I just talked with a doctor today in a two doctor practice. She said “things are fine” but after 21 years in practice, she is feeling that “things” are changing and that they should start taking some pro-active steps to keep up with the times and shifts in culture. She feels they need systems and structure like the big corporations of the world who grew and did well as a result. Her partner is happy the way things are and says “nothing is broken, why fix it?”
Shifts in Time
Factually, however, “things” are always changing to some greater or lesser degree. It can be very subtle though and your practice could be aiming for the downward slope and lose its value if not “kept up with the times.”
For instance, take staffing.
A new generation
There have been definite shifts in how young people dress, speak, use their cell phones, loyalty, pay expectancies, attitude, etc. In fact, in most schools now they don’t even learn cursive handwriting and won’t be able to read any instructions that are handwritten in cursive. On cell phones, there are whole new ways of spelling things and abbreviations and even new words. This can creep over into your files and you may find yourself unable to read what has been entered into your computerized charts if you don’t keep a handle on this.
There is more pressure on your staff to make a lot of money now because buying the first house requires a massive down payment. So you may find staff job-jumping to try and increase their income. Or they may try putting in more unauthorized hours to collect more pay. (Production bonuses is one possible solution among many others.)
There are more legal issues to consider now. For example, if you need to terminate someone, there needs to be just cause. Having an Employment Standards Act employee contract for your team has become the proper thing to do to protect both sides from unfairness.
Your policy manual needs to be constantly upgraded to include new factors, even such items as discrimination, use of language, the bullying issue, etc. Clothing and grooming (including hair styles) have massively changed over the years to a more casual look and there should be guidelines laid out in the policy manual that draw lines in the sand as to what is acceptable in your practice.
You may even find yourself needing to be a better leader, executive and trainer in order to bring the staff up to the standards of excellence that you require for the sake of your patients. Gone are the days when you could just hire someone who “knew what to do” and let them get on with it in their own way. You, as the owner, are now more than ever required to be the leader and trainer in the formation of an ideal team. You set and maintain the benchmarks for your practice.
Keeping up with the times is a very old saying, but it continues to be just as necessary now as it ever was. Be pro-active and seek help to keep your practice “on its toes” and you will reap the benefits.