7 Pointers To Keep Your Staff Motivated and Happy

I’m sure you have heard the saying “When you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you will always perform your best without worrying about anything.” In my prior post titled “9 Tips On Improving Patient Loyalty” from October 23, 2015, I talked about how brand loyalty begins with the staff. Your front desk staff are the first people patients see when they enter and the last people they see when they leave. Cheerfulness from your staff is absolutely crucial and will translate an air of positivity over the phone and in person. In a healthcare market research survey by Press Ganey Associates of 1.4 million patients treated at 5,400 sites nationwide, overall cheerfulness of the practice came in as the number 2 patient request, right under sensitivity to the patient’s needs. Overall, the likelihood of the patient recommending another patient to your medical center can be seen based on these priorities. You can view the results of the study here. Inspiration and enthusiasm starts with physicians and the office manager, so what you can you do to ensure that you staff remains jovial and allows your patients to leave satisfied with their entire experience with your practice? Here are 7 pointers to help keep your staff motivated and happy: Embrace flexible work schedules. Typically, medical practices have established schedules and routines, so flexibility of staff schedules may not be an easy pill to swallow. However, when you allow someone to have flexible work options, it shows them that you respect the fact that they have lives out of the office. If you ever need to leave...

9 Tips On Improving Patient Loyalty

For many companies, I represent the ideal consumer. Why do I say that and how do the below “ideal consumer qualities” relate to your practice? I’ll explain that shortly. As the ideal consumer, I do my research before purchasing anything so I am well versed on the product or service and seldom have too many questions after purchase. Because I have done my research and read reviews, I typically have positive experiences. As I am myself a business owner, if I do have negative feedback, I rarely choose to relay this information publicly because I feel that it could have just been an anomaly in production. Instead, I will call the company and speak with a manager in charge to privately explain what I would have expected from them. For services, I usually try and look at a negative experience from the provider’s point of view. After all, everyone has good and bad days. I’ll try again hoping that the next time will be better. I am what you would call a “sneeze marketer.” When I like a product or service, I will sing praises from the highest mountains. If I like a particular piece of technology, I’ll happen to mention it in conversation. If I like a restaurant, I’ll let people know that this is a place they must try and even offer to take them to lunch. If I like a service provider, I will make sure to send them referrals. For example, when my back started to hurt, someone recommended me to a certified massage therapist a few miles from my office. I was so impressed...

The 5 Greatest Benefits of Telemedicine To Patients And Clinicians

There are many benefits of telemedicine to patients and clinicians. Telemedicine is a technology that has the potential to revolutionize and completely redefine the healthcare industry. It perfectly aligns with CMS' 3 part aim to "achieve better care for patients, better health for our communities, and lower costs through improvement for our health care system." Thanks to telehealth services, patients have the ability to consult with their doctors via two-way video, email, or text - from the comfort of their home or office. Did you know that currently, over 36 million Americans have used telehealth in some form? Nearly 70 percent of doctor visits can be handled over the phone, according to a recent study by the Affiliated Workers Association, a network of professionals dedicated to empowering everyday employees. Here are what I feel are 5 of the greatest benefits of telemedicine: 1) Sheer Convenience. Scheduling and actually showing up for even a 15 minute follow up appointment can prove to be difficult when you have other priorities that need to be taken care of. Kids, work, meetings, traffic etc. can all come in the way, and for some strange reason, things come up especially when it has to do with keeping up with your health! Through two-way video, patients can follow-up on a prescription or diagnosis with a physician they've been seeing for years, or with a new doctor in their network. When registered, patients can even check out a new in-network physician's background. Essentially, during a telehealth visit, providers should try and emulate a visit that most closely resembles the traditional doctor’s visit. 2) Lower Cost. Travel expenses and...

What Does Value Based Reimbursement Mean For Providers?

I received an interesting email recently from CMS, titled “CMS announces Value Based Insurance Design Model to improve care and reduce costs in Medicare Advantage Plans.” Evidently, their new Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design Model will test the premise that “giving Medicare Advantage plans flexibility to offer targeted extra supplemental benefits or reduced cost sharing to enrollees who have specified chronic conditions can lead to higher-quality and more cost-efficient care, helping health plans and consumers have the tools they need to improve costs and spend dollars more wisely.” Value based reimbursement payment systems are still considered to be in the infancy phase and are mostly structured according to this type of shared savings model. Shared savings arrangements differ, but generally, they encourage providers to cutoff spending for certain patients by offering them a percentage of any net savings that is realized. The Medicare Shared Savings Program is the most well-known and standardized example of the value based model. What does the shift in value based reimbursement vs. volume based reimbursement mean for providers? Switching to value based healthcare will change the traditional model of healthcare reimbursement, pushing providers to alter the way they bill for care. Instead of healthcare providers being paid by the number of visits and tests they order (fee for service), they would be paid based on their delivery of quality healthcare (value based healthcare). The current fee for service (FFS), or volume based reimbursement model has met with a lot of criticism over the idea that physicians may be over-treating patients as a means of generating additional income or to counteract shrinking reimbursements. In the minds of many...

8 Things You Must Do When Implementing EHR Systems

The assessment phase is probably one of the most important in determining whether your practice is either implementing EHR systems or upgrading your current system. It is a great undertaking that I assure you will prove to be truly rewarding when you see one of the major benefits of electronic health records: helping to provide quality healthcare to your patients. In your assessment, you should first reflect upon your own practice lifestyle, and then your current practice. Ask yourself: Do I feel I am headed towards accomplishing my goals after graduating from medical school? Am I providing my patients with the most outstanding care they can possibly receive? What am I going to do with the time saved once I implement my new EHR? Can I see myself connecting with my practice, even though I can now practice without physically being in the office? 1. Assessing Your Current Practice Think about the current state of your practice and write down the answers to these questions: Are administrative processes organized, efficient and well documented? Are clinical workflows efficient, clearly mapped out and understood by all staff? Are data collection and reporting processes well established and documented? Are staff members computer literate and comfortable with information technology? Does the practice have access to high-speed internet connectivity? Does the practice have access to the financial capital required to purchase new or additional hardware? Are there clinical priorities or needs that should be addressed? Does the practice have specialty specific requirements? 2. Envisioning the Future The next Electronic Health Records implementation step is to envision the future state of your practice. What would...

8 Tips To Reduce The Time & Cost of Obtaining Prior Authorizations

Recently, I helped a client open an independent in house pharmacy within their large, multi-specialty medical center. Patients appreciate having the convenience of a pharmacy inside the medical center and doctors find it comforting to be able to more closely monitor their patient’s medication compliance. Unlike a retail pharmacy, being an independent pharmacy inside a medical center definitely comes with patient expectations, two of which are short wait times and personalized service. While 99% of the prescriptions can be filled within 7 - 10 minutes, others may require more paperwork, due to the time consuming and costly need for a prior authorization (PA). If you follow some of the tips I’ve outlined, you can cut out a lot of the time it takes to get the job done. What are prior authorizations and why are they needed by health insurance companies? Essentially, PAs are an extra step that insurance companies require before they decide if they want to pay for a patient’s medication. Why? The most likely scenario is that a different drug company gave the health insurance company a better price for its drug this year – not necessarily because the new or preferred drug is better. The situation now is that the patient has to decide whether to pay a higher copay for the non-preferred formulary or ask the doctor to switch the drug to a comparable formulary. PAs are a necessity that all those in the medical field have to deal with. A study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that the mean annual projected cost per full-time equivalent physician for PA activities...