You devoted more than a decade of your life to becoming a doctor. First, in undergrad, you focused on obtaining a degree and enviable credentials to gain acceptance in medical school; then, you toiled ceaselessly for four years to earn your medical credential and for another six to 10 years to gain real-world experience as an intern and resident. Now, finally, you have the education and experience to open your own private practice — right?
Actually, because a medical practice functions on a corporate model, you should also have sufficient education and/or experience in business to manage the organization successfully. If you don’t want to delay any longer, you should probably hire a healthcare administrator. Here’s why.
Healthcare Administrators Are Trained in the Business of Health
There are many paths to healthcare administration, but they all require extensive business experience and/or education. For example, it isn’t uncommon for nurses or doctors to pivot their careers into administration; they can combine their experience in healthcare and some supplemental education in healthcare administration to improve the efficiency of hospitals or practices. Alternatively, business professionals are often drawn to work for healthcare organizations thanks to promises of high wages and great benefits. In all cases, healthcare administrators must have the business chops to take on the rigors of organization and management of healthcare companies.
The specific responsibilities of a healthcare administrator will vary from position to position. At a major hospital, the CEO oversees all departments and makes executive decisions regarding budgeting, staffing, processes and more. Conversely, at your practice, a healthcare administrator will likely assist you in managing staff, organizing the office and attracting patients. Though it might seem like small marbles compared to big-wig healthcare administration, private practice administration relies on business skills that you likely lack, and thus, if you attempt to DIY the job, your business will likely be riddled with inefficiencies — if not insecurities.
One of the most significant jobs of a practice healthcare administrator is understanding HIPAA, OSHA and ACA compliance and working to keep the office safe. Healthcare administrators understand how to draft contracts and use healthcare contract management software, so patients feel confident in your practice’s efforts to keep valuable health data safe. Though there are some programs that help you manage documents without much savvy, it is often better to put important information in the hands of a business professional like a trained healthcare administrator.
Practices With Administrators Can Treat More Patients With Greater Success
Perhaps the greatest advantage to hiring a healthcare administrator to run your back office is this: it allows you to focus on practicing medicine, which is why you became a doctor in the first place. You can trust your healthcare administrator to focus on the business while you focus on the people you pledged to help.
When you aren’t wasting hours trying to understand hiring or looking for an HR provider, you have more time to see your patients, hear their concerns, administer tests and develop treatment plans. Studies show that patients are more satisfied when doctors devote additional time to their care, and patients with greater rapport with their doctors are more likely to proffer critical information that leads to more effective treatment. Thus, by hiring a healthcare administrator, you can practice better medicine and establish greater health in more patients.
e-Administrators Might Be a Solution for Brand New or Struggling Practices
New practices often lack the resources to pay for a full-time, in-house healthcare administrator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for healthcare administrators in doctors’ offices is $105,810, which is not small change, especially when it is added to other startup costs associated with launching a practice. As a result, you might be looking for alternatives to bringing a healthcare administrator onto your permanent team, at least initially.
Fortunately, it is possible to outsource administration services. Though you won’t receive specialized attention, you can use e-Administrators to ensure your office is compliant with appropriate regulations. Then, you can assume full responsibility for management responsibilities while you grow your business. Some organizations find great long-term success by outsourcing administration duties; others eventually hire an in-house professional — which is what you will likely do if your practice grows large enough.
Despite your decades of training, you aren’t yet equipped to run a wildly successful private medical practice. The good news is you aren’t far away, as long as you are dedicated to hiring a healthcare administrator with the right business credentials.