Create strong connections between team members. Even a small group of people who work together will develop highly complex interconnections—some positive, some not. As practice leader, you can (and should) take responsibility for team relations. Actively encourage cooperation and camaraderie while discouraging conflict and negativity.
Involve more than one surgical staff member in handling practice finances. This minimizes the possibility of someone falsifying accounts for personal gain. Never let the person who collects money also make bank deposits. In addition, use an accounting firm to conduct unscheduled audits. Checks and balances―with in-house and outside oversight―can help prevent any financial impropriety.
Look for ways to achieve the practice vision. A vision forces the practice to clearly focus on objectives. It maps out a clear direction for your practice over the next three years so that the doctor and the team can enjoy the highest levels of satisfaction. The excitement of pursuing a realistic vision makes working in the practice a more rewarding experience.
Try to mirror the patient’s body language. When meeting a new patient or recommending treatment, using the right body language can help put the patient at ease. If the doctor or treatment coordinator subtly imitates the patient’s body language, it will communicate a sense of empathy and understanding.
Help keep practice systems and technology up-to-date. Everyone on the surgical team should be on the lookout for opportunities to upgrade protocols in order to enhance patient care, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and generate new revenue. The best suggestions for such improvements will usually come from team members… if they are encouraged.
Memorize the practice’s vision. Your practice will achieve greater success—more quickly—if everyone on the team knows what success looks like. That’s what a vision statement provides. Created and shared by the doctor, the vision shows where the practice should be in three years. By memorizing it, you’ll be inspired to make it a reality.
Deliver “WOW” customer service. Surgical patients who have a very positive experience at your practice will probably tell others about it. They’ll praise you when talking to the doctor and staff at the referring office, which will help increase the number of referrals you receive. And if they tell their friends about how well they were treated, you’ll get more referrals and your reputation in the community will grow.
Additional Resource: Read an excerpt from Dr. Levin’s book, “Customer Service Secrets of Top-Producing Specialty Practices,” by clicking here.
Start all cases within 7 days. Once surgical patients accept treatment, try to schedule them no more than one week later. Keep them waiting any longer and they may cancel… either because they’re hesitant about getting treatment or are considering seeing another surgical specialist.
Exclude stress from your surgical practice schedule. Without a smart scheduling system, you’re probably creating unnecessary stress in your office. Rather than just filling openings in the schedule or leaving it up to patients, create a template for the ideal day… and follow it. You’ll be able to take on challenging cases when your energy level is high and distribute the work uniformly throughout the day, avoiding ups and downs. Both doctor and staff will experience far less stress.
Advice for the Practice Owner – Replace outdated computers and software. Technological innovation moves at an increasingly accelerated pace. Trying to get by with 10-year-old computers or software is like asking staff members to work with one hand tied behind their back. To reach higher levels of productivity and profitability, upgrade computers and software every five years.