Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Your Practice

Successful Practices Set Goals and Achieve Them

What are you doing to achieve the goals set on January 1st?

If you give a man a bow and arrow and tell him to shoot, the first thought in his mind will be, “Where?”.  Not knowing where to aim, the man will just shoot anywhere and at anything, not really caring, just because you told him to. Even if he is an excellent marksman with great form, his shooting will be for nothing. But, if you give him a target, then tell him to shoot; he will aim for that bullseye. Even if he fails the first time, he will put all his concentration and effort into hitting that target, practicing over and over until he finally hits the mark. There is a greater sense of accomplishment that comes from actually hitting a target even after multiple tries instead of just carelessly shooting.

That is what a goal does. It changes everything.  It gives you direction and purpose.

SMART Goals Blog Image

My goals hang on my office walls. They are a constant reminder of what I must do.

My goals are unwavering and unchanging.  They are my bullseye, not a dream that fluctuates with the wind.

My goals will  be accomplished. How do I know they will be accomplished? Because I never set myself up for failure. I never set my physicians up for failure, either.

What Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?

All goals I set for myself and my clients have 5 things in common. They are all S. M. A. R. T. goals.

  1. Specific: Every detail of the goal should be planned out and decided upon. Building each goal will start with deciding the macro-goal (the result) and then laying out the micro-goals (steps) that need to be taken. The more specific the micro-goals, the easier the macro-goal is to maintain and reach.
  2. Measurable: Benchmarks are a crucial part of goals. Knowing when you should be hitting each step and working toward the micro-goal will ensure that you can track your progress. When your goal’s progress is measurable, you are more likely to see the goals clearly and notice where you need to make improvements before it’s too late.
  3. Attainable: You alone should be the only factor in your goals. Your hard work, actions, decisions, schedule, protocols, and planning should be the foundation for success. Goals that can be affected by other people or outside factors are not attainable by YOU. You can’t set goals for other people. You can suggest and require goals, but their goals need to be set by them.
  4. Realistic: If you begin by setting unrealistic goals, you will likely fail to achieve them. Unrealistic goals waste time and money. Realistic goals consider both time and effort. Just because a certain goal is unrealistic to achieve in the next two months, does not mean it is unrealistic to achieve in the next two years. Being honest with yourself about the amount of time it will take to achieve the goal and the amount of effort you can allot to a given goal will help you set realistic goals.
  5. Time Deadline: A goal without a deadline is a dream. There is no way to keep on-task, stay motivated, and goal-oriented without a deadline for each goal. Much like the archer without a target, a physician without deadlines is simply shooting into the sky.

Decide what WILL be accomplished in two weeks, one month, three months, one year etc.  Make sure they are all specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and they all have a deadline.

Example Goal:  By Dec. 31, 2020, ABC Medical will generate $2 million in revenue.

This goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely but how are we going to get there? That is where the micro-goals come into play. How will that $2 million in revenue be generated?  Exactly what will cause that increase in revenue?

This is what the breakdown starts to look like: $2 million divided by 48 working weeks is a goal of $41,666 per week seeing 140 patients. Below is realistic insurance reimbursement. Inflated numbers will not be beneficial.

Qty. Item / Procedure Total Reimbursement
40 New Patient Visits ($120 each) $4,800
8 Carbon or Custom AFO's ($1,200 each) $9,600
15 Biopsies ($100 each) $1,500
15 Custom Orthotics ($500 each) $7,500
8 Thirty-Day Supply of Collagen ($1,200 each) $9,600
8 Surgeries ($600 each) $4,800
ANY OTC products $1,500
20 Braces (avg. $85 each) $1,700
30 X-rays ($45 each) $1,350
16 Ulcer Debridements ($100 each) $1,600
20 Ingrown Toenails ($110 each) $2,200
25 Nail Care ($45 each) $1,125
60 Established Patient Visits ($65 each) $4,900

$52,175 x (90% collection rate) = $46,957 a week.  A total of $2,253,960 for the year*

*Obviously other procedures will be performed. You may not hit every metric of this goal. You will only be doing and prescribing things that are in the best interest of the patient. Your ultimate goal is $2 million in revenue.

Next, Further Break Down the Goals:

  1. In 2 weeks, I will have the top 10 protocols written and hung in the rooms.
  2. I will dispense 4 braces.
  3. I will post an ad for another MA.

... continue breaking down what is needed to reach those goals.

“Most ‘impossible’ goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite-size chunks, writing them down, believing them, and then going full speed ahead as if they were routine.” -Don Lancaster

In Conclusion

The first step in deciding what you want to achieve can be intimidating. Set up five major goals and break them down. These five goals will direct you to achieve what you want. Do NOT deviate from these goals.  Everything that you do should help you achieve these goals. Your ability to accomplish what you want will be solely based on how well you schedule your time. You must learn to say no. If a speaking opportunity, an obligation, or business opportunity is presented to you, measure it against YOUR goals. If it is in line with them and will help fulfill those goals, it is a good fit. If it does not truly fit, you must say NO.  This will allow you to be open to other opportunities that will be better suited for what you want to achieve.

Physicians love to be busy. However, being busy does not mean you are moving in the right direction.  You must only do those things that will help you reach your goals.  You must be able to give your full attention and creative powers to what you love to do and what you want to accomplish.

Changing your practice and working on your goals will be painful and liberating at the same time.  Don’t stop; make it work.  You must commit to this change. Your practice, your life and your financial stability depend on it.

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About the Author

Holly Burkman

Holly is a recognized international speaker and author. Working with her husband to build a medical practice from the ground up, she has handled all aspects of the podiatry field from medical assisting to billing and practice management. Currently, she spends her time as a practice management consultant helping physicians learn how to run successful medical practices by implementing protocols. Holly holds numerous degrees and certificates that give her the credibility to help practices; however, it is the years of personal in-office experience that allow her to offer personalized solutions that make practices profitable again.

Read More by Holly Burkman →

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