National Headlines

SONJA HORNER: ‘The Secret to Practice Growth … creating a remarkable experience through staff engagement is the least expensive way to grow.’

By Sonja Horner, Healthcare Business Innovator | Outcomes Advocate

Sonja Horner – Healthcare Business Innovator | Outcomes Advocate

“How do I grow my practice?” This question has to be in the Top 3 Most Frequently Asked Questions I receive from physicians. Regardless of the practice’s marketing budget (yes, you should have a marketing budget) creating a remarkable experience through staff engagement is the least expensive way to grow.

After reading a recent Concierge Medicine Today’s article on the importance of igniting passion in your staff and the downside of keeping less service oriented staff, I wanted to confirm that I too have seen the measurable downstream impact of poor staff engagement in membership based practices. You may wonder how to measure member satisfaction, simply put surveys. Surveys provide an objective way for you to determine how your practice and your staff are performing. For the greatest response let the member know a survey will be sent, then have your staff email the survey to your member as soon as they leave the practice. Surveys also provides a degree of separation that allows you to address sometimes uncomfortable team behaviors, as well as creates a measurable way to acknowledge improvements. Trust me, the most actionable and valuable information you will gather is from your members.

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Staff Engagement = Practice Growth

We all know the benefits of an engagement patient. Ultimately, if they are engaged they work with you to create better health outcomes. The same holds true with your practice staff. If they are engaged and clear on what your practice is attempting to deliver by way of care and service, they will produce better member experience outcomes. Think about it, payroll is one of your most expensive monthly costs and isn’t a well trained staff one of the easiest ways to create word of mouth referrals?

Staff Engagement: An Exercise for Existing Staff

1) Identify 3 areas where your practice can improve the member experience. It is important to establish these areas with your staff. Also, keep in mind you are behind closed doors for 80% of your day, so your team needs to participate in identifying the ares. If they miss an areas that you are certain needs improvement, don’t hesitate to add it to the list but try to prioritize only three areas to address at a time.

2) Define how and when you will measure success. Success can be measured by increased member referrals, surveys, mystery shoppers who test the new process or turnaround times. As a companion exercise to documenting the three areas where your practice needs improvement, write down how you will measure success and within what timeframe.

3) Establish a time to huddle: Meeting with your team on a regular bases allow for more consistent communication. A 15-30 minute morning or afternoon huddle allows you and your staff to prepare for the day or create solutions for things that didn’t run as smoothly as planned. Keep the agenda lean, the tone of the meeting positive and finish on-time.

4) Create a way to acknowledge the improvements. When you reach the goal make sure that you create a way to acknowledge it as a team.

If you are interested in reading more about how to create a remarkable experience in your medical practice, considering reading one of Howard Schultz’s books (Founder of Starbucks) The Starbucks Experience or Pour Your Heart Into It. The best examples of remarkable experiences are currently found in retail businesses, such as Starbucks.

SOURCE: Sonja Horner, Healthcare Business Innovator; MARCH 20, 2015; Outcomes Advocate — https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/secret-practice-growth-sonja-horner?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_POST

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