If you travel to a new destination by car, many of us benefit from the use of a navigation system or determining a route via Google Maps. Both applications detail a step-by-step process to arrive at our destination. You may find yourself wandering without a defined destination or direction. A similar challenge exists for medical practices that do not set goals or track metrics to assess the progress of realizing their goals.
Your medical practice is unique. Consequently, this requires goals tailored to your specialty and current business conditions. Goals typically focus on one of four areas:
- New Patients
- Patient Satisfaction
Goal setting may appear trivial or deemed a “waste of time”. However, goals define the direction of your medical practice and help keep your team members on track.
When medical practices do not define or communicate goals to staff members, the result is a team drifting without any direction. Staff members perform their required responsibilities, but there is little motivation to improve current conditions. Employees are also not accountable or engaged, and the status quo becomes the benchmark for performance.
It is important to prioritize goals based on issues or improvements that matter most to your practice and patients. To effectively set a goal, focus on a lag measure that requires attention. A lag measure is a metric that reflects historical data and quantified after the period. Revenue, profit, new patients, and growth are all examples of lag measures. For example, after determining income for the month, it is too late to change revenue for that month, hence the metric reports on a lag.
Once you determine a lag measure for a goal, define the target using the following structure: “Our goal is to (Increase / Decrease) (Insert Lag Measure) from (Insert Beginning Lag Measure) to (Insert Ending Lag Measure) by (Insert Date).”
The next step is to define one or two lead measures that influence the designated lag measure. An appropriate lead measure is measurable, correlated to the lag measure, and impacted by a team’s work.
Once you determine the lag measure and applicable lead measures, perform the following:
- Assign and communicate the goal to team members
- Designate an employee responsible for reporting lead and lag measures
- Instruct team members to track lead measures weekly and send the data to the employee responsible for reporting
- Track the lag measure monthly
- For assigned staff members of the goal, establish a mandatory 20-minute meeting each week to review progress on the lead measure. Each team member will discuss his/her performance of the lead measure for the previous week, what worked and didn’t work for him/her in reaching the lead measure benchmark, and what activities he/she plans to perform during the upcoming week to improve the lead measure. Use this time as an opportunity to praise the success of individual team members as well.
This system creates a culture in which employees hold each other accountable and are engaged in their work. Plus, team members are consistently making progress towards accomplishing the practice’s goal. As a tertiary benefit, leaders of the clinic no longer micro-manage each employee—the focus shifts to reviewing the performance scoreboard and positioning employees for success. Employees will take notice of their rank within the performance scoreboard, and the competitive fires will begin to burn within them.
You will find yourself in awe of what your employees will achieve!
Schedule a complimentary consultation today to learn more about how Great Lakes Advisory can help you accomplish your goals!