I have been in private practice for the past 10 years and for the most part loving my job. By my job, I mean taking care of my patients. I have for the past 10 years hated, avoided, and postponed the management part of my practice because I did not know how to do it. I was not trained for these responsibilities and therefore I did not do them well.
I started my solo practice in January 1995 and kind of ran it as a mom and pop practice. I was very proud of the training I had received and the care we provided to our patients in a relaxed manner. I just believed that if we provided a good product I would be fine and the office would be profitable. We had a great amount of success but at a tremendous cost to me, my family and to the staff in emotional turmoil to say nothing about our dashed hopes as we watched while patients that we liked and trusted chose not to pay their bills. I just kept thinking that I could roll along and things would turn out fine.
The office income would spike up high and dive down from month to month and the accounts receivable kept growing larger. I was making a good living but it was too stressful.
I started with Sterling Management Systems a year ago and my office experience is better now. I still have ups and downs in income but it is not as drastic and the level of income is higher than it was before Sterling.
I have other responsibilities (farm, landlord partnership, and I spend about 30-35 hours a week in church work) that takes me away from the office. I have not fully implemented the things that I have learned but we are making great progress. This is not a set of forms or office policies that you are given. It is a system that you learn to use to meet the requirements of your office. I am happy that I have invested in the future of my practice. I am confident that as we go forward we will see even greater benefits than we have seen so far from this technology.
We have all spent years in learning our profession. I believe the business side of our offices deserves quality training as well. I wish I had sought out Sterling management training long ago. I know that I would be further along if I had.
Scott Shields, DPM, ACFAS