Tag Archives: Practice Management

8 Habits Health Care Practices Should Learn from the Navy SEALS

Healthcare practices can adopt certain behaviors from the military to help not only boost the morale of the office, but also create a more engaged working environment. Follow these eight habits for your practice to operate at the optimal level:
1. Be loyal.
Loyalty to the team starts at the top. Loyalty is about leading by example, providing your team unconditional support, and never throwing a team member under the bus. Member of your team will be loyal to your practice if they feel like they are being appreciated.
2. Put others before yourself.
Go to work every day with the intention to make your team better and offer help to those who need it. People who become overworked and overtired are not productive members of your team. The success of the practice should be a priority for all employees.
3. Be reflective.
Understanding what works for you and what doesn’t is often underappreciated in the workplace. You’re expected to do things according to the way of the practice and that’s fine, but you should reflect on how your behavior and adaptability affect your overall performance.

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6 Ways to Improve Patient Retention

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
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.

Follow-up

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.

Physician interaction
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.

Telephone
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.

Answering Questions
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.

How to Manage Physician Staff Performance

Effectively managing clinical staff, for a medical practice, takes a lot of work and can be stressful at times. However, taking the proper steps to manage physicians and medical staff will boost revenue and decrease your turn-over rate. There are six steps that every practice should employ in order to create a productive and stress free work environment:

1) Shared GoalsPhysicians and staff should all share the same goal which is providing quality care for all patients. This is an overall goal for your practice as well as an individual goal for each physician and member of the nonclinical staff. In order to create shared goals amongst doctors and staff, there has to be guidelines and mission statement for staff. Creating a specific office culture that encourages growth and hard work will ultimately benefit how your practice operates. Connect with members of the staff during meetings in order to form cohesive goals that will have measurable outcomes.

2) Clearly Defined Roles
For any practice to function, and function well, roles need be to be clearly defined prior to an employees’ start date. A lot of the issues that arise between healthcare professionals have to do with confusion about job responsibilities. However, cross-training staff to learn your current EMR system may be a good idea; if someone is out sick then you won’t have to worry about jobs not getting done. It’s easy to say that doctors treat the patients and the staff controls the filing and scheduling, that’s true, but there is a lot more to the daily operations than just patient flow. When hiring an employee there needs to be a clear set of job skills and responsibilities that need to be met not just so they can understand their role, but the employer can organize daily operations of the practice better.

3) Effective CommunicationCommunicating effectively may seem like the easiest part about managing clinical staff, this is not the case; you’d be surprised to hear that many practices flounder because of poor communication. Communication needs to start with the practice manager and trickle down from there. If the practice manager does not communicate well with staff, then other aspects of the practice will suffer; revenue might decrease and the turnover rate will be high. Employees do not want to work in a setting where they are not given proper direction; the environment becomes chaotic and no practice can afford that.

4) Physician Productivity
How the physician is able to conduct his/her work on a daily basis greatly affects the entire staff. Dividing tasks into two categories: clinical and non-clinical, so the physician isn’t doing tasks that take away from seeing patients. Reducing unnecessary inbound calls and interruptions by nurses will help give the physician more structure throughout the day and maximize the amount of face-to-face time with patients.

5) Evaluation
Evaluating medical staff regularly and consistently can help you stay on top of staff performance. From the start of employment, a physician should know about your evaluation system and that they will be evaluated on regular basis. This will help doctors and nonclinical staff know that you will be evaluating them in order to better their job performance and better the practice overall. If you notice an employee is underperforming, there should be a set time limit for improvements. Documenting problems with a staff member will help you in the long term in case termination is necessary.

6) Mutual Respect
Holding weekly staff meeting will help develop respect between clinical and nonclinical staff. Meetings are a good way to keep in touch and stay on top of things. This does not mean your staff should feel like they are being micromanaged. Giving your staff enough room to excel at their jobs while staying on track of their performance will have a positive effect on your office culture.

Do You Know if Patients Think Your Medical Practice is Friendly?

Most patients can probably recall a time that they felt overlooked or treated in a rude manner by staff at a medical practice. Yes, medical and non-medical staff are very busy throughout the day, but this does not mean patients deserve to feel like they are an annoyance. After all, patients are coming to your practice in need or treatment or diagnosis and they deserved to feel welcomes and cared for.

A good way to get a jump start on creating a patient friendly atmosphere is putting yourself in your patients’ shoes. Take a look around the office, is the waiting room welcoming? A lot of patients often feel intimated when they walk into a waiting room that has tons of signs posted stating co-pays need to be paid at the time of service or about being late for an appointment. Your office has policies for a reason, but posting a bunch of signs may not do the trick. Calling patients to confirm their appointments 24 hours beforehand and reminding them in a polite way about co-payments will actually produce much better results. Sure, there will always be some people who cancel last minute or forget the co-pay, but having a system in place for dealing with minor inconveniences like these will reduce the stress of the staff. You may even consider an opt in text message notification policy like many practices are using today.

If you don’t know something is wrong you can’t fix it – Always make sure the Doctors, Practice Managers, Nurse Practitioners & Physician Assistants ask patients; How has your visit been? How easy was it to schedule your appointment? Are you happy with our practice?…. Patients who are asked for their input feel appreciated. One of the biggest ways to create a welcoming atmosphere starts with good practice management. If the staff feels appreciated, then the office will run happily and efficiently. Having a happy medical staff that is also on top of their game will reduce patient wait time and create a great atmosphere for you, your staff and most of all your patients’.

Management Tips for Physician Practice Owners

Practice management is the most significant aspect of a well-organized office. The recruiters at SpineSearch know how important it is for a practice to have great management in order to retain employees. This week we will focus on steps you need to take towards effective practice management.

In order to manage your practice well, you have to establish a well drafted manual of policies your employees will follow. Use probationary periods and have a formal hiring process. If you have a system for hiring, you are less likely to hire employees that will not meet the criteria you are looking for. These tasks may seem difficult but there are huge benefits in establishing an office that runs efficiently.

Set up a meeting for your staff and show both new and experienced employees the new policies. Make sure everyone is on board and understands why you are enforcing these policies. Your goal is to create an office environment that is both positive and structured. Your employees need to feel like they are being heard just as much as you need to feel like you are in charge.

Aim for a healthy sense of control; you know what your employees are up to and they feel like they can come to you with any issues or concerns they have about their jobs. Communication goes a long way in an office setting; you can retain employees better if you establish a good working relationship with them.

Practice management can feel like a daunting task, but if you start out with a clear set of standards before you hire your next employee you will see a huge improvement in the overall flow of your office.

Here are four steps to remember:

1) Empower and Inform: Practice owners should monitor employees in a constructive way.
2) Talk and Listen to People: Spend one-on-one time with employees. The more you know about your practice, the better it will function.
3) Let People Work at their Highest Purpose: Give positive reinforcement. Encourage your employees to take on more responsibilities at work.
4) Follow up and Be Consistent: Set specific goals and timelines, have weekly meetings to catch up with what everyone is working on.

Emotional Needs in the Workplace

Am I happy with my job? People ask themselves this all the time without putting too much stock into whether the answer is yes or no. However, if you are unhappy with your job this can affect job performance and overall self-esteem, and decrease your productivity at work. This week we’re focusing on how emotional needs have to be met in the workplace in order to create a positive work environment.

Emotional needs in the workplace are very important in contributing to an overall healthy work environment. If you feel like no one cares about you at work, then you are more likely not to work as hard or dread going to work.

Feeling like you belong at your job and with your coworkers goes a long way when furthering your career; motivation is everything. When you feel like you belong and that people understand and listen to you, you’re much more likely to be successful at work. Team building at work can help fulfill the sense of belonging and also relieve stress. When a person feels like they cannot turn to anyone at work they become unhappy in the workplace.

Being given more responsibilities at work helps create great self-worth. When your boss gives you more tasks and responsibility it shows how valuable you are to the team. You should always be looking for opportunities to grow within your field and gain more knowledge about your industry. It is important to gain recognition for a job well-done. If you do not get the credit for your hard work you will not feel valuable.
Happiness at work is an important factor for employees everywhere. Finding a field you love and wanting to further your career will give you lasting success. SpineSearch can help you find a job that makes you happy and successful!
Contact SpineSearch Today!

SpineSearch receives national certification as Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Presidents’ Educational Organization

PRESS RELEASE

Date August 4, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nicola Hawkinson
Office: 646-794-8656
Fax: 212-208-3084
Nicola@spine-search.com

New York, NY – August 4, 2011 – SpineSearch LLC, a business specializing in, recruitment, educational, and marketing services for spine practices, received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization – New York Certification Committee, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization – New York Certification Committee is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.

By including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations, and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.

To learn more about SpineSearch LLC, please visit www.spine-search.com

About SpineSearch LLC
The SpineSearch mission is steadfast in providing a superior network between highly qualified healthcare professionals, spine specialists, and healthcare facilities. Our vision is to provide a cutting edge network within the spine field and its professionals. We are focused exclusively to the field of spine medicine and offer a unique level of expertise in the spine industry.
SpineSearch is an organization that provides recruitment, educational, and marketing services for spine practices. SpineSearch is led by experts in the industry who are knowledgeable about every dimension of the field. We invoke a commitment to those employed in the industry, offering continued education and career building symposiums, focusing on job satisfaction and decreased turnover. A community network of spine professionals dedicated to the future of spine, truly a revolutionary “way of spine”.

About WBENC
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council is the nation’s largest third party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the United States. WBENC is a resource for the more than 700 US companies and government agencies that rely on WBENC’s certification as an integral part of their supplier diversity programs.

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Tips for keeping your medical staff HAPPY!

Tips for keeping your medical employees HAPPY!

1. Clearly defined job descriptions and clearly defined chain of command

Many medical practices often delegate responsibilities in a very informal manner/process. This is a recipe for disaster in any large practice and or growing practice. Consider listing project priorities for your practice that are receiving attention because you’re working around staff that haven’t previously had defined job rolls and or responsibilities. SpineSearch recommends creating an organizational chart and chain of command diagram and a job description for every roll within your office.

2.Establishment of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

A formal system includes employee goals, assessments of substantive accomplishments and behaviors, peer reviews, goals and prioritities, support needed from our staff. KPIs are important so employees know, before undertaking the job or project, exactly what is needed to be done and what an acceptable outcome is.

3. Reward those who go above and beyond
Reward those that work extra hours, are extremely resourceful, and or go outside of their job description to complete tasks for the office. Monetary rewards are not always the most successful. Try giving half days, dinner on the office, peer recognition…and don’t limit the rewards to individuals. Your office should also have team goals/descriptions — these groups can and should be rewarded.

4. Continuing education / opportunity for self improvement & advancement

In this era of health care reform it is extremely challenging to keep up with changing laws, regulations, reimbursement guidelines, daily operations and daily practice demands. By keeping employees current in each of their individual fields it helps to ensure the entire office is up to par with changes. This process also helps let employees know that you are investing in them and the betterment of their individual careers. Don’t just focus on clinical or required education. Look for education on customer service, disaster planning, patient flow, time management….

5. Have Fun!

FUN in the job place can go a lot longer than most administrators would think. Celebrate events such as birthdays, anniversaries, child birth, holidays and office specific accomplishments. If you are undergoing a big task, such as converting to an EMR system, order food for the office, give a small gift to each member of the team before the process begins (thanking them for their committing to the successful accomplishment of the task), or go out for an office dinner/drinks as a FUN event.