Archive for July, 2013

Physicians are battling many challenges within our ever-evolving healthcare industry.  Costs of doing business continue to increase while reimbursements continue to decrease.  These stellar doctors are under constant pressure to see more patients and do it for less.  Day in and day out, it’s the same thing, over and over.  When is enough going to be enough?  Many physicians are just too burnt out to continue.  What can we do to help make their lives a little easier?

  • Provide ancillary support that will allow the physician to avoid time-consuming administrative duties and allow them to do what they are good at and want to do more of, the practice of medicine.  Frankly, some physicians don’t want to do the administrative duties and may not be very good at it anyway.
  • Provide an exercise facility or classes that will allow the physician to keep vigorous and focused.  We all know that exercise is an important daily routine but we can also attribute fitness to stress relief and a healthier lifestyle.  If our physicians are promoting this to their patients, let’s help them promote this lifestyle in their own lives.
  • Provide other stress-relief initiatives including:
  • Wellness Promotion Campaigns
  • Life-Management Workshops
  • Concierge Services
  • One-on-One Coaching and Mentoring by Physician Peers
  • Provide some weekday time off, especially for those physicians that are putting in 12-hour days and On-Call time over the weekends. 

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Have you ever been a customer who felt that your business was not wanted?  Did you feel that the employee providing the service just didn’t care about you or your needs?  Customer service plays a major role in our impressions that determine where we take our business.   Your patients are no different.  Negative patient experiences are a major cause for negative online postings and reviews.  In the challenging and highly-competitive world of healthcare, you can’t afford to lose patients due to customer service issues.  Many more serious issues plague our ability to maintain and increase our patient base in order to have a successful business.  We need to be cautious about who is on our front lines.  Here are three characteristics that all front-line employees should possess:

  • Empathetic:  The staff needs to be given an opportunity to recognize that the roles are often reversed, placing the employee in the shoes of the patient.  How would they want to be treated when unexpected illness falls on them?  Simple caring for fellow human beings will go a great distance to the goal of superior customer service.  Think about how the Golden Rule applies to this one.
  • Good Listener:  This is sometimes a challenging characteristic to display because of how busy your staff may feel.  What is important to remind your staff is that although they may be busy, the patient must feel that the entire attention is devoted to them when they are present.  The employee must make special effort to avoid the ringing phone or the flashing monitor, allowing the patient to feel that they are being listened to and that their situation is the most important topic in the room.  They should spend most of the conversation hearing what the patient is has to say so that there is a true understanding.
  • Happiness is contagious:  Having an employee who is happy and presents this well to others is exactly who you want to represent you and your business in a first-contact, customer service situation.  When you smile, are pleasant to speak with, and have a genuine concern for the patient, they will feel comfortable and the positive experiences will begin.

It is critical necessity in any successful business to promote a superior customer service initiative that reminds the staff, on an ongoing basis, that our patients are our business.  We would not be in business if we didn’t have happy customers.  In addition, for all of the niceness that your staff displays, you may find that your patient base may increase due to other practices’ inability to have a happy staff.

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Front-line staff, administrators and practitioners can be excellent brand ambassadors to a practice or health system. When facilities are searching for avenues to increase social interaction, employees can be the most apt and effective audience. Here are examples of health systems using their employees in marketing and advertising campaigns:

  1. Tennova’s Rebranding Campaign. Created in 2011 when Health Management Associates (HMA) bought Knoxville, TN–based Mercy Health Partners, this six-hospital system was renamed Tennova. But, instead of just announcing the new name with a press release, HMA used it as an opportunity to kick off a full-scale branding multimedia branding campaign that featured physicians, chaplains, and volunteers in its ads.
  2. P4 Health at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. This campaign, launched at the end of 2012, was aimed at “4 P’s” of health and wellness: Predictive, Preventative, Personalized, and Participatory, hence the name, P4 Health.
  3. Advocate Sherman Hospital’s Heart Healthy Facebook campaign. To celebrate American Heart Month this past February, Sherman Hospital (formerly Sherman Health Systems) launched a daily heart health tip.

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