11 Jan Is It Worthwhile to Hire a Practice Management Consultant?
Is It Worthwhile to Hire a Practice Management Consultant?
Every practice has its problems. Some are big. Some are small. Some are lingering burr-underthe-saddle irritants. When do you call someone in to help you fix them? Whom do you call? What should you expect, and how do you get your money’s worth? Although the Internet is replete with practice management consultants ready to help you solve your problems, finding the right person for the job is ultimately up to you. Before you sign a contract, take a step back and consider your problem, your style, your expectations, and your options. Because when it comes to hiring a consultant, finding the right person – and figuring out the best way to work with him or her – can spell the difference between success and an expensive learning experience.
WHEN TO HIRE A CONSULTANT
Although you don’t need to hire a consultant to fix every problem, experts in the field say the most common mistake that doctors make is waiting too long to seek help. “If you think you have a problem, you do,” says Kathryn Moghadas, a practice management consultant with Associated Healthcare Advisors in Fern Park, Florida. “If you find yourself reading articles on a topic, it’s usually a sign you have an issue that has to be dealt with. I don’t know a single person who would read an article on building a practice unless they needed to build a practice.” Although “best practice” groups will seek an advisor’s input when they are doing well because they want to do even better, they’re in the minority, says Nick Fabrizio, PhD, FACMPE, FACHE, a principal with Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) healthcare consulting group. More often than not, groups don’t reach out until a problem has stymied them for a long time. “You look at notes from past board meetings, and you see that the same issue has been on the agenda for the past 4 or 5 months. They’ve been discussing the same item and making very little progress. They’re stuck.” A little self-analysis can help you determine whether you need to hire outside help, says Dr Michael Guthrie, a consultant specializing in practice strategy and physician engagement. Ask yourself: Do we need specialized knowledge to solve this problem? Do we need an objective, outside perspective? Is the job so big that we need an extra pair of hands to accomplish it? If the answer to any of the above is “yes,” he advises hiring a consultant. “The problem with doctors is they don’t ask for help often enough,” he says. “There are a lot of physicians out there who are suffering in silence working till 10 o’clock every night trying to solve these problems on their own. They should really think about talking to someone sooner rather than later.”