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EDITOR: Staffing STRATEGIES | PART 2 of 4. True Stories and Practical Tips for Physician CEOs

“Concierge Medicine is about doing something different, not doing the same things you’ve always done. If you’re too busy [in your practice] to not exercise good judgment when it concerns your staff, you will catch the shrapnel of their bad decisions. To which we say ‘as they go, you go …’ “

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Editor/Author – CMT/The DPC Journal/CMT Canada/AJRM – Join Michael & Others in Atlanta, OCTOBER 27-28, 2017 and learn more about the business of private medicine. — Register Here …

By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief

Let’s pick up where we left and see how the story ends. (READ PART 1 HERE >)

He [the Physician] went outside to her [patient] car and personally escorted her into the office/practice. When he entered the office, he terminated his staff. He said “this one patient is worth more to me than my staff – you’re fired.”

This may sound extreme. And please note, this is an example of what one Physician did. This story is not intended to provide or render a recommendation or legal advice. You as the Physician or owner of the medical practice should exercise good judgment. That may mean you first consult with your business advisors and if necessary, your own legal counsel to deal with challenging staff circumstances.

With that disclaimer, if you don’t exercise judgment when it comes to your Staff, are they moving your practice in a direction you want it to go? Can you be yourself with your staff or do you have to pretend you are someone you’re not? Do you often feel pressure to give in to vacation demands or personal issues because of the family-like, office dynamic which exists in the practice? How often do they take advantage of you, your generosity or your forgiveness? Do you have an employee in mind that you wish now you’d never met? Do they get along with your husband or wife? Are they nice to other people’s children? What do they wear to work? Is it appropriate? What are they saying about you [or your practice] online?

We don’t hear enough input from Patient’s because they are telling us that they are afraid to speak up …. actions have consequences and they are frightened that the Doctor [or worse yet, staff] will somehow penalize them for it. Sadly, this is the reality of our healthcare marketplace today.

Now, we all know it is not all bad. In fact, I can show you more healthy staff environments in healthcare than I can find bad ones. But, maybe, it’s time to establish some clear boundaries with your staff. Don’t get me wrong, Staff can be useful. Staff should be helpful. But, if you’re not exercising good judgment, you will catch the shrapnel of their bad decisions. To which we say ‘as they go, you go …’

“If I’m paying any amount of a monthly [or annual] subscription to see my doctor, you better know my name when I arrive and I sure shouldn’t have to tap on the glass when I walk-in. And please, move the phone to the back of the office so I don’t have to hear your staff calling in prescriptions or making specialist referral calls.” ~M.C., True Story, Actual Patient, (C) Concierge Medicine Today, 2017

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It’s quite possible that this Physician in the story above had no idea that his staff was so rude to Patients. It is important as a Manager and Physician Owner/Operator to listen to how your staff communicate by phone or in person with Patients. If a Staff member is talking about one patient, it most likely doesn’t begin and end there. It is probably a repeated pattern of talking about other Patient’s as well.

Where your staff are heading is a good barometer of where they are leading.

We’ve receive input from real Concierge Medicine Patients each day. They share with us some of their experiences. For example, did you know that air quality inside their Doctor’s office is VERY important to them? Actually, it ranks at a whopping 4.5/5. When Physician’s were asked a similar question, they ranked the air quality in their office at a 2.3/5.

Interesting.

“Patients were skeptical and reluctant because of how accessible and convenient the service was. They expected to be kept waiting on hold. Some seemed puzzled by the fact that when they called I answered the phone and knew who they were. One patient even inquired as to how come they only had one form to fill out.” ~Raymond Zakhari, NP and CEO of Metro Medical Direct, New York

So what do Patients inside Concierge Medicine programs want to see from a Doctor’s staff?

One Patient writes … “Uniforms should be the same across the board and appropriate for the practice. Pediatric scrubs for Pediatric offices. Solid color for other offices. And, when it comes to Concierge Medicine offices who are more upscale, a dress code that is not wearing scrubs but uniformity is important. It communicates professionalism. Going to a Concierge Physician, is more laid back, casual and comfortable. That’s fine. But this isn’t summer vacation or a trip to Walmart. I want polished and respectful dress on staff. Who wouldn’t? Common sense. Make the effort. We’re [Patient’s] pay attention. I’d like to see a dress code at any Doctor’s office for that matter where the style of wearing dress pants and nice blouse (all uniformed) for staff is more professional, appropriate and appealing to Patients. If we’re going to refer our friends and Family to your Medical Office, impress them. Impress me. I matter. Patients are anxious when they go to the Doctor and scrubs usually are associated with unpleasant procedures such as lab draws or injections. Scrubs also give the impression that the people behind the scrubs are nurses who have a higher level of education and the reality of it is, these people are medical assistants not nurses.”

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One Concierge Doctor in New Jersey said … “You either have a workload issue or a workforce issue? If you’re not committed to providing exceptional patient/customer service for your patients, your practice will never achieve its full potential.”

To Be Continued … Come Back for Part 3 … to be released at http://www.ConciergeMedicineToday.com on September 18th, 2017 …

 

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