We continue our dive into helping medical professionals build their private practice by focusing on operations. To do this I sat down with John Gwin, founder and CEO of The Auctus Group, a firm that helps plastic surgery and dermatology practices work more efficiently.
As Planning on Call listeners may know, I also recently had a conversation with Nermin Jasani focused on growing private practices more efficiently. That conversation mainly focused on how to get patients to the door with tips on marketing, patient retention, and choosing strategic partners. My conversation with John instead focused on how to help private practices once the patients are in the door.
I would encourage you to listen to full interview of this episode of ‘Planning on Call,’ the podcast, here:
Follow the links below to listen to The Atlas Advantage on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Libsyn:
John likes to joke, with his clients, that The Auctus Group specializes in “all the boring stuff.” The broad term he would use for this is ‘Fin Ops’, more specifically, his work encompasses revenue cycle management, credentialing, authorizations, bookkeeping, and the operational consulting surrounding these processes. This means analyzing how the financial back end of a practice interacts with the technology and people in the practice.
The key to John’s side of the business is understanding revenue cycle management, and this area is unique to medical practices. A lot of complexity and nuances exist that can impact a practice’s productivity and cash-flow. Topping the list is that physicians are commonly providing services directly to individuals but often being paid through a 3rd party (insurance companies). This can affect how efficiently a practice collects payment from insurance companies in a timely manner and highlights the pain-points of a lagging payment model. John spends time diving into what makes an organized revenue cycle management system (03:53).
Another tricky operational issue for physicians in private practice is record keeping because receivables and payables are commonly handled on different systems. In addition to that, there are complexities associated with making sure electronic records speak with these systems in addition to maintaining government security standards for how this data is handled (05:45).
John further shares what he views as the most important operational areas to focus on for young doctors starting in private practice – including their timeline, credentialing process, and choosing their initial software (10:00).
The conversation pivoted to discussing the biggest operational hurdles he finds in achieving the ‘next level’ of scalable growth after a private practice becomes firmly established. John notes that the physician is commonly the main limiting factor in growth, as a doctor can only see so many patients. So how does a practice scale given this limitation? Learn more about this aspect at 13:45.
Based on John’s varied experience in medical operations, he further breaks down where he envisions major future operational challenges will present themselves for practices (approx. 19:25), shares key operational ‘time hacks’ for doctors (22:10), and points out what to look for in an operations team if you are buying or selling a practice (25:00).
We end, as always, with John’s biggest piece of advice for young physicians and in this case young doctors looking into private practice. John mentions that “there’s so much that goes into building a medical practice that has nothing to do with everything you just learned in school or everything that you’ve been doing in academia. So, take the time to plan.” This, of course, is something I couldn’t agree with more. Whether it’s your private practice’s operations, or your personal finances, asking for help in the areas you aren’t trained on is vitally important as you look to build your practice, family, and future.
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