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Turning Issues into Opportunities at Your Medical Practice


Another year has passed where you meant to make changes at your medical practice, but didn't. Here's how to act in the moment and make true change this year.

Just as you review your staff and billing company regularly, how about taking a step back and reviewing your medical practice? Opportunities are everywhere; you just have to be open to see them. They arise in so many situations: employees bickering amongst themselves, patient complaints about a staff member, unkempt inventory, cleanliness of your office, front / back office efficiency, etc. The list is endless, really. So, how do you go about turning these issues into opportunities? It's a lot easier than you think.

First, we all know that the word change can scare people into doing nothing, rather than something; think “deer in the headlights.” They become stoic because just the thought of someone changing their routine is so frightening. However, when you notice an opportunity present itself, that is the moment to make a change.

Take the following scenario for example:

You have a new patient coming in to see you today. As she is brought back into the treatment room by your nurse or physician assistant, they ask a few simple questions:

• How are you feeling today?

• What is it we are seeing you for today?

• I'd like to ask how your experience with us has been so far. Was it easy for you to make your appointment? Has our staff been friendly and helpful?

At this point, you have not only made the patient feel welcomed, you have asked them to be a part of your decision making by asking for their input. You are creating a customer experience for them they will also never forget.

Now, it's your turn to see the patient. You examine them going through your question and answer session. You can ask them another few questions about their experience with your staff:

• How long did you have to wait before you were called back?

• Was the nurse / PA (or use their name for a more personal experience) friendly?

• Did they answer your questions?

Lastly is the check-out process. This is your last opportunity to make that permanent impression. If there needs to be a follow-up appointment made or copay/insurance collected this is the time to make sure the patient is clear and understands her insurance benefits. Your staff member could ask:

• Are there any other questions you might have for the doctor that you forgot to ask?

• Is there anything else I can explain about your insurance?

• Will you need us to call someone to pick you up?

There are so many areas of opportunity waiting to be found. By involving your staff in this process, it makes those areas easier to identify, investigate, and update policies or procedures that might need it. Try to look at these opportunities as found gems rather than problems to attack. It provides a much more positive experience for change, and your staff will be much more amendable.

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