Of course we are all looking for those innovative and new strategies that will change the course of our practice; but the truth is, success in practices is found in doing the everyday tasks efficiently and enthusiastically. Paying attention to the details of your practice……like the lighting in the waiting room, the comfort of chairs there, the friendliness of receptionist who is also accurate and efficient……getting the insurance information correct the first time…..keeping on schedule….creating a workflow that is not only convenient but also efficient……answering patients questions thoroughly and completely……listening to patients….understanding what they are really asking though maybe not phrasing the question exactly right…..answering the phones quickly……getting their billing accurate every time is a key ingredient to patient satisfaction.
There are so many things that are facing practices right now: EHR implementation, ICD 10 implementation, gearing up for higher Medicaid population (do you have a strategy?) and dealing with insurance exchanges that will provide insurance to a growing number of patients…..making long term decisions about the practice, that it may be a distraction from the everyday practice responsibilities.
Many practices now have practice websites that can be an invaluable tool to inform patients, answer questions, provide wellness tips and even provide email capabilities for patients to schedule appointments or ask questions. This tool can increase efficiency, keep phone use down, and give patients real and valuable information…….but they must be maintained. They must be updated, emails must be answered, new content needs to be added weekly to keep patients attention and coming back to use website.
You may be in the middle of implementation of an EHR. This can be a huge challenge for an practice…..but must be accomplished while keeping on schedule (or reducing daily patient load if need) and recognizing the patients still have the same needs today as they did prior to implementation……..it’s about the patient!! Communicating with patients about the challenges of implementation in a positive and friendly way will allow patients to not only know what’s going on…..but also work with the practice to understand what it means to them.
You cannot over-communicate with patients……..let them know what all the healthcare changes and laws mean to them and to the practice. Give them an opportunity to make suggestions ……. to participate in their healthcare……..this will drive compliance and lay foundations needed to shift from payment for service to payment for outcome. Outcome is largely dependent upon patient compliance…….having an ongoing and positive dialogue with them will get the practice on the right track.