The new year is upon us, making it the perfect time for your practice to set achievable goals for 2014 that will make a significant impact on patient satisfaction and the bottom line. Focusing on strengthening perception of you and your practice through initiatives centered around improving oral communication can be an easy, effective, and low- to no-cost way to more effectively connect with current and prospective patients — efforts that should ultimately translate to improvements in volume.
Here are three New Year's resolutions to consider instituting in your practice.
1. Prioritize community outreach as a key factor in personal development plans
Providers are no longer just selected off of a list provided to patients by insurance companies. Consumers are actively researching and often choosing their providers based on reviews, word of mouth, quality data, and feedback on social media. Appearing in the community provides prospective patients the opportunity to develop respect and affinity for physicians by seeing the physician "in action" both as a thought leader and a community member.
Physicians should seek out community outreach opportunities that are well suited for them. For instance, consider community groups that may have shared interests and values or seek out opportunities that involve smaller audience sizes if you are reticent about addressing large groups.
Consider these appearances not "lectures" but rather opportunities to engage and dialogue with potential patients. Aim for at least one outreach opportunity per quarter.
2. Institute the morning huddle
Set a tone of collaboration in your practice by meeting for just a few minutes in the morning with all staff to review accomplishments and challenges, and plan for how you will make the day ahead a better day than the one before. Share stories about successes with patients and develop strategies to improve on pain points. Physicians can use these opportunities to model engagement strategies and lead by example.
During this huddle, set simple goals for the day, such as smiling at every patient and walking into the waiting area to greet a patient rather than yelling a name from the doorway. Simple goals such as these can go a long way, as is the case with our third resolution.
3. Say thank you
Every patient who visits your practice is entrusting his or her care to you. Say thanks for the visit, each and every day, and make sure your staff does so as well.
The more you treat patients as customers, the more likely they are to return and refer everyone they know to you in the future.