a sonographer's guide to entrepreneurship

Talking tech

Episode 15: The Admin Side of the Mobile Ultrasound Business

When starting a mobile ultrasound business, we initially think of those main important topics – legal, sales and marketing, etc but the administrative side of this business is so important to make certain our operations run smoothly to ensure we are providing the best service possible. On this episode, I chat all things admin with Advanced Imaging’s Operations Director, Liz Jefferson.

Transcript:

Jen (00:01):
Hello and welcome to the Talking Tech Podcast, a sonographer’s guide to entrepreneurship. I am your host, Jennifer Lindsay, and today I have a special guest with me. Liz Jefferson is our operations director here at Advanced Imaging, and she is my right-hand woman, so I’m so excited to welcome her as our guest today. We were just talking before we hit record. She has been here for eight years with us this month. So at some point, we wanted to do this podcast because we know a lot of our students, clients, and those of you who have your own mobile ultrasound business at some point may decide that the admin side is overwhelming. You need some help with that. And also for those of you starting, I think something important is initially, you think sales marketing is very important, it is. Legal is very important.

(01:01)
But many people forget that once you get a contract, you must implement it well. And you have to keep that customer service admin side going and as professional as possible because the last thing you want to do is work hard to get a contract and then have someone cancel it because you’re not providing good customer service and administration on the other side. So, because Liz has been doing this for us for so long, I thought she would be so, such a wonderful guest today to give you guys an idea of why the admin side is so important and talk a little bit about how to make those, tasks run smoothly, and give you guys some wisdom and insight into what she does for advanced imaging. Hello, Liz.

Liz (01:49):
Hello. Jennifer.

Jen (01:50):
We have some talking points here because Liz and I will go off the rails if we don’t. 

Liz (01:55):
So off the rails, I was thinking when you said she’s my right-hand man, I’m sitting on your left. And I was like, whoa, I’m already off. 

Jen (02:01):
What were we doing here?

Liz (02:02):
Already off-topic.

Jen (02:03):
I love it. Okay. So we are going to chat first about why, and I touched on this at the start of this, why we shouldn’t undervalue the admin side of the business and why that’s so important from your perspective.

Liz (02:17):
Absolutely. So first, let me just say that as the person who’s not the business owner but who watches the business owner and who’s been here watching our services evolve, whether you have admin help or not, you have to be an admin person. You are doing admin stuff from when you wake up to when you go to bed. And if you’re not, things are going to go horribly wrong.

Jen (02:41):
Exactly. 

Liz (02:42):
So if you don’t have admin functions in place, it’s going to make everything else a lot harder because that should be the backend behind-the-scenes working stuff. And if you’re working alone, you are doing that; you have to be able to do that. And that includes everything. You know, you talking about that process of prospecting and finding your clients at the beginning, there’s admin work in that as well. That’s very true. And so getting in the, getting out of the mindset that admin is this separate thing, it’s a separate entity as important because we’re all admin people. Very true. And some of us have that proficiency, and some don’t. Some people are sonographers or do other things and have other talents. So we just have to figure out how to make the admin piece an easy, seamless integration into the rest of what you’re doing. 

(03:33)
And I think it’s important to understand it’s not grunt work Because when we hire someone, we often look for a helper or an assistant, but they have to have precision. Because if you don’t have precision, things are going to go horribly wrong. Yeah. And you’re going to end up on the wrong end of your clients. You’re going to end up on the wrong end of the business. And that’s not what we want because you worked hard to sign these contracts. I would say, you know, everything from collecting and gathering, that’s, that’s a big part of admin work. Everything we’re doing isn’t just keeping the day-to-day stuff running. It’s helping us get to the end of the week, the end of the month, and even the end of the day successfully and then being able to report on that so that our clients know what’s going on. We can collect money, and we can project for the future. 

Jen (04:22):
Yep. Absolutely. Yeah. 

(04:24)
I love that. And I think it is really important. I love that you said it shouldn’t be viewed separately because it is integrated so much. For example, when students and clients first start their business, and a lot of you guys listening that have your own business out there, you know that from the very beginning, the admin work is so important that it needs to be integrated in. And that’s why we thought this episode of the podcast would be so important because some of you are probably thinking, well, that sounds great, but what are the admin tasks that you should be doing? We will definitely get to that. I know Liz has that on her notes here, too. But one of the other things we wanted to discuss is how to keep all of those admin tasks and processes running smoothly. 

Liz (05:15):
And I think your two keys are getting processes in place and then automating anything you can. And when I say automating, I don’t mean taking yourself out of the equation. I mean getting the really little things that are grunt work that people think are the key to admin—getting those things automated or simplifying them so they can be easily executed. You can focus on what’s important to growing your business. Meeting the needs of your clients. Absolutely. And I think that some of those systems, well, just to give some background, when I came, we were dealing with so many different programs to keep things going, and that was just because there was no platform out there that did everything we needed. So as we’ve gone through the years, and we’ll get to that a little later, things have been simplified and automated so that we are still touching reports and patient schedules, but they’re not consuming our lives. And so I think the key to admin is to simplify things to make sense. Don’t do the extra work just because it’s admin work; make your admin processes flow. And that takes some tweaking. I mean, we still tweak all the time, once a month. We’re like, how can we make this simpler? We have other things we need to do. 

Jen (06:39):
Efficiency. We’ve said that multiple times. 2020 is our year of efficiency. 

Liz (06:44):
Yes. That’s it.  

Jen (06:45):
Quite a year so far. But we won’t; we won’t go into that. 

Liz (06:47):
Challenges about, and we do better through them because we have a process in place 

Jen (06:51):
That is very, very true. 

Liz (06:54):
But it’s also important to understand that when you add systems in place, they have to be the right system. So we’ve gone through a few schedulers and a few time-tracking systems for our techs, and it’s going to be a little different for every business model. But your job as a business owner, and you owe it to yourself to take the time to put those pieces in place. So that you have this efficient workflow, you walk into an office and are like boom, this is how we do things. Yeah. And when you have that process in place, you can tweak it when you need to for those personalized specific clients. You know, we have a specific schedule process, and we tweak that sometimes. Sometimes I schedule patients for certain locations; sometimes, they schedule it. 

(07:44)
But we have a process. This is our process, and these are ways we can deviate from it. But I think the key to all admin success is we have a process for scheduling. We have a process for opening the office at the beginning of the day. Our techs have a checklist of what they need to do. And even if you are the business owner and the sonographer, you shouldn’t have to think about that. You shouldn’t have to put your mental energy into it. Oh, what’s the next step? It’s right there. It’s automated in your head so that you are focusing on the scanning. 

Jen (08:17):
I think another that brings up something that just made me think of Liz and I. So we will go in when we close a new contract and are getting ready to implement into that new office; Liz and I go together; so many times after we have our little meeting, we tell them exactly how everything works and all the specifics. They say, oh wow. I mean, you guys have a process in place. Like, this is going to be easy. And we love hearing that because that’s the point. And that’s what we’ve worked so hard to accomplish over the years. I love being able to then put this information into what we teach students and be able to say; this is exactly how we do it. These are the vendors that we use, all of that stuff. 

(09:01)
So that they can translate that because I think that’s so hard when you start your business is that you need all of these things in place. You don’t know all the points you need to have in place and don’t know how to implement all of that. So I love that we’re able to do that. But I think we both see what we’ve put in place over the last few years has translated into when we go in there to close or finalize that contract and ready to implement, they are so impressed with the ease of use because that’s how we keep contracts for years is we want to work in the background, make it easy, have everything kind of at their fingertips to be able to have an easy transition and over the long-haul have an easy implementation. 

Liz (09:49):
And it also plays into that contract continuing because if you are working with offices now, or you’re going to be working, working with offices, you will discover that their front-end staff has a lot of overturn. And there is a part of our workflow that is dependent on that office; they are getting us information for the tech, they’re getting us the patient demographic information, they’re getting us orders, and they’re putting stuff on our schedule in most workflows. And so to be able to say, this is our process; it’s a fancy binder. Yep. If you lose that binder, I will make you a new one. Exactly. But see this page; it will tell you exactly what the workflow is. It keeps those offices running smoothly too. So that admin piece, you rely on people you don’t employ to complete part of that. So making it simple and streamlined and documenting it, writing it down, and having it in place helps make all of that go smoothly. 

Jen (10:50):
And you know, as a side note to that, less stress for the business owner or the admin person that works for the business owner because if you have to explain the same thing 42 times to somebody, you know, every couple of months when a new person happens to be at that front desk or working on the scheduling or whatever it is, just efficiency, again, absolutely efficiency. 

Liz (11:13):
But I think that speaks to the whole idea of admin and this notion that we think it’s this annoying work on the side, but the whole point of admin work is that it keeps things going. So if you can make it as simple as possible to keep things going, you are not using your mental energy on that.  

Jen (11:32):
It’s less stressful. Yes, for sure. Okay. So here is what I kind of touched on a little bit ago is, okay, now that we know admin is important, what are the things, day-to-day, those day-to-day systems and structure of the admin department that you have your hands on that you can kind of give people an idea of they should be looking at and what you’re doing day to day. 

Liz (11:56):
First of all, I think everyone, again, going back to that business owner mindset, whether you have help or not, the first piece to any admin, admin day admin process is the scheduling and not necessarily the scheduling of your service sites and the scheduling of your patients, but your schedule. And so I have my hands on Jennifer’s schedule all the time. I try not to fill it up with too many things, but Jennifer starts and ends her day with her schedule. So keeping your schedule tight is the first piece of admin work, especially if you’re the sonographer too. Because if you are not, if you’re not hands-on with your schedule, whether it’s on a computer or in a notebook, you’re going to be in a world of hurt really quick. So that’s where I think everything starts. 

(12:44)
And then from there, after you have these clients, they’ve signed contracts, the number one thing that I think I touch and affect is the schedule because it starts with scheduling our client service sites. We have to make sure those are scheduled in a way where they don’t conflict and where they don’t just not conflict today but where they won’t conflict in the future. So there’s a lot that goes into making sure that schedule is maintained, that it’s released to our techs because we have multiple techs, and that then it’s available to the locations as well. Because we try to keep it pretty simple, you’re either every other week, every week, or every third of the month. But there are always those times when that doesn’t work into a client’s schedule. So maintaining your service site schedule is huge. 

Jen (13:40):
That’s a big deal, too, around the holidays.  

Liz (13:43):
Oh. 

Jen (13:43):
Because offices are closed on certain days. If things fall on Christmas, New Year’s Day, or whatever that may be. So that’s something people should pay attention to, especially ahead of time. Liz will kind of get with me, oh geez. We do that months in advance. Like, okay, this particular office is, you know, falls on this holiday. That we’re going to be closed or they’re going to be closed or whatever it might be, so that we can update that so that when they start putting people on the schedule. Some patients want to have repeat exams every X, whatever it may be. We want to make sure that it’s updated and ready to go. Yeah. You know, for that. So that just brought me to another major point: the holidays, but for sure, on a regular basis. We are taking a look at all of that. 

Liz (14:32):
And we set up our schedule so that we check it; we obviously check it for the next day to make sure everything’s ready because there are always those moments, even with the second admin person. Where we add things, I’m like; we need to assign a tech to that place. Or something comes up, you know, with the recent need to close some places down. We’ve had to reschedule some things to accommodate their patients, keep everyone safe, and comply with what they needed. So being hands-on daily with the schedule is important, checking it weekly. And then, we do a monthly and a quarterly check as well. So I know at least three months in advance where things should be on the broader scale And then looking at that in a microwave as well, so I know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and if I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, things could go horribly wrong.  

Jen (15:22):
That we know that from experience. 

Jen (15:23):
Oh, we do. For sure. 

Liz (15:25):
Having someone responsible, whether it’s you or you’re at that place where you have another person for just managing that schedule, is a really big thing. When you manage your schedule correctly, your service sites can easily plop their people on and be done. And you will find as much as you train your service sites, and as much as you say things like, you must tell us 24 hours in advance, right? This morning I walked in, and one of our service sites didn’t have anyone on, and I know they have people Because I just know giving those reminders and saying, Hey, do you have people for us today? Or having a procedure where you say, well, I’m going to show up either way, and you’re going to pay a minimum. Whatever your procedure is, you need to have that procedure in place, and you need to manage your schedules constantly. 

Jen (16:14):
Right? Absolutely.

Liz (16:15):
Yeah. And then I think past the schedule, you always have, you have to have a system in place for calls because if you are the business owner and the tech, such a good point. You have to know how you’ll handle people calling you because you shouldn’t be taking calls during exams, most likely, so you j whatever your system is for us, we have a person in the office. That would be me, And so we, you know, we have systems for calls, we have priorities for calls, you have to figure that out for you and what you’re doing and figure out how you’re going to triage things, what you’re going to answer, what needs to go to an answering service or you know, a reservoir of messages and then you need to have a way that you’re communicating why it’s going to a message system. When you get back to them, all that also falls into that admin piece. 

Jen (17:12):
Really important. I think that’s so great. That information is amazing for those people who are the techs. They are the admin person. They are the marketing person. They are all things in one, all things. Right now, because you know, that is so even having, let’s say, okay, I know before I’m going to go into the office, I’m checking my messages to make sure my afternoon client doesn’t need anything. I check my messages after I’m done with my patients for the day or quickly in between. That’s such a great point. 

Liz (17:42):
And having that expectation. So my afternoon clients know that they probably won’t get me on the phone in the morning and because I’ve expressed to them that these are the hours when I am available by phone, and this is what’s going to happen if I’m not, or setting up that expectation. Hey, if you need something, we use a VOIP system that allows us to text from our main line, which I just think is so fancy. And I explain it to people that way. I have this fancy thing on my computer. They’re not nearly as impressed as I am, but that’s ok. 

Jen (18:16):
So we like to feel we’re cool sometimes. Yeah. 

Liz (18:18):
So being able to tell people, if you need me today, you can reach out, please text, please email. Or we have people that will call and they, they think something’s urgent, and they don’t get us by phone, but they should know because we try to train them that if they have something urgent, please shoot us a quick email and we will help you get through it because you want to cut down on those calls as much as possible. 

Jen (18:44):
Well, especially when you are the tech too. Yes, exactly. You can’t be answering calls all morning for people. 

Liz (18:51):
Absolutely.  

Jen (18:51):
When you are trying to scan that particular client’s patient, you are there for that client when you are there for that client—and so having those options. And, like you mentioned, having an email where you can quickly check in between patients. Does anybody need anything? And this conversation is making it sound like everyone has emergencies all the time. They don’t. 

Liz (19:08):
No, that’s not necessarily what we’re saying. 

Jen (19:15):
No, it is important to have those procedures in place, is all we are saying. 

Liz (19:20):
But that also brings up a good point as we continue on that down that line of thinking that when you have good admin procedures in place for everything. For your locations, they realize things aren’t an emergency Because you will have those physician clients who are like, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, the ICD10 is not in the system, my life is over. If the ICD10 is not in the system, contact your admin person by email, and they will fix it for you. If you cannot get a person on the schedule, fax us the order, and we will help you get it in. So having that procedure in place saves you but also your client from stressing that panic. That makes them feel like this is not worth their time, so keeping people calm. No matter what’s going on in your office, to make things happen, keep your people calm. 

Jen (20:14):
That is what we do every day. 

Liz (20:15):
That is the number one key to admin your job.

Jen (20:19):
Your people, calm

Liz (20:19):
People, keep people calm. I feel like I have my hands out all the time. 

Jen (20:23):
Everybody’s all down. 

Liz (20:24):
Well, it’s all right. But again, we don’t get emergent calls a lot, but we also have to help mitigate that fear. That comes from an office not knowing it’s not an emergency. I think that’s a big part of admin work is it is. Don’t stress about it, though, because you will have all these amazing systems in place. Because advanced imaging has all these amazing systems we do. And we help our students figure all of that out. We do. It makes life so much easier. 

Jen (20:53):
Absolutely. It does. 

Liz (20:56):
So we got down the rabbit hole with that one. Yes, we did, but I did want to mention also that as you’re working with those functions, the ultimate function that makes you money is scanning through to the report delivery. And that’s a big piece, but a lot of it is pretty automated. So we are lucky to have this great PACS system that allows us from when a patient’s scheduled to follow that through as an EMR. It stores everything for us regarding the images and then delivers the reports. So even though our radiologists, we have multiple radiologists, some people read for themselves, we send stuff through, it takes a few clicks, a little bit of oversight on the admin side, and you’re getting stuff delivered to the radiologist, they’re getting stuff delivered back, and then it’s going to your clients without a lot of work on your 

Jen (21:50):
End. Exactly. And so that allows, you know, us for our mobile business and the students that have that vendor connection from us to be able to do all of that as quickly as possible. Because you’re right, focusing on admin is super important, but getting that, making sure we’re making money, and being out at these physician practices is the point of having a business. So the quicker we can have all those back-end things done and delivered to our client, the better. And so that makes, that’s a really good point, is that having all of that as automated as possible gets things to them quickly they’re happy on the back end. I notice this a lot when I’m out talking with our physician clients or potential physician clients; their question is, how quick is the turnaround time? That’s very important for people. And it is the next business day, and they get so excited about that. But that’s not very much work on our end to make sure that’s done because of the automated system, so I think that’s such a great point to give to people. 

Liz (22:55):
And it also goes back to those processes. So if for some reason they don’t have their report the next day, because there are always things that happen. We are easily able; for one, we have a system in place for them if you don’t see your report; first of all, process-wise, as your physician’s clients are doing things you recommend to them, check for your reports, if you don’t see your report, here’s the workflow you follow to get it as quickly as possible You shoot me a call, I’m going to get with the radiologist. I’m going to take care of that. So that admin piece works also as a go-between. For everything. And so you are the admin hub between your physician clients and their patients and the radiology group, but you’re also using, if you are smart, you are using some sort of automated system to be the hub electronically as well. 

Jen (23:48):
Because we can easily see, and I know Liz does this. She knows we are at Dr. Smith’s office the day before. So she can go in the next day and see that all the reports were sent. We all know that just because a fax says it sent doesn’t always make it to them either. It got lost in cyberspace. Know that your physicians, whoever you’re working for, that happens on a regular basis. But the cool thing is we can easily, with one click, go in and resend it. 

Liz (24:24):
And they can access it themselves as well. There are multiple ways that they have a workflow. You can look at the PACS yourself and pull that report. Or if you’re not comfortable doing that, you give me a call. Exactly. Nine times out of 10, they’re going to look first. 

Jen (24:38):
Because they can pull it down super quick. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I love that point too. 

Liz (24:43):
And then I think my last point in the midst of all of that is everything we do on a daily basis then has to be, all of that has to be turned into data so that you can report on it so that you can invoice, whatever your service model if you are billing insurance, which some of our students do so that you can bill correctly so that you can make projections for the future, and so a big part of what we do is reporting as well. As the business owner, you are either creating those reports or should be looking at them. Yeah, absolutely. So don’t, don’t ever think that that part’s not important. 

Jen (25:19):
It’s so important. And I love that you brought that up as a point because if you don’t know the details of your business. You don’t know whether you’re doing well or you’re doing poorly. I mean, you know what your invoice is every single month. But if you know, for example, we can go in and pull the number of ultrasounds for one particular client. Physician client ordered. If we see that it’s trending downward over multiple months, we can say, Ooh, what’s happening here? I need to speak with this office specifically about this. What is going on? Yeah. Because it could be, we need to get in there and remind them of certain types of physicians or patient demographics that would be a good place for them to be ordering ultrasounds. Maybe they have a new doctor that doesn’t, for some reason, realize they can order stuff in the office. I mean, weird things have happened in our practice for sure. So it’s one of those things where if you don’t have your hand on those reports, you can’t, like you said, project. You can’t do a lot of the things that you need to be able to do to continue to uplevel and grow your business. Absolutely. So that reporting is super 

Liz (26:33):
It’s also important to the day-to-day operations; I need to know how many transvaginal ultrasounds we do so that I keep enough transvaginal probe covers. 

Jen (26:43):
On our shelves. I mean, it’s down to something simple like that. 

Liz (26:45):
Everything is simple. So you’re reporting and looking at what’s happening. Reports are a great way to keep your business going. 

Jen (26:52):
On multiple levels.

Liz (26:54):
Every level. 

Jen (26:56):
Okay. I love all of that. And I love this point that we wanted to talk about how our talented sonographer business owners, who may not really have a head for the admin kind of side of things, how we can best have them approach this work without losing their minds. This was my best talking point so far, Liz. 

Liz (27:18):
Big. And I think, even so, looking at you as a non-sonographer. We have sonographers that come in, and we task them with small admin tasks; sometimes, it’s the end of the world. Yeah. Because their minds don’t work that way. And so we make that as easy as possible. But for you as a business owner, if you’re a business owner and a sonographer, understand that it’s okay to drive you crazy, but you have to do the work. We want that to be less of a stressor. We want you to understand that you are an artist, you are a sonographer, you have a craft, and it is a valuable craft. And you just have to do these other things on the side and make them as easy as possible so that you can do your art. 

(28:06)
You do your craft and make your money. So some of the things that we talked about that I try to implement just as an admin person and that I talk about with our techs is you need to touch on admin stuff at the beginning and end of your service day. Yeah. Whether that’s your four-hour service block at a place or as a business owner. The beginning of your day and the end of your day. Because if you don’t know what’s happening in the next few hours and you’re not prepared for that by completing those admin duties at the beginning, you will fail midday, and that will just crush your soul. We don’t want your soul crushed then at the end of the day, you know, just looking at it from the image transfer workflow, if I look at the beginning of the day, I know what to expect. 

(28:56)
Right. I know. Most likely, if there’s going to be something that could be possibly emergent, that needs to be stated. I know who is Medicare because we send Medicare patients a little differently. I know all of these things. And so looking at the beginning, being prepared, and making sure that you work through your morning with the knowledge of what’s going to happen is important. Then following up at the end of the day, you’re checking to ensure all the images went to the radiologist. Yep. You’re checking your calendar for tomorrow. You are also making sure that what’s happening in the next few days is all set. So touching on admin tasks at the beginning and end of your day will keep them from admiring stuff down in the middle of your day. 

Jen (29:46):
Yes. 

Liz (29:47):
And will two keep you prepared at all times. And I think that’s important because it’s going to take stress off of you. 

Jen (29:52):
Absolutely. 

Liz (29:53):
Even to the point of I think list-making is important. So at the beginning of the day, I’m going to prioritize what I can handle. 

Jen (30:02):
Yes. 

Liz (30:03):
And that’s an admin task. 

Jen (30:05):
It’s hard to do sometimes. It really is because I feel like most techs have very similar personalities to us. We are very detail-oriented. We know what needs to get done, we’re ready to be doing those things, and we can take on too much sometimes because we have to have our hands on a lot of things. We like control over things. Absolutely. So yeah. I love that. You know, prioritizing what is the most important that we know we need to get done today and that we know we can. In the time allotted in these 24 hours that we’ve got, what are the things we need to have on our list? 

Liz (30:43):
And then, when you follow up at the end of the day, I think it’s important, if for no other reason than to check things off your list. Yeah. And show that you have been successful.  

Jen (30:53):
Checking you off of the list. Oh, so satisfied. Feel so satisfying. It feels so good. 

Liz (30:56):
I think it’s why I like admin work because I just check those things off. 

Jen (31:01):
I love that. 

Liz (31:02):
Or, you know, reprioritizing, I think that even not from a pragmatic standpoint, but from an emotional self-esteem standpoint. Being able to say I was successful at these things today. It’s going to keep you going. Because owning a business and then working it is hard sometimes. 

Jen (31:18):
It’s hard sometimes. 

Liz (31:19):
It stinks if you dislike admin work. 

Jen (31:22):
That’s hard. 

Liz (31:24):
So finishing up your day by successfully performing those last admin tasks to make that day a success, I think, is just, it’s powerful. Ooh, that’s getting touchy-feely. 

Jen (31:35):
Right? 

Liz (31:36):
Like we discussed before, just take that time to ensure you have systems in place. Yeah. It is a pain in the butt sometimes, but sitting down and writing out instructions for your people makes everything easier. Even if those people, even if you are the people Right. Having that checklist, just mind being mindful of your work and know that things are taken care of because you’re following that checklist that will make you so much less stressed. Knowing that your physician clients also have that, they know what they’re doing. You don’t have to worry that they don’t know how to schedule. That’s important—knowing that, you know, how you’re going to get your images to the radiologist at the end of the day without sweating about it. Yeah. Important stuff. 

Jen (32:23):
Very much so. And 

Liz (32:24):
Then I think we are good at seeking help when it comes to big-picture stuff. But we have a lot of students who hide their frustration with admin work, and usually, we have a quick fix for that. Yeah. We’ve had people come to us and say, oh my gosh, I just can’t do this anymore. I don’t know what’s going on. My places aren’t scheduling. Well, have you looked at the checklist we give all our sonographers? Oh, well, that’s, that’s easy. So I mean, just like, take a moment and ask for help. There are people who know that they’ve done this before.

Jen (33:04):
It’s like reinventing the wheel. Utilize it. Why reinvent the wheel? 

Liz (33:10):
Do not flounder; tread some water until you can get that help, but do not flounder. You’re going good. That’s a stress for everyone, and that can defeat you, and you don’t want to be defeated, and it also shows it pours over into your physician clients. They don’t want you if you are stressed and going into offices. If you’re stressed about how you’re going to make your workflow work and you’re going in to try to sign contracts, people are not going to think you know what you’re doing. Returning to what you said about when we implement at a place, we show them exactly what we will do. And so they have faith in what we’re doing because we have a system in place. 

Jen (33:56):
Yes. And we speak about it with knowledge, and they understand. Wow, this works because they’ve got step-by-step. I mean, we literally give them in that binder. They have step-by-step instructions with pictures. 

Liz (34:14):
Yes. 

Jen (34:14):
We literally cannot make it easier for them. Super easy. And so it’s so nice, and I think they feel much more comfortable. I mean, because think about it, anytime you do anything new or implement something new anywhere, it’s a little nerve-wracking. You’re wondering how it’s going to affect your other workflows. Think about it from an office standpoint. Absolutely. You know, the physician and the office manager have already talked to us. They already know they’ve signed the contract, we’re coming in, and now we have to talk with their billing people, and they’re scheduling people. You know, whoever is getting us the information for the PA patients that we’re, you know, going to be providing services for. We want to make that as smooth and easy as possible. Absolutely. Because I know as an employee, one thing that would be difficult for me is having my boss say, well, now I’m adding a bunch of additional work for you. So if we can go in there and say, hey, this is super easy, this is it. Good to go; here is a step-by-step instruction with a screenshot for every single thing. You’re good to go. And I think people are so impressed when we go in for these implementation meetings because it’s laid out so nicely. 

Liz (35:24):
Absolutely. 

Jen (35:25):
I agree. It makes everyone’s job easier. 

Liz (35:27):
Absolutely, and I think just lastly, automate, make sure you’re automating. Did I say automate? Anything you can automate, you need to automate; you still need to touch on those things. But touching them to review them and touching them to do the work are two different things. So a hundred percent. Absolutely. And then, you need to set aside time for quality assurance to make sure all those things are running smoothly. And that means everything from checking in with your physician clients to looking at your reports to make sure things look correct, you know, in our PACS system, there are turnaround time reports for radiology because you’re not going to necessarily touch every report But being able to look at the big picture and say, oh, it’s only taking 12 hours for things to get back. If that changes in the future, being able to contact that radiology group and say, why is this taking longer? You know, what do you need from us? What are you doing differently? That QA piece is so important to keeping your admin stuff going. 

Jen (36:31):
Yes. It is so important. Alright, Liz, so as one of our last talking points, I would love to ask you for any words of wisdom to help our business owners who are listening here succeed in their admin tasks. 

Liz (36:48):
Absolutely.  

Liz (36:50):
Listen to my wisdom, children. No, going back to start and end your day with that admin piece. Know what’s going on, your business, and your systems. Sometimes it’s a panic thing, but we get so overwhelmed with the admin piece that we’re like, I’m going to hire someone. And then I’m so glad that when I came here eight years ago that there were systems in place.  

Liz (37:18):
You didn’t bring in a person and say, oh my gosh, things are just out of control; fix it. 

Jen (37:30):
Right. 

Liz (37:31):
This is your business as a business owner; you need to understand your admin processes before you ever share them with anyone else or try to have someone else work them. 

Jen (37:43):
That’s such a good point. 

Liz (37:45):
I mean that just, you know, you wouldn’t create a baking recipe and not ever bake it to make sure it works and just be like, right. All right, kids, this is my recipe. You have to work the system so you know it works And then I think when you bring in an admin-minded person, that then helps. They have suggestions. They bring a new perspective to it But don’t jump on the I need to hire someone bandwagon. Until you’re ready, and not ready until you know your system. 

Jen (38:17):
Exactly. And that’s a; that brings another good point too because we may have, you know, we need an entire full-time admin person. I mean, double full-time. I don’t know; I would have Liz work a million hours a week if I could do it, but she has a family. Another thing I wanted to bring up, this is kind of just a random down-rabbit hole kind of thing. Very quickly here, but Liz and I are looking at a virtual assistant for a few things because we’re growing to a point where we need an assistant for Liz. I mean, there are certain things that we are looking at that we’re saying we don’t need a full-time person for, but I wanted to mention that because it could be a situation where you, as a business owner, those of you listening as a business owner may say, okay, I don’t have the need for a full-time person. 

(39:10):
What are my other options? And so hiring someone part-time or doing something like a virtual assistant where you can make sure HIPAA is kind of covered, and that needs to be part of that scenario. But there are so many different ways you can look at having someone come in to help. But to your point, you can’t have that person come in and create all of your protocols. This is your business. You need to have those protocols in place to say these are your job responsibilities. Pull out what will help you as the business owner focus on the things you want to do to grow your business. Allow them to have their hands touching the other admin side of things they need to do. 

Liz (39:51):
Absolutely. And I think that speaks to my role. When I came, I was strictly admin; we found and discovered amazing ways to condense the admin work So that I wasn’t needed to be a full-time admin. And so then my job responsibilities grew from admin to assistant operations director now. Not to toot my own horn, but now I’m the operations director, so these core admin responsibilities exist. I’m so proud of us. Working together to have taken this like all over the place schedules and time sheets and reports that took a week to do before, you remember when I started, there were like sheets of paper everywhere, and we were faxing things. With this new PACS, we’ve condensed so much of that. What took a day is now taking an hour, and just using that time wisely as a business owner to condense the admin piece to a workable piece will make your job so much easier. 

Jen (41:06):
And it allows, like just from speaking to what Liz is saying, condensing that piece for her and allowing her to help with other aspects of the business has allowed us to continue to grow our business to now where we’re saying, okay, let’s look at a virtual assistant to help with these particular things as we continue to grow. So you’re right. Being able to kind of condense that admin work so that the business owners can either hand that off to someone else or have it take such little time that they’re on their business and growing that part of it, and focusing on being able to grow the business, make more money, those types of things as opposed to focusing on the day-to-day admin tasks. 

Liz (41:44):
I have three little points left on my notes. Love it. I’m going to try and recap those. So I know we talked about: don’t panic; things aren’t always a mess. But you need to, from an admin perspective, be prepared that things may derail, they may go horribly wrong, but nine times out of 10 when someone calls you panicking, it’s not that they’re wrong; it’s that they’re misinformed so we’ve had instances where people are like, we never get our reports. 

Jen (42:17):
Hold on a second. 

Liz (42:18):
Let’s take a breath. Let’s look at our well-organized system and go through what reports you haven’t gotten. So I will show you that my reporting log says that you’ve gotten nine out of 10 of these reports. So tell me what you have and don’t have, and then we will work it down. You have to be prepared for that. I think having your admin systems in place doesn’t allow you to be like I told you, so you’re just wrong. It allows you to bring the situation down and de-escalate that anxiety because their whole life is not ultrasound. Your physician clients spend maybe one day a week seeing patients. To recap all of these ultrasounds they’ve done, this shouldn’t take up lots of their time. It should not stress them out. So being able to de-escalate that and let them see it objectively is going to save contracts. 

Jen (43:14):
I know what client you’re talking about. 

Liz (43:18):
I’m just saying. 

Jen (43:19):
But you’re right. Because if you didn’t have that opportunity to say, hold on one second, let me pull our report. You would have no idea, and so you wouldn’t know if you were wrong. 

Jen (43:32):
And you wouldn’t know what to say. 

Liz (43:34):
To be honest with you. And you may panic, or you may get defensive. 

Jen (43:37):
Yes. 

Liz (43:38):
So many ways could go poorly for you. Or you may see that you are wrong, and if you are wrong because we’ve been wrong before, you can say, okay, this is something I thought was working well; I see now that it isn’t. So here’s what we will do to make sure it works well, and here’s how I will be accountable to make sure that’s fixed. I’m going to over-nurture this so that you can trust me. 

Jen (44:05):
Yes. That is such a great point. 

Liz (44:06):
So I don’t think that everything that starts as a fire ends up burning the place down. It shouldn’t, but it will. 

Jen (44:14):
And you’re right. If you don’t have these things in place, it will. 

Liz (44:17):
It will. 

Jen (44:18):
Absolutely. 

Liz (44:19):
And I think that when students go out on their own and don’t succeed, it’s not because they’re not talented or able to do it. One of these small things, like an admin piece, doesn’t work, and they give up. That is just disheartening for everyone because these are easy things to fix. You just have to do the work. 

Jen (44:42):
Right. 

Liz (44:43):
And I think also going to that point; you cannot shirk the admin work. I like to put a little rhyme in there.  

Jen (44:51):
We need a bumper sticker. 

Liz (44:54):
Don’t shirk the work. So I think it’s really easy to be like, I don’t need to deal with that today, especially on the reporting side. Ugh, I’ll just wait. Don’t wait. Do it. Do the work. It’s just like working out. You have to flex those muscles. I should not be talking about working out. I’m a bad worker outer I’m inspiring myself.  

Jen (45:17):
It is a very good analogy.

Liz (45:19):
You need to condition yourself to be able to do the admin work, and then it becomes a habit, and you just do it whether you like it or not. 

Jen (45:25):
It takes so much less time to just quickly do it than to let things pile up where then you’re like, oh my gosh, it’s Friday, and I have five hours worth of stuff to look at because I didn’t do it this week. 

Liz (45:37):
I think, just as my last point, you have to believe in your processes, work out what’s going to work, and then fix that when it doesn’t work. Then you need to go with it and believe in it because when we walk into implementation, it works because we understand and believe in the process, and that helps us. I mean, if you don’t believe in your work, what are you doing? 

Jen (46:09):
What are you doing? That is a great way to end. This is what you are doing. 

Liz (46:14):
We believe in you.  

Jen (46:15):
That is the moral of this story. We believe in you. You can do this admin work. We’ve given you many points, and I was excited to do this. I came to Liz and said, Hey, you know, you have been working in our business so specifically for so many years. She’s going to be a regular guest here. But, I love this because I think it gives our listeners the idea that there are certain parts of this business that are important that maybe you didn’t think about initially that we want to give you guys this opportunity to learn more about a lot of the backend part of the business to help make you as successful as possible. And so absolutely. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today, hanging out with all of us

Liz (47:02):
Thank you. I’m so proud of myself. I didn’t grab the microphone once and break out in a rhyme or a song or something. 

Jen (47:07):
Liz is like a karaoke master. 

Liz (47:11):
I wouldn’t say that. I would say I often karaoke in my dad’s basement, but I like microphones, and it’s really hard for me. 

Jen (47:18):
So anyways, I’m very, I’m very impressed with her today for not, for not taking it over. Well, you guys, thank you so much. I hope this gave you multiple ideas and kind of ways to be able to make a list of the things that are so important for the admin side of the business and have you realized that it’s not all about that front end sales, marketing, legal, all of those things are so important. And then once you have that down, being able to, you know, put that admin side in place so that you’re keeping these contracts for years and years is so very important. So thank you all for listening today, and until next week we’ll chat then.

your strategy-obsessed ultrasound business coach.

I'm Jennifer -

Welcome to the Talking Tech podcast, where we answer your questions about legal, marketing, admin, sales, and so much more. After nearly 20 years in the industry running our own mobile ultrasound business and helping techs across the country do the same, I'm so excited to bring you industry insight, mindset, productivity, business tips, and inspiration to help you design the business of your dreams.

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