Keeping a medical practice running smoothly is one of the hardest challenges office managers face today. Having to juggle various administrative burdens while keeping your office fully staffed and maintained often takes a backseat to acquiring more patients.
Ensuring your patients’ satisfaction means tending to their worries and woes. The best way to do that is to have a staff that’s attentive, available, and extremely knowledgeable. Your staff must be willing and ready to meet with their patients one-on-one, give accurate and adequate information and offer each patient peace of mind.
How can you make that happen? Easy, follow these six tips.
1. Automate your appointments
In 2017, the average time it took for a patient to book an appointment through the phone was roughly 162 seconds. That’s nearly three minutes that your staff has spent trying to get all the details in order. More than that, it’s time a potential patient has sacrificed to schedule an appointment.
If you haven’t already, you should consider setting up online booking for appointments. Not only will this help cut back on wait time, but it’ll also free up your staff to better assist your in-office patients, which is sure to help convert more newcomers.
Additionally, remember to send out both appointment confirmation emails and friendly reminders a day or two before their scheduled visit. As the national average no-show rate for primary and specialty care appointments is just shy of 20%, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars you could be missing because your patients forgot (not to mention the problematic health implications associated with missing an appointment). It’s 2018, and automation is key!
2. Organize your office
Studies suggest that the average practice makes 19 copies of every medical document, resulting in hundreds of thousands of loose papers running rampant in a corporate closet. If you’re still filing documents the old-fashioned way, consider setting up a cloud storage solution to house, file, and organize your patients’ records. Not only will this help cut back on the clutter in the office, but it will also give your staff more breathing room, resulting in faster check-in times and, you guessed it, more time they can spend meeting with patients face-to-face.
After all, having a dedicated system that tracks, records, and organizes your practice’s myriad of documents and requirements makes it easier for your clinicians to turn 100% of their focus toward their patients, which in turn will naturally help raise the overall satisfaction rate. It’s a win-win.
3. Keep your patients satisfied
WebMD may have made it easier for self-diagnosis, but it’s created a whole new generation of paranoid patients. As most staffers have probably realized, keeping patients calm in the world of readily available health sites can be a burden. Instead of merely dismissing this, train your staff to address these issues head-on. Now more than ever, patients will second guess their diagnosis. That’s why it’s essential to teach your team to be understanding yet assertive.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is to give them a platform to speak up. Patients don’t want to spend their time waiting in a lobby to meet with an overworked physician or an under-qualified staffer. Keeping your staff focused and cutting back on the excess clutter will help give your team more time to sit and talk with their patients, which will likely help assuage their reservations.
4. Address the insurance elephant in the room
In the world of ever-changing insurance policies and Medicare premiums, it can be hard to keep your patients happy while sorting through their various policy protocols. Above all is, it’s important to be as transparent as possible — as early as possible — as to any potential costs and fees.
As physician recommendations are typically the driving factor behind most healthcare costs, it’s essential that you and your staff have an idea of how much a process will cost a patient up front. Whether you or your team agree is moot: the fact is that in 2018, physicians need to start considering potential medical costs as part of their treatment options.
5. Offer incentives to keep your staff happy
It’s no surprise medical offices have one of the highest turnover rates in the world. A 2017 poll found that more than half of all respondents reported a turnover rate of at least 10%. While that’s an unusually high percentage, you can help mitigate the loss by putting more emphasis on your staff’s future.
The key to maintaining a trained and talented staff is to create roadmaps, set goals, and offer incentivized rewards. Positive reinforcement can go a long way. Want proof? One recent study found that offices with incentive programs saw a 15% boost in employee productivity compared to those with no programs in place. A respected staff is a happy staff, and a happy staff is one that sees rewards in the work they’re doing.
We feel your pain, but hopefully these tips help alleviate some of your pain.