get Help from an Expert
When you work with a consultant, you get to learn and receive advice from an industry expert. Ideally, your consultant will be someone who’s been in the healthcare industry for a long time and knows what it takes to help a practice run in the smoothest way possible.
Get an Objective Assessment
Consultants can also provide you with objective feedback on your approach and how you’re running your practice.
They’re paid to be honest, so they have no reason to lie to you about how things are going or what you can do to improve. This can be more helpful than asking your employees or patients what they think and what changes they’d like to see.
It does cost more money upfront to hire a consultant. Think about how much cheaper it is than paying for a salary and benefits for a new employee, though?
In many cases, it’s more cost-effective to work with a consultant on a short-term basis than it is to bring on a brand new full-time team member.
Get Practical Advice
Consultants can also provide you with practical and actionable tips on how you can save money and improve the way you run your practice.
Their success and future profitability depend on your practice doing well, so they’ll (in most cases) be very honest about what you can do (and how you should it) to make things better.
Cons of Hiring Consultants
At the same time, hiring a consultant is not always the wisest choice. In some cases, they can cause problems and present challenges to your practice. Here are some examples to consider:
When you bring on a consultant, you don’t have a lot of control over what they do or the types of changes they implement.
It’s true that you have the final say over what happens in your practice of course. However, if your consultant is recommending a lot of changes that you don’t agree with, it can be hard to reign them in.
Potential Tax Problems
If you hire a consultant who ends up staying on long-term and acting more like an employee, you may run into tax problems. You could find yourself in a situation where you’re having to pay more in taxes because you’ve, in essence, brought on another employee to your team without paying them like one.
Fees Can Add Up
In theory, a consultant is a short-term assistant who helps you improve the way your practice runs. In these situations, their fees are less than if you were to hire a new employee.
If they stick around for a long time, though, their fees can add up and you might end up spending more than if you had just hired a full-time employee.
Trouble Implementing Changes
If your consultant doesn’t give you a practical plan to follow when it comes to implementing their recommending changes, it can be hard to actually make lasting improvements to your practice. This defeats the entire purpose of hiring them in the first place.
Tips for Hiring the Right Consultants
After reviewing the pros and cons of hiring a consultant, do you think it’s a good decision to go ahead and hire one? If so, there are some strategies you can implement to ensure you’re working with the best consultant or consulting group.
Keep these tips in mind during the hiring process:
Consider Their Experience
Find out what kinds of healthcare practices the consultant has worked with in the past. This will help you figure out whether they’re a good fit for you.
Look at Their Credentials
Consider their credentials, too. What makes them qualified to provide advice to medical practice owners?
Assess Your Rapport
How well do you get along with them? Do they seem friendly and approachable? Are they open to your ideas and willing to address your questions and concerns?
Ask for References
Don’t forget to ask for references, too. Then, reach out to those references and find out what they have to say about a consultant or consulting group’s medical practice management expertise.
Did their past clients find them helpful? Would they recommend them to other practice owners?
Work With a Consultant Today
Now that you know more about the benefits of hiring consultants to help you evaluate and improve your medical practice, are you ready to take the plunge and hire one (or a group of them)?
If you’re interested in working with a consultant or consulting group, remember the hiring tips listed above. They’ll help you ensure you’re working with the best people possible.
If you want to learn more about improving your practice, check out some of our other medical practice management resources today.