Once upon a time, the Practice Owner looked at her stats for the last week and gasped in dismay as she discovered a $4,000 drop in Billings from the week before. (Just the fact that she was paying attention to such a thing put her in the “above average” category as a CEO of a practice.)
Did she moan and whine and go into apathy and hope that somehow it would “all be better next week”? No, she did not. Instead, she inquired into the matter to find out the real reason. (She gets more brownie points for taking positive action.)
As a starting point, she asked the Receptionist if she had any noticed anything unusual last week. The Receptionist replied that it had been a very busy week last week. WHAT?!? This didn’t make any sense as production went down dramatically, like $4,000! So the Practice Owner inquired further as to what was so busy about it? (Good for her for really digging in.) The Receptionist replied that she had gotten the 3,000 piece hard copy newsletter mailing out the door to the patients/clients of record by the deadline of Friday, just as the Practice Owner had ordered.
Well, that was very well done on the part of the Receptionist. She met her target! But why did the statistics measuring No Shows and Doctor Downtime go down so badly, wondered the Practice Owner.
With the chill of dawning suspicion running down the Practice Owner’s back, she asked the next obvious question of the Receptionist: “So what DIDN’T get done last week?” You may have already guessed the answer: “Well, I CERTAINLY didn’t have time to do the confirm calls and the recalls, AND get the newsletter out the door on time as you ordered.”
Oh no! Can the Practice Owner get mad at this point? Well yes, but only at HERSELF. The Receptionist did exactly as she was asked (albeit without thinking things through). So, Practice Owner, don’t get mad at anyone. This just calls for a little re-organization and training so this will never happen again.
First, the Practice Owner needs to re-affirm the top 3 priorities of the Front Desk Personnel’s duties:
- Priority #1 is PERFECT service and care to every patient or client who walks into the practice today. Warm, friendly, wonderful service.
- Priority #2 is always do the Confirm calls to ensure ALL patients or clients show up for their appointments tomorrow. No “No Shows” allowed.
- Priority #3 is doing the Recalls/Recare Appointments to ensure that the schedule is completely filled with no holes.
The Practice Owner must point out that these 3 priorities are always first and that something like a newsletter going out the door might be priority #10 or 15 as it is for “potential future business.”
Policy could be written up on this for the policy manual for current and future staff. The Receptionist could be authorized to make a proposal to the Practice Owner if ordered to do anything that would violate Priorities #1, 2 and 3, such as getting a newsletter out the door by a deadline. In that case, for instance, a proposal could be submitted to hire a high school student for 2 hours a day for 5 days at $10 per hour for a total of 10 hours, to get the newsletter done and mailed. This would cost the practice only $100 instead of a potential $4,000 loss of income if the Practice Owner pulled her valuable Receptionist off her top 3 priorities.
If this is gone over with the staff and put into the Policy Manual for all to read and it is ever violated again, well then Practice Owner, you now get to chastise your staff. BECAUSE IT IS IN WRITING. This is important. Policy is developed from successful “always keep doing” actions and from “never do this again” actions.
And thus the Policy Manual becomes a valuable series of lessons for all staff and new recruits to staff to give them guidance as to the successful conduct of your own unique practice!
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