In many ways, healthcare practices are like people. Both are complex, multifaceted entities, and the performance of each is entirely reliant on the skilled management and health of all moving parts, whether it’d be practice management, practitioners, staff, or patients.

Every practice has unique strengths and challenges; however, there is an underlying formula, or science, that supports the wellbeing of all practices, much like our immune system. At the most basic level, successful practices are seen as unique, relevant and consistent. To achieve this impression with patients, practices need to offer good things that matter.

Investigating the health of your practice further, you must not take your patients or your staff for granted. Instead, you must establish an authentic environment for both groups, making it easy to engage with them. Successful healthcare practices have very particular procedures and policies. They take everything seriously, especially the small things. For example, everyone on their team mysteriously always knows each patient by name or offer a glass of water on a hot summer’s day.

The success of your practice depends on its ability to create value for your team and your patients. Here are 10 factors that enable a healthcare practice to generate demand and value:

1. Internal clarity about the meaning and purpose of why you are in practice
2. A commitment to build and support the practice name and its reputation
3. Protection of your practice name, logo and its reputation throughout the community
4. Responsiveness to changes in your clinic environment, e.g. new competitor
5. Authenticity of patient service
6. Relevance to patient needs
7. The degree to which your practice clearly differentiates itself from your competitors
8. Consistency in patient experience (in particular in a multi-practitioner, multi-staff clinic)
9. Exposure of your practice name where appropriate, e.g. newspaper advert and editorial
10. Understanding of the role your healthcare and practice plays within the community

Human health and practice health share similar maintenance requirements: a holistic perspective on what’s going on inside, regular check-ups, acute awareness of external influencing factors and urgent attention given when problems crop up. How healthy is your practice?