Archive for February, 2014

Negative Review

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant
Negative reviewIn the past, patients commonly used word-of-mouth to share their opinions, good or bad, of you of you and your practice. With today’s social media, your patients can easily reach hundreds of people with their comments through outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Even external circumstances, such as a patient’s unrealistic expectations, can trigger a negative post. These comments can influence whether or not potential patients decide to solicit your services. With a little initiative, you can become more aware of your practice’s digital reputation.

Take time to investigate your practice, or “brand,” from a patient’s point of view. A Google search of your practice’s name is a good place to start, followed by a review of social media sites (Facebook, Google +, Twitter, etc.). Sites such as Google Alert (http://google.com/alert) and socialmention (http://socialmention.com) can also help you monitor your online reputation.

If you find a negative comment, don’t panic and don’t jump to a hasty response. If you decide to reply, do so calmly and politely. For example, “We understand your viewpoint and would like to suggest ______ to correct this situation.” A sincere effort to rectify a negative experience can often inspire a formerly unhappy patient to retract his or her bad review.

Last month we discussed building your online presence. Building a favorable presence begins with developing your brand’s unique voice. Actively publishing content on your practice’s website and social media accounts gives patients a feel for who you are and the kind of environment you cultivate in your office. Keep in mind that you are communicating in the voice of your brand, not as yourself. Consistent, positive content will build a solid online reputation that will outweigh negative comments.

Continue to perpetuate your brand’s image by scheduling regular updates and postings. Engage your online audience by commenting, sharing, and interacting through social media. Also, remember to monitor new online mentions and address them accordingly.

With a simple strategy and a small investment of time, you can achieve a more favorable reputation, increase patient trust, and improve your chances of winning new and repeat patients.

Terms and Conditions

Statements and opinions expressed in the Newsletter, Preferred Talk, are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of DT Preferred Group, LLC. DT Preferred Group, LLC makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. In publishing this Newsletter, neither the authors nor DT Preferred Group, LLC are engaged in rendering medical or other professional service. If medical advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. DT Preferred Group, LLC will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. This policy is subject to change at anytime.

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | No Comments »

Employee Retention

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

Employee RetentionRecruiting new staff is much more expensive, stressful, and time-consuming than retaining your current employees. Losing a good employee means you lose that person’s knowledge, need to perform a costly search for a replacement, and have to take the time to train the new hire. Also keep in mind that the Baby Boomer generation (age 50+), who number 76 million, are approaching retirement. Their successors, Generation X, only number 44 million, which will leave a deficit in the workforce. In other words, once you have good staff, it pays to make sure they stay.

It has been my experience that people leave managers or supervisors more often than they leave practices or jobs. It is not enough for a supervisor to have excellent interpersonal skills. A manager plays a critical role in employee retention and must be able to convey clear direction and expectations to the staff.

During an employee’s first few weeks on the job, you need to provide him or her with constructive feedback. Both formal and informal reviews should be given to all employees throughout the year. Exit interviews with departing employees can provide valuable information to help you keep remaining staff; you will rarely receive a more significant source of data about the health of your practice. I have found the most common employee complaints to be:

  • Unclear job expectations
  • No feedback on performance
  • Job or workplace not as employee expected
  • Mismatch between job and employee (right person, wrong job)
  • Failure to hold scheduled meetings
  • Lack of a system in which employee believes he or she can succeed

When an employee is floundering, I look to the words of W. Edwards Deming, “What about the work system is causing the person to fail?” More often than not, the answer is time, tools, training, temperament, or talent. The easiest issues to solve, and the ones most affecting employee retention, are tools, time, and training. Employees who do not receive what they need to perform their jobs will move on to employers who can supply their requirements.

Employees want to feel valued, but that does not mean money is always the key issue. Relationships, job fulfillment, and recognition are just as important. A gesture as small as a surprise gas card or retail gift certificate in appreciation of a job well done can generate positive feelings. Something that costs very little, but can greatly contribute to employee retention, is instilling an encouraging work culture. Make an effort to establish a series of values, such as honesty, excellence, respect, teamwork, and a good attitude as the basis of your culture. A practice that can create a positive environment for its staff will have an advantage when it comes to attracting and keeping employees.

Remember that employees want to feel appreciated and need to receive clear guidance and performance feedback from their supervisors. Employers who listen to employees, respect their opinions, and base rewards on performance have a better chance at retention than those who do not. Implementing these strategies will help keep your turnover costs low and practice morale high.

Terms and Conditions

Statements and opinions expressed in the Newsletter, Preferred Talk, are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of DT Preferred Group, LLC. DT Preferred Group, LLC makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. In publishing this Newsletter, neither the authors nor DT Preferred Group, LLC are engaged in rendering medical or other professional service. If medical advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. DT Preferred Group, LLC will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. This policy is subject to change at anytime.

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | No Comments »

Creating a Patient Process Map

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare ConsultantCreating Patient Process
Creating a patient process map is a simple, easily completed exercise that could produce meaningful updates to your practice.  A process map shows the path your patients take from initial contact with your office to final treatment and how the patients interact with you and your staff.  You will want to identify:

  • How patients learn about your services
  • How primary care physicians refer patients to your practice
  • If “hand-offs” from one staff member to another are smooth and effortless, or awkward and disconnected
  • The last interaction patients have with your practice and what impression it leaves

To begin, narrow your focus to a specific patient population – one that has a routine, predictable path, such as elective total joint replacement patients.  (More complicated paths, such as those of patients who come to your practice through the emergency room or other avenues, can be tackled after you are more familiar with this mapping process).  Even with this limited focus, you may find that a patient’s journey through your “system” has many staff touch points and divergent paths that need to be examined.  Stepping into your patients’ shoes and examining your processes from their perspectives is the first step toward having a more patient-centric experience.  Your goal is to learn:

  • Key interactions and transition points
  • Areas of duplicate or double work
  • Gaps where patients fall through the cracks
  • Other opportunities for improvement

After this exploratory exercise, the next step is to create an ideal patient process map.  What would you like this patient populations’ experience to be from this point forward?  Once you have prepared both of these maps, your next steps become clear.  Compare the maps to identify what needs to be changed in your current process to create an ideal version.

When the process is completed for your first segment of patients, it is easily repeatable for the rest of your patient populations.  Creating these maps can be a valuable exercise to launch a process-improvement project or the start of a new year.

Terms and Conditions

Statements and opinions expressed in the Newsletter, Preferred Talk, are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of DT Preferred Group, LLC. DT Preferred Group, LLC makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. In publishing this Newsletter, neither the authors nor DT Preferred Group, LLC are engaged in rendering medical or other professional service. If medical advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. DT Preferred Group, LLC will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. This policy is subject to change at anytime.

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | No Comments »