After a tougher day with patients not that long ago, I chilled out at home, then before quitting for the day, I made a list of 7 or so vital areas in practice I needed to review in detail tomorrow with the entire staff. And then we did so, as a team, the very first thing before patients the next day.
Of course, the theme of this meeting was “Mixed Messages to Patients“.
In your private practice, mixed messages to your patients can spell absolute disaster. If everybody is not precisely on the same page with crucial issues, especially no-shows, payments unable to be processed, and patient compliance, then chaos, pissed-off staff, poor production, and the accompanying frustration that results will really drag you down.
And let’s face it, practice is difficult enough without all these systems not running on autopilot.
So, what’s the bottom line in your office policies on appointments, additions to basic treatment plans, over the counter collections, noncompliance with home care, etc.?
What about the all-important staff policies on attendance, vacations, etc.?
If your answer to any of the above is “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know”, then you need to focus on and shore up that policy immediately.
Every single staff person must know and execute these policies in a similar cohesive manor. Sending mixed messages to patients is bad enough. But if you don’t even have a policy in place for your staff to follow, you’re setting yourself up for some major headaches down the road. And likely sooner rather than later.
I suggest setting aside some quiet time that is non-cancelable, where you can pinpoint each policy that is lacking or needs fine-tuning. Get out a pad of paper and list out some ideas. Speak with other physicians you know, or mentors that you look up to, and ask them about the policies they have in place. These people in your life can be an invaluable resource for you to turn to and learn from.
But whatever you do, don’t put off creating and implementing these office policies. Your staff and your patients need to be clear on where you stand!
I wish you the best along your journeys!
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