It is important for physicians or practice managers to understand the finances of the office to ensure efficiency and productivity while thwarting mismanagement.
Reviewed by Gregory S. Brinton, MD
For a practice with multiple physicians to find success and profitability, everyone must be on the same page, particularly when it comes to the finances of the office. Gregory S. Brinton, MD, clinical professor, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, discussed the value of benchmarking of office finances along with his son, Eric P. Brinton, MD, who also practices with his father at Retina Associates of Utah. The elder Dr. Brinton said participation in the AAO-AAOE benchmarking survey, while time-consuming, can prove to be rewarding.
“It takes a lot of work because they want very specific things and it may not be what you have,” he said. “You are really comparing yourself to other practices on an accurate basis.”
Dr. Gregory Brinton said benchmarking can be an invaluable tool that could allow you to track your performance and compare your practice to others. Benchmarking also can help you identify embezzlement and determine proper staffing levels, and outline collections and other trends.
It is important for physicians or practice managers understand the finances of the office. Dr. Gregory Brinton said rather than accepting the numbers your accountant offers, you should get numbers that are relevant and that tell you something about your practice. He also noted that accountants speak a “different” language, so it is important to ensure you are getting information in a format that you can understand.
“Too often, the information an accountant may provide will not provide the sort of answers that you may be looking for,” he said. “You need to negotiate to get the numbers you need to know.”
Once you are getting the right numbers, a quick review each month will take a minute or less. For example, knowing operations expenses percentage (operations over collections), can tell you what your overhead percentage is.
Gregory S. Brinton, MD
E: [email protected]
Eric P. Brinton, MD
This article was adapted from Dr. Gregory S. Brinton and Dr. Eric P. Brinton’s presentation at the 2018 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives. They have no financial interest in the subject matter.