Managing growth within a multi-location organization through standardization, communication, and inclusion

In today’s ultra-competitive healthcare environment, it is crucial to the success of your organization to take advantage of every possible opportunity to grow despite competitive threats from much larger players. One of the main reasons organizations attempt to grow is to take advantage of the many benefits (otherwise known as “economies of scale”) that result from such growth. As clinic owners, when we think of growth, we automatically think of opening more clinics or sites, but we also can benefit by increasing our patient volume at an existing site.

Regardless of how you wish to grow, I think it’s best to do so through acquisition or startup. Both approaches are fairly standard in our industry and already tend to be a part of most organizations’ growth plans. However, these growth strategies can be challenging, especially for smaller practices that have limited resources or experience. To help ensure the success of your growth strategy, consider implementing the following operational methods:

Standardization

Standardization refers to making processes, procedures, products, services, and infrastructure consistent throughout the organization’s many locations. Standardization is advantageous because increasing volume in anything lowers the costs of processes and purchases. Some ideas for standardization include using the same office supply vendors, cleaning companies, water providers, and staffing companies. Ultimately, this sort of consolidation will increase the volume of purchases from each single vendor type, which can often earn you discounts. Plus, it’ll be significantly less for you to manage. Standardization will also positively impact workflow; if you have all locations following the same policy and procedures, you can more easily ensure quality and reduce errors within your systems.

Speaking of systems, you should also standardize your organization’s infrastructure (e.g., EMR, copiers, and phones) across locations. This will enable you to take advantage of volume discounts and more importantly, easily move staff around without them having to learn a new system, which can cause interruptions and be distracting. By standardizing your infrastructure you also are shaping your business’s brand; your patients will receive a consistent, quality experience—about which word will spread throughout your community, and all the clinics within your system will benefit.

Communication

Just as standardizing your office infrastructure helps shape your brand, so does standardizing your internal and external communications. Delivering a consistent message and vision to all employees, vendors, and customers is imperative for a successful, growing company. Unfortunately, it’s common for employees who work for a multi-location business to feel left out or disassociated with the corporation because many don’t interact with members of management on a daily basis—what I refer to as the “stranded island effect.” To combat the stranded island effect, I strongly recommend setting up regular email newsletters, conference calls, and meetings to keep people included, connected, and engaged. I have found that individual clinic teams want to achieve success, but corporate does not always make clear the organization’s goals and metrics.

Inclusion

By promoting two-way communication and involvement between clinic locations and corporate headquarters, you’ll ensure that employees on the front lines have the opportunity to offer input and suggestions that could lead to better outcomes, cost savings, and increased employee satisfaction. I’ve found that employees who are included in key decisions tend to be more productive and aligned with the vision of the organization than those who work for multi-location organizations that lead from the “ivory tower.” Aside from communicating on a regular basis, I would suggest that you request that your location teams participate in both community and corporate events so location teams know who the corporate teams are and how they are supported behind the scenes. This can eliminate the “us versus them” mentality that can divide a multi-location business.

Whether you are a smaller practice looking to grow or a larger practice looking to sell, these basic organizational methods can help you attain higher profits, happier employees, and—possibly—a higher valuation.

The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 Guide - Regular BannerThe State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 Guide - Small Banner
  • 4 Subtle Ways You're Killing the Patient Experience Image

    articleJun 22, 2018 | 6 min. read

    4 Subtle Ways You're Killing the Patient Experience

    A positive patient experience is essential for instilling confidence and security in your patients—and for sustaining a healthy practice. When patients feel rushed, dismissed, or expendable, they’ll often drop out prematurely —and possibly seek care from a different PT (or move on to a whole other discipline). With that in mind, here are some of the common ways you’re subtly sabotaging the patient experience that you work so hard to create in your practice: 1. Providing a …

  • Common Questions from our State of Rehab Therapy Webinar Image

    articleJul 17, 2017 | 16 min. read

    Common Questions from our State of Rehab Therapy Webinar

    WebPT recently conducted an industry survey of thousands of rehab therapy professionals across a wide variety of settings, specialties, and geographic regions. Our goal: To capture an accurate snapshot of the demographics, trends, frustrations, and motivations that shape our businesses, our future outlook, and our potential for success in this environment of change. In last week’s webinar , WebPT President and Co-Founder Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, and WebPT CEO Nancy Ham shared the results of …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 Image

    downloadJun 28, 2018

    The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018

    To see results from our most recent industry survey, check out the 2019 State of Rehab Therapy Report. To say that the healthcare industry is complex would be an understatement. While the advent of technology has made care more precise, efficient, and collaborative than ever before, it has also put greater pressure on providers to deliver high-value care at scale. After all, big data makes it possible to not only develop the most effective, evidence-based best practices …

  • Best-of-Breed Solutions vs. Jack-of-All-Trades Software Image

    articleJan 7, 2015 | 5 min. read

    Best-of-Breed Solutions vs. Jack-of-All-Trades Software

    After nearly ten years in sales and marketing, I’ve heard—and probably used—every figure of speech imaginable. Whether we’re advising to not count your chickens before they hatch or imploring that you not cry over spilled milk, we use these phrases to succinctly make our points. Perhaps that’s why we’re seeing a debate unfold in our industry pitting “best-of-breed” solutions against “jack-of-all-trades” software. And with our very own Heidi Jannenga deeming 2015 as “ the year of the …

  • 4 Keys to Keeping a Steady Cash Flow Image

    articleMay 18, 2016 | 5 min. read

    4 Keys to Keeping a Steady Cash Flow

    As a private practice clinic owner, you’re probably familiar with the cold sweat-inducing struggle to keep a steady cash flow. Claims management muck-ups, inefficient processes, staff issues, and lack of insight into your clinic’s financial health can leave you feeling like you’re riding a revenue rollercoaster. So, whether you’re trying to maximize reimbursements , combat employee theft , or optimize patient payments , these four keys to maintaining a steady cash flow will help you even out …

  • Founder Letter: 3 Ways Your Practice is Losing Money Image

    articleMay 5, 2016 | 7 min. read

    Founder Letter: 3 Ways Your Practice is Losing Money

    Much like the patients you treat, your practice can appear healthy on the outside despite significant internal issues. And when those issues are money-related, the consequences can be deadly. If your practice already is in the red, you know you’ve got some pretty serious cash flow problems. But even if you’re in the black every month, you may still be washing dollars down the drain. While there are myriad ways your practice might inadvertently be losing revenue, …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy in 2019 Image

    downloadJun 17, 2019

    The State of Rehab Therapy in 2019

    Each year, we survey thousands of rehab therapy professionals on the metrics, strategies, and complicating factors that influence success in the current healthcare market. In 2019, we received more than 6,000 responses from individuals in a variety of settings, specialties, and geographic regions—and we’ve compiled all that data into the single most comprehensive annual report on the state of the rehab therapy industry.  This report features insights on everything from demographics and financial metrics to regulatory challenges …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 Image

    webinarJun 1, 2018

    The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018

    Falling reimbursements. Skyrocketing insurance premiums and copays. Crippling student loan debt. As a PT, OT, or SLP, sometimes it feels like it’s you against the world. After all, the challenges you face on a daily basis are many and complex. But, you’re not alone. In fact, we recently surveyed nearly 7,000 rehab therapy professionals on everything from payment rates and clinic budgets to education costs and salary, and we found some pretty strong—and surprising—trends. [video://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/eh5khgt1r6]   Curious …

  • The Great 8 Elements of the Patient Experience Image

    articleMay 24, 2018 | 10 min. read

    The Great 8 Elements of the Patient Experience

    As I was getting ready to graduate college and begin interviewing for jobs, I was blown away by the experience I had with Ernst & Young. They were engaging, showed interest in me as a person, and paid attention to all the details. When I flew out to visit the office, they picked me up in a limousine, left a gift bag in my hotel room, and took care of just about every other detail. And even …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.