If you want to grow your medical practice this year, it starts with creating goals. Not only do goals help with revenue growth, but they can also go a long way toward improving care and ensuring the long-term success of your own practice.

The modern medical practice faces more challenges than ever, and not having a plan and concrete goals to work toward can have detrimental effects on both profitability and health outcomes. Medical practices today face a changing regulatory landscape, new payment models, massive administrative burdens, environmental health problems, increasing costs, and fast-moving technology.

As patients become savvier, medical practices may also notice a trend of increased competition and an inability to keep up with the changing times. The good news is that making goal-setting a priority can help healthcare practices navigate these changes successfully.

Understanding Your Medical Practice Goals

Goals provide a North Star that works to align all of your efforts across your entire team. When goals are set correctly, they can motivate your own staff and allow you to track progress over time.

 As the healthcare environment continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly important for a private practice to keep up with emerging trends and constantly re-evaluate what’s working and what should be revised.

When defining the goals of a medical practice, the overarching principle should be based on the vision of your practice and patient needs, not just boosting patient numbers. This ensures that everyone has a clear sense of purpose, and all stakeholders, from administrative staff to primary care providers and medical directors, are engaged and working toward the same goals.

 Areas where a primary care practice decides to make goals could include:

  • Number of patient visits
  • New patient conversion rates
  • Improving patients’ health outcomes
  • Collections, accounts receivable, and cash flow
  • Staff productivity and workflow efficiency
  • Revenue targets

It’s advisable for healthcare providers to set both short-term objectives and long-term goals to create a thriving medical practice with happier patients.

Setting SMART Goals

There are a lot of different goal-setting methodologies, and for medical practices, SMART goals can be particularly effective. A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. They provide focus and direction with a clear roadmap of how to get where you want to go.

The reason that the medical industry and other disciplines have flocked to SMART goals is that they are believed to be more realistic and achievable than extremely difficult goals. When a goal is too far-fetched, it can be discouraging to employees in a clinical practice, leading to frustration, stress, and burnout.

 The SMART acronym includes the following elements:

  1. Specific: Goals should be clear and well-defined, so there is no doubt what you’re working toward.

    For example: Implement a new record-keeping electronic system to ensure that no outstanding patient invoices are overlooked.
  2. Measurable: In addition to having a concrete objective in mind, measurable goals require that there is a relevant metric linked to the outcome.

    For example: Instead of having a goal to “get more patients,” the goal could be to increase the number of new patients by 20% with the implementation of a patient referral system. Patient visit goals can be a key driver for revenue growth.
  3. Achievable: To increase the chances of a goal being achieved within your desired timeframe, it should be realistically achievable.

    For example: Shave 2 minutes off of the average length of a provider exam by streamlining every step of the clinical process, including updating patient intake forms to ensure they collect thorough and accurate information.
  4. Relevant: Relevant goals should align with the values of the primary care practice as a whole.

    For example: Ensure high-quality care that follows widely accepted clinical recommendations by requiring all medical staff to enroll in at least one continuing medical education course per year.
  5. Time-bound: There must be a deadline for achieving a goal.

    For example: Implement a quality assurance program that measures compliance with meeting clinical guidelines by the end of the year.  


A good medical practice can create goals that apply to the entire patient population or a subset that’s been identified where improvement is drastically needed.

 These patient-centered SMART goals could include:

  • Provide preventive care guidelines based on individual risk factors at every visit (where applicable)
  • Reduce hospital admissions or the number of emergency room visits by X%
  • Decrease cholesterol levels by X% for patients suffering from cardiovascular disease
  • Decrease blood pressure levels by X% for patients with blood pressure over a certain metric
  • Reduce the length of patient visits by X minutes from reception sign-in to the completion of the appointment.

To ensure achievable goals, it’s also vital to provide clear accountability measures, especially for important tasks that have a direct impact on the primary care practice.

Conducting a Comprehensive Medical Practice Assessment

The purpose of a practice assessment is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that face your medical practice. This, in turn, allows you to identify what needs to be done before you can even begin the process of achieving SMART goals.

Specifically, an assessment can identify areas for improvement or growth that could be holding you back from optimal revenue and ideal health outcomes. Medical practices could potentially identify that increasing practice hours may be necessary to achieve some of these goals.

An assessment could reveal that the office needs to hire more primary care physicians, or the need to recruit personnel with extensive experience in clinical situations or in identifying patient risk factors.

Utilizing Technology for Better Assessment

Modern technology provides extensive tools and systems that a medical practice can use to streamline data collection, analyze metrics, and collaborate among stakeholders. Platforms like Weave provide advanced analytics features to create more efficient and effective healthcare offices.

 At a glance, Weave provides insights in the following categories:

  • Phone calls
  • Messages
  • Reviews
  • Overall practice activity
  • Performance trends

Key Areas of Focus for Goals for a Successful Practice

At the heart of every successful healthcare practice is a strong foundation of providing excellent patient care, while keeping the staff productive on a budget. From a patient standpoint, providing personalized care, reducing wait times, reducing errors, and monitoring clinical processes are key.

However, high-quality care does not have to come at the cost of reducing staff productivity or creating a budget deficit. Medical directors and other stewards of SMART goals can directly influence these quality assurance standards while maintaining workflow efficiency.

Enhancing Patient Experience

An absence of patient complaints or a stream of thank you cards is not necessarily an indication that your patients are either dissatisfied or singing your praises. Often, you have to ask for feedback to know how your patients truly feel.

While it is important for primary care physicians to have their finger on the pulse of a patient’s feelings, administrative personnel can do a lot of the heavy lifting here.


Optimizing Operational Efficiency

Maintaining a high level of operational efficiency is vital for both patient satisfaction and achieving financial goals. The administrative burden that the average medical office incurs is significant and much of that can be eliminated with the right systems and technology.

For example, many tasks associated with a medical office can be automated, including:


By streamlining processes and reducing overhead costs, you’ll have more resources available to create healthier and happier patients and reduce the stress of your in-office staff.

Monitoring and Adjusting Goals

As you set goals, don’t wait until the last minute to assess if you’re going to be successful. Be sure to regularly review and adjust your goals as needed. It’s okay to adjust the target if necessary.

Case Studies and Success Stories

Medical practices can successfully achieve their goals when they set the right practice and financial goals. We have an extensive library of customer success stories, so if you want to see how primary care physicians, dentists, optometrists, and other health practitioners have implemented setting goals, check them out here.


No matter how you structure your goals, a successful practice takes an active role in having healthier and happier patients and improving patient health outcomes. This starts with setting the right goals and having tools and systems in place to help achieve them.

Weave can be instrumental in achieving healthcare practice goals. To see Weave in action, schedule a demo.

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