Let’s start with the premise that no one can know everything.
That’s why, from an administrative perspective, it’s so important to build relationships with outside professionals who can supplement, or supply, the skills your core team may lack. These professionals should meet three criteria: They must be trustworthy, have deep experience in guiding physician practices, and be highly knowledgable in their field of expertise, as it pertains to your specific needs.
Start Building Your Professional A-Team
In many cases, a team of effective outside professionals can be assembled by just one person— and often, that person is your trusted financial advisor. Whether they’re an accountant, an auditor, or a consultant, it is critically important that this person understands the entire scope of running your current practice’s financial operation.
Why am I stressing your current practice?
Because physician owners commonly assume that relationships they formed when their practice was first created, or very small, can serve them equally well as they grow. In fact, this is rarely the case. Many practices have outgrown their early advisors, but fail—through a combination of loyalty and inertia—to build new relationships until trouble has developed.
In addition to your trusted financial advisor, you will need to develop a great banking relationship. This means identifying a high-level person at the bank who can (a) advise you on the best banking products to support your practice’s size and goals, and (b) can help you get things done.
Look for a bank with state-of-the-art technology that can support all aspects of your operations—everything from collecting payments from your patients when they walk into the office, to paying your bills online. They should make it easy to download and reconcile your banking transactions during the month, as well as offering other efficiencies.
For your insurance, you need a great broker, who can bring you the best possible insurance products at the lowest price.
And you need a legal team that is deeply knowledgeable in physician practice law. Your industry, as you know, is highly regulated; navigating it requires specialized knowledge.
So if you’ve been making do with lawyers who aren’t healthcare experts, or with your cousin’s bookkeeping skills, now is the time to reconsider that strategy and acquire a team that can support your ultimate goals.
Your A-Team Should Be a Professional Network
As you begin to upgrade your advisory relationships, it’s wise to create a network of professionals. Ideally, you want to retain key players who are used to working together and have supported many other physician practices.
A network, or team, with a successful track record comes in ready to hit the ground running. They can immediately discern what kind of help your practice needs, and work together to coordinate your services. There’s no learning curve, no wasted time and energy, and a greater chance of ongoing success when the people on your advisory team have already learned to work together.
In contrast, individual outside professionals may come with a strong skillset; but if they don’t have a preexisting working relationship, they will not be able to deliver seamless services—and you could even find yourself in a situation where your professionals aren’t pulling together. A disconnected group will find it more difficult to anticipate your practice’s needs, and may fail to circle the wagons when you need fast interventions and support.
The Bottom Line? You Need an A-Team
Many physician practices miss out on opportunities because their professional advisors aren’t trustworthy, highly knowledgeable, and deeply experienced.
You can avoid that fate by building a network of top professionals—starting with your trusted financial advisor—who understand what your practice needs, and will work together seamlessly to secure it.