The Best Time to Plan Is Now
It's still early in the year, and things move a bit slower. I find this is the best time for me to look over what worked and did not work over the last year and to plan a course of action moving forward. This year is particularly important as the economy has changed how we do business.
As I look at the changes in the environment I have to take into account the fact that competitive bid has moved forward and the new requirements for the follow-up of these patients have increased while the reimbursement has gone down for the DME companies. My choices of where to send an order have decreased and service by those companies -- as well as how that company is structured -- is more important.
I have also had to reevaluate how we operate as we have increased business by about 40% during the last 5 months. This change has profound effects on how everything is done from scheduling to CPAP follow-ups.
So how am I going to go about creating a new plan for my department? I happen to like doing a SWOT analysis. It looks at four quadrants: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If I put all this on paper it is a great tool for creating a stronger department. My biggest problem in creating a SWOT graph is that I tend to focus on problems and I forget it is just as important to look at the positives. It is also helpful if I have input from others both in my department and those we have to interact with.
Since our department is small we will work together on the SWOT analysis (for an excellent sample and free template clock here), and then our one-year plan. I believe this will help the staff be part of the growth and see how their growth as technicians will play into the growth of the department.
I am also going to focus on how best to market and help those with minimal or no insurance. This is becoming a larger population as the unemployment rate reached 12% in our part of the country. The problem is that people have to deal with their health whether they have insurance or not. But we need to find a way to help these people that is affordable. This is where I think home sleep testing has the opportunity to grow and expand if the doctors do a good job of screening. With the right tools I am sure we may be able to help more patients to be treated in spite of the insurance issues.
I look forward to our growth over the next year and I am sure that with the changes that are going on in healthcare, this year will be as exciting as the last year was.