Advice for a New Physician
If you’re a new physician looking for employment it can be a daunting task. All of a sudden you are thrust into the job market and knowing where to invest your time can be tricky. You don’t want to be forced to take a job you don’t particularly like, or be stuck with no viable options. The best way to conduct a job search in the current market is to do your research and think outside the box.
1. Cast a Wider Net
Some physicians are overwhelmed by the variety of choices and unaccustomed to negotiating for a job, new doctors often wind up in positions that are a bad fit for them, and they move on after just a few years.
A common mistake is only focusing your job search in one location. That narrow approach could force you into a job you don’t really like. Think about it: you’re so focused on just the location of a prospective job that you forget to zero-in on more important things like the salary and benefits. Does this job have a lot of on-call time? Is there room for growth? Concentrating on one aspect of a job leaves you open to disappointment in the long run. Your dream job may not be in the location you think it should be.
Adding more doctors to your practice might be a smart move for smaller practices. Yes, the added cost can be expensive but for most doctors it is well worth it. Smaller practices have struggled more and more recently. It is harder to keep doctors in smaller practices when the payoffs are not as big but the responsibilities are greater. You might be stuck deciding what path to take to grow your practice; here are four ways to scale up:
1) Satellite Offices
Scaling up the practices can occur a few different ways. One way would be opening satellite offices as a means to create more revenue and patient. Making the practice more accessible to patients will help you engage new patients you wouldn’t have seen otherwise as well as utilizing more doctors. Life at a larger practiced is more varied. In a big practice, physicians might spend time pursuing special interests or research. Options for part-time work are more available at a larger practice where responsibilities aren’t piled on between one or two physicians. The larger practice setting can also provide economic benefits for the physician.
2) Updating Technology
Utilizing EMR systems and updating software regularly will help with patient flow and wait times. The more organized the practice is, especially a larger office, the more patients can be seen. Implementing new technology can be stressful but if you are dedicated to growing the practice you and your staff must be able to adapt. Practices that are most successful are the most adaptable to change.
3) Adding Ancillary Services
Are you commonly outsourcing an ancillary service that fits with your current and potential patient population? Integrating services needed by your inbound and outbound referrals provides you with a patient-centered continuum of care with the goal of improving continuity of care, compliance and outcomes.
4) Broaden the Types of Specialists in the Practice
Thinking outside the box will help the practice achieve success. Giving patients the option of alternative treatment plans is becoming more popular as patients have greater access to knowledge about treatment options from online resources.
Whatever route you choose to scale up your practice, remember it is important to know that these changes take time. Whether you plan to add more physician, satellite offices or ancillary services each step to grow the practice will ultimately make your practice stronger and more profitable for the future.
For many medical practices retaining patients is an unspoken challenge. Of course there are always going to be patients and physicians to treat them but during a time of change in healthcare it is increasingly difficult to retain patients. There are six simple ways to help keep your practice on track:
Marketing your practice the correct way will help increase patient retention. A lot of practices still don’t utilize the technology that is available and this can negatively impact their practice. Contacting patients through Email, making them aware of the services your practice offers, is one way to stay in touch with patients. Your online presence plays a huge role in how accessible you are to patients. Creating a website and keeping it updated regularly will also be in your best interest.
Proper Scheduling /Wait-time
When the office gets busy, sometimes appointments can get backed up. Many patients have busy schedules as well and you don’t want to keep them waiting around. Be realistic about how long it will take the physician to see the patient and schedule accordingly. Patient wait-time can negatively impact your practice and cause you to lose patients. The more organized the office is at the start of the appointment (check-in) the less confusion and idle time there will be.
Schedule a time in the day for the physician to follow-up with patients. Regularly notify patients of upcoming appointments either by email or telephone. Not only will patients feel like a priority but the practice will operate more smoothly if you can plan ahead for canceled appointments or changes.
The amount of time the physician is spending with patients matters. A physician can be outside of the room looking at the patient’s chart for 15-20 minutes and then go into the room and speak to them for 5 minutes. A patient is not seeing the amount of time the physician spent on his/her case and that can be discouraging to the patient. The physician should spend more time with the patient; going over the chart and plan for care with the patient in the room will be beneficial to you and the patient.
Patients value how telephone communications are handled by the practice. Have a protocol for answering and transferring phone calls; the last thing you need is a patient complaining about rude front desk receptionists. You don’t want there to be communication gaps; make sure the staff notifies the physician of important calls as they come in.
Sometimes patients may have questions or concerns that come up after their appointment and this is expected, but planning ahead is essential. Be prepared. Make sure the office has pamphlets and other material that will be useful to patients and answers common questions about care and treatment. Try to answer as many questions before the patient leaves the office so the receptionists won’t be fielding questions to the physician all day, which takes up a lot of time.
Retaining patients should be a top priority and ensuring you are able to create good relationships with patients depends on how well the practice functions on a daily basis. Making small changes that enhance patient experience and organization will have long-lasting effects.
“Differentiation” is the key in creating a Brand. So why is it that most Doctor’s Brochures are viewed as a consumable expense and look just like any other professional practice or organization brochures? Homogenizing is BORING! Your positioning must be unique and you can’t be everything to everyone, so why try to be? You want to appeal to as many in your target market as possible. You must recognizee someone will be left out – That is OK.
Brochure vs. Patient Education is completely different and we will argue they should be separate. Education does just that educates and informs (general/homogenized/plain vanilla….is ok) brochures motivate people to become your clients. Unless you are the only Doctor in the geographic area choosing a surgeon is a very emotional process – patients choose a surgeon emotionally and justify logically. Brochures need to sell from the heart not the head. Both visuals and words sell the emotion.