As physicians we are always looking at new procedures, new diagnostic tools and new tests to improve patient outcomes. What if we put the same effort into looking at how to streamline and improve the quality of care outside of clinical functions? In many instances, patient satisfaction significantly increases because of the experience in your office and the manner in which services are delivered. At the Institute for Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) we hear from practitioners at all phases in their careers on what makes their practices more successful. Here are some ideas:
We can take a lesson from the Japanese who have a concept referred to as Kaizen, which means “improvement.” This is not a once and done program but rather an ongoing strategy that calls for never ending efforts to improve your organization. In order to do this effectively, you need to get feedback from all those involved in your health care services: partner physicians, office managers, staff and patients. Ask for suggestions on ways to serve patients better and make your office run more smoothly and efficiently.
Identify Problems/Find Solutions
In order to improve, you first need to identify issues where things are not working or at least not working as well as they should be. Build regular time into your staff interaction to encourage the presentation of new ideas for improving the practice. Brainstorm to come up with possible solutions to identified problems. Allow staff members to implement their ideas when appropriate. Find ways to measure results to determine if the solutions are fixing the problem. And finally, remember to reward employees whose ideas were successful.
At a loss where to start? Why not look at some common office protocols and procedures and find ones that could be improved. Some areas to evaluate include:
- How many rings does it take before someone picks up a call in the office?
- How long does it take to get in to see a provider?
- How long does it take to verify a new patient's insurance information?
- Are appointment reminders done 100% of the time? Is this done by an automatic or personal call?
- How long does the patient "wait" in the reception area?
- How much time does it take to update the records, capture vitals and get the patient in a room?
- How long is the actual face-to-face time with the provider?
- How long is the "check out" process?
If learning more effective practice management strategies is important to you, consider a membership with IPED. We put a wealth of experience within easy reach through webinars, videos, blogs and face-to-face meetings. To find out more, contact us at: 978-296-7634.