Archive for the ‘Practice Management’ Category

Referral Survey

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

ReferralSurveyManaging referral sources is vital to a practice’s growth. By tracking information regarding referred patients you can learn which practices/physicians are sending patients and what kinds of cases are being referred. As you begin to develop an effective referral program, it will also be helpful to understand why your referral sources select your practice. (more…)

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | Comments Off on Referral Survey

Vacation and Sick Days vs. Paid Time Off

Monday, April 28th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant
Vacation-DaysThere are several basic approaches regarding using paid days off as an employee benefit.  The traditional method of assigning paid days off is to allocate a number of vacation days and a number of sick days.  These are specifically defined paid days off given based on the employee’s length of service.  The idea is to provide vacation time as a benefit to be used to rest and relax in order to return to work refreshed.  In the case of sick time, days are provided to allow employees to recover from illness, injury, or surgery. (more…)

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | Comments Off on Vacation and Sick Days vs. Paid Time Off

ICD-10 Compliance

Monday, April 28th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant
ICD-10-ComplianceThe tenth revision of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) is a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO). It codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease. (more…)

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | Comments Off on ICD-10 Compliance

Are You Practicing Illegal Job Discrimination?

Monday, April 28th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

Take this survey to see where you stand.  As an employer, you:

Can refuse to hire single men or women who have small children at home
Can generally obtain and use an applicant’s arrest record as the basis for non-employment
Can refuse to hire women to work at night in order to protect them
May require all pregnant employees to take a leave of absence at a specific time before their delivery date
Need not attempt to adjust a work schedule to permit an employee time off for a religious observance
Only disobey the Equal Employment Opportunity Act when you are acting intentionally or with ill motive

Job-dscrrmntnThe answers to all of the above statements are false.  (more…)

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | Comments Off on Are You Practicing Illegal Job Discrimination?

Total Compensation

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant
Total-CompensationWith W-2 forms in the mail, now is a good time to inform your staff of the facts regarding their total compensation.  Many employees are unaware of just how much you, the employer, invest in them financially.  A total compensation statement not only shows your staff the value of the practice’s benefit package, but it also provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate the practice’s commitment to its employees.

As you compile information for the total compensation statements, remember to include all benefits, not just salary, bonuses, and health benefits.  Examples are listed below.

  • Mandatory benefits – social security (FICA), unemployment
  • Health benefits – medical insurance, dental insurance, pharmacy benefits
  • Paid time off – vacation, sick days, holidays, jury duty, bereavement, maternity/paternity   leave
  • Retirement and related income benefits – 401K, disability insurance, life insurance
  • Professional development – tuition reimbursement, professional membership dues
  • Miscellaneous benefits – bonuses, uniforms, mileage reimbursement

If you pay a portion of your employees’ health insurance costs and match a percentage of their 401K contributions, show a comparison of employer and employee distributions.  You provide these benefits to attract and keep the best possible workers.  Let your staff see the true worth of their hard work and dedication to your practice.

An Internet search of “total compensation statement” will give you a long list of companies and programs that produce these forms.  You can even find sample total compensation calculators, such as the one provided by CalcXML.

Regardless of how you choose to present this material to your employees – with color pie charts, bar graphs, or a simple list of numbers – remember to include a personalized message including the reason for distributing this information (to share with them the complete picture of their compensation package) and your thanks for their ongoing efforts toward the success of the practice (never waste an opportunity to let your employees know they are appreciated).

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 | Comments Off on Total Compensation

Creative Bonuses

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

Creatiove-BonusesIt is no secret that bonuses can be a powerful employee motivator.  Generally when we think of bonuses, monetary gifts at the holidays or end of the business year come to mind.  While extra cash is always valued, an unexpected gift can have a big impact.  With a little thought and creativity, you can reward deserving employees with meaningful gestures that will be long remembered and appreciated.

First, consider why you are giving a bonus.  The reason behind the gift sends an important message.  For example, treating the staff to lunch at the end of a busy period lets employees know you appreciate their extra efforts.  Recognition of five or ten years of employment says you value an employee’s dedication to the practice.  Do you receive feedback from patients?  Acknowledging a staff member who interacts exceptionally well with clients tells the office you place importance on a positive attitude.

Next, think about the person you are rewarding.  A thoughtful gift can mean more to an employee than a lavish one.  The gesture shows you take a genuine interest in him or her.  Purchase tickets to a ball game for the sports enthusiast, a CD or concert tickets for the music lover, or movie passes for the film buff.  Your office manager may appreciate an ergonomic chair or computer monitor.  A busy nurse could enjoy a gift certificate for a relaxing massage or spa treatment.

Whether you give an additional personal day to the staff member covering extra shifts, distribute a gas card to the receptionist who is always cheerful and polite to patients, or bring coffee and bagels to the staff meeting every other Friday, letting your employees know you notice and appreciate their hard work is well worth the effort.  You’ll boost office morale and encourage continued dedication to your practice.

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | Comments Off on Creative Bonuses

Work-Ins Add-Ons

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

work-insDealing with emergencies and working patients into your schedule are a fact of life in a medical practice.  A careful review of your appointments, however, should reveal a pattern for these “work-in” patients.  Most likely, you will find Mondays and days after a holiday or long weekend are the busiest.  If you work in a resort area, the pattern may be seasonal.

Once you have identified these hectic periods, you can begin to plan for the “unpredictable.”  If you usually have three or four work-in or emergency appointments per day, allow time for them.  For example, reserve slots at the end of your morning or afternoon hours for emergencies.  Doing so will allow you to make better use of your time and help reduce stress levels in your office.

In groups with multiple physicians, you might want to try a system of “add-ons” or AOs.  On a rotating basis, each doctor spends a block of time per day seeing all emergency and same-day referral patients.  This system can be particularly helpful for practices that care for high school or college sports teams.  When a trainer calls with an issue, he or she can immediately speak with the AO physician without disrupting the office’s schedule.

As the system grows, the AO schedule can be expanded and/or physicians can be added for peak periods.  Also, your practice can fax or email your AO schedule, with physician contact information, to your referring sources.  In a sense, your practice becomes an urgent care system, but without the need for evening hours.

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 | Comments Off on Work-Ins Add-Ons

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 | Comments Off on Negative Review

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 | Comments Off on Employee Retention

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 | Comments Off on Creating a Patient Process Map

Next Page »« Previous Page