By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
From time to time a Physician may need to step back and look at their medical practice from the outside.
It’s usually good to take this time-out to reflect on the year during a time or season of the year that is typically “quiet”. That might be right after you’ve returned from a vacation and have “fresh eyes” and can take a day to collect your thoughts, meet with staff and make policy or any procedural or process changes necessary that you feel are needed/wanted.
Try to visit your medical practice as a new Patient or even, a current Patient, not as the owner or Physician-CEO.
Current Patients might have lower standards so bear in mind, sometimes it’s a smart idea to have someone you know enter the practice in all its functioning glory and provide you with some “mystery shopper” feedback.
Ask some of your best or most frequent Patients what they would want included at your medical practice in order to make it even better.
It’s possible, but not always executed correctly, to ask some of your employees for their insights as well. They may have great ideas. And remember, just because YOU [the Physician-CEO/aka boss] didn’t think of the idea first, doesn’t necessarily mean your staff or patient insights or ideas are bad ideas. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Some of the best leaders “listen” and are humble and wise enough to know the difference between “when to move ahead” and “when to stop” on certain ideas.
- Do Patients (new and current) say YOU make it easy for your Patients to see you?
- Do Patients (new and current) say your staff make it easy for your Patients to connect with you?
To make it easy for your Patients, try removing simple distractions or frustrations they might have. Hassle-free healthcare is possible, despite what we all think and read out there. Here are some helpful questions you might want to ponder.
- How easy it is for your new Patients to find your telephone number on Google?
- How easy it is for your new Patients to find your telephone number on your web site? Hint/tip! It should be on EVERY page! Don’t hide it from your community … we need your insights into our health and life more than you realize. We know you’re busy, but too often Physician-healthcare offices “hide” their telephone numbers from People on their web sites and Facebook pages. BE AVAILABLE! If you’re hard to reach right now and we haven’t even joined the practice, what do you think that “communicates” to people trying to learn more about you? Hint: It tells us as new Patients that this is going to be a difficult office to schedule, work with and get answers from in the future. Is it fair? No. Is it accurate of our marketplace today, unfortunately, yes and all too often.
- How do your employees treat your existing Patients? How do your employees treat your new Patients? Is there a difference? If so, why/how?
- Turn-around time for simple lab results after it has been ordered. Do you require an in-office visit? If so, can that process be streamlined? Perhaps a phone call from you, their Physician for 5-minutes will suffice?
- How easy it is for your Patients to get help from your staff once they walk into your practice?
- Post your hours and location(s) of operation in as many places as possible for people to find, online and off.
- How easy it is for your new Patients to wait in their cars while waiting to see you?
- The methods of payment you accept. Insurance, cash, credit or both?
- This last one is a BIG ONE. How easy it is for your Patients to receive a refund on amounts you owe them?
The Bottom Line
Making your office irresistible is possible and important. The easier you can make it for them, the better your ability to succeed as their Physician long into the future. You’ll increase existing patient loyalty and maybe even smile a little more too! It can be just that easy.