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Kaizen And The Medical Practice

In previous articles and podcasts we have talked about the importance of business planning for the medical practice. In today’s article I wanted to discuss a particular philosophy that may assist you in continuously enhancing the quality and efficiency within your medical practice.

What is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a Japanese principle, which can be loosely translated as ‘continuous improvement’. It is a long-term approach to work or business that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality. Kaizen can be applied to any kind of work or industry and it is the responsibility of every team member, not just the principal.

How does Kaizen apply to a medical practice?

So how can you apply that principle to build a better medical practice?

Well, it all starts with business planning. As part of the business plan (including SWOT analysis) for your medical practice, you should have identified areas for improvement, such as:

– training – policies and procedures – systems – etc

Your business plan then becomes the starting point to set quarterly goals, identifying which area of your medical practice you want to enhance.

How do you implement Kaizen in your medical practice?

Once you have set your quarterly goals, they need to be translated into quarterly action plans, with relevant responsibilities allocated to various team members.

For example, let’s say you want to focus on staff training. This particular goal could consist of the following steps:

1) Identify skills and knowledge gaps of team members – interview every team member – identify essential skills/knowledge required – map skills and knowledge gaps per team member

2) Research suitable courses and training per team member

3) Establish ideal training plan and timeline per team member

4) Etc.

It is essential that you then allocate the responsibility for these action steps to appropriate team members, so everyone becomes engaged in the continuous enhancement of the quality of patient care and efficiency of the practice.

In addition to this structured process, you should also encourage your team to propose ideas for improvement, which could be part of your weekly or fortnightly meeting.

Summary

A practice that is not growing, is in danger of becoming less competitive, viable and financially rewarding.

If you would like some assistance with your medical practice business planning, please feel free to contact me on 08 6160 5918 or yves@affluenceprivate.com.au.

Alternatively, we will be launching a new Medico CFO product soon (see www.medicocfo.com.au), which will step you through how to prepare your own medical practice Business Plan and Quarterly Action Plan. For further information, email team@medicocfo.com.au.


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