3 Tips For Small Practices To Reduce Medical Practice Expenses

By: on March 21, 2018

The cost of running a small medical practice is constantly going up. To stay in business, medical practices must find ways to reduce medical practice expenses. According to a recent Gartner survey1, “increasing operating costs” ranks among the top three business constraints for small and midsize business (SMBs) across industries.

business constraints for small and midsize business

(Source: Gartner)

Most small practices and solo doctors have already made significant efforts in the past to improve profitability by cutting extra expenses and other operating costs. We’re here to show you that there are still ways you might have missed.

Reducing medical practice expenses often requires medical practices to break their age old habits and start thinking out of the box.

This article offers useful tips for small practices like yours to identify and eliminate any extra expenditures.

1. Allow Patients to Schedule Appointments on Their Own With a Patient Portal

Start managing your medical practice expenses by reducing the phone time of your medical staff. Deploy an online system for patients to schedule their appointments themselves, such as through a patient portal.

Patient portals allow patients to manage their appointments and view personal information such as laboratory results and billing history. They can also be easily integrated with most electronic health records (EHR) systems, which means you can choose the one that best suits your requirements.

According to Michael Middleton, MD, owner of a Florida-based pediatric practice, patient portals helped him restrict his staff cost growth to just 20 percent in 2.5 years while his practice grew threefold in the same time.

The online patient portal not only helped Middleton avoid hiring more staff—it delivered the following benefits as well:

  • Decreased staff workload. The cost of hiring additional staff can be mitigated by the use of patient portals. Appointment scheduling can be done by patients themselves through the portal without any need of additional staff members.
  • Enhanced collections. When patients schedule their own appointments through a portal, chances are they would be more likely to schedule a return visit, since it’s an easy process. This results in increased collections for practices.

The return on investment for the set-up cost and monthly maintenance charges of an online patient portal is quickly realized.

One thing to keep in mind: Before educating your patients, first educate and train your staff regarding the use of patient portals. Teach them how its use will save costs for the practice and then educate patients about its usage and benefits.

To understand more about the benefits, features and implementation of patient portals and match them to your specific requirements, read our article on what makes a great patient portal.

NueMD’s patient portal


Some of the most recommended patient portal solutions are listed below:

2. Reduce Incorrect Billing With a Practice Management System

One of the biggest financial problems that has affected medical practices is incorrect billing and coding at various stages of the medical billing process. Incorrect billing and coding can occur due to several reasons, including slow collection of patient receivables by the staff and coding at wrong levels.

To avoid incorrect billing and coding, you must deploy a practice management system. Such systems can perform all the billing procedures efficiently by offering the following benefits:

  • Provides automated medical billing along with real-time verification of insurance coverage and eligibility.
  • Simplifies the billing and claims process and can be easily integrated with different EHR systems.

Medical errors can happen anytime, even by the most professional and well-trained staff members. By automating billing with a practice management solution, you’re effectively eliminating unnecessary medical practice expenses.

Kareo billing analytics


Some of the most recommended practice management systems are listed below:

3. Make a Cost-Saving Investment By Upgrading Your EMR Technology

For medical practices to reduce operating costs and become more profitable, they need to take the counterintuitive step of upgrading their existing technology—especially when organizing and managing patients’ health records is a priority.

With recent advancements in electronic medical records (EMR) systems, it becomes important for small medical practices to upgrade their existing EMR technology to improve patient outcomes and enhance coordinated care.

Modern EMR systems not only make your operations efficient but also eliminate the need to hire full time employees, thus saving you even more money.

  • Based on your specific practice requirements, there are different EMRs in the market that offer different features. Hence, to reduce maximum operating costs, you must match your practice requirements with the right EMR or EHR solution.
  • Many professionals and practices are eligible for incentive programs by deploying certified EHR technology. So make sure you deploy the latest technology to enjoy incentives and reduced operating costs.
You can also read our article on essential EMR features to understand more about the must-have and nice-to-have features required in a small medical practice like yours.

AdvancedMD EMR patient charting


Some of the most recommended EMR systems are listed below:

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips that might be useful to reduce medical practice expenses at your small medical practice:

  • Rent out some area of your practice space. Try finding another medical professional who is ready to share your practice space in exchange for rent. You can also consider renting out your practice space to an operation—such as a medicine vendor—that can operate after your working hours.
  • Cut down on useless office supplies. The cost of reading material, newspapers and magazines in a patient waiting room can be reduced by avoiding unnecessary subscriptions of such items.
  • Renegotiate your rent costs. You can renegotiate your rent or lease agreement based on the fluctuating market conditions and land prices in your area of operations, to save on operating costs.

If you are a small medical practice searching for the right medical software, check out our medical software Buyer’s Guide to get a better understanding of the different functionalities offered by these software or call us at (844) 686-5616 for a free consultation with a software advisor.

1Gartner conducted this survey in April-May 2017 among 699 US-based SMBs, with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded not-for-profit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision makers, or have significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.

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