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Creating the Right Ambiance in your Practice’s Waiting Room

Does your waiting room add a calming vibe to your medical practice? Specifically, for your patients? The waiting room is your patient’s first impression of your practice. If your waiting room looks like it’s not taken care of, then how will your patients trust you’ll give them the best care in the examination room? Spruce up your waiting room with these tips, and your patients will feel relaxed and less worried for their next appointment!

  1. Greet your patients!

The easiest way to step up your practice is a friendly gesture. From the moment patients walk through the door, your staff should welcome them with a smile and friendly attitude. Patients will feel unwelcome when they visit a practice where the staff are cold – it’s also very off-putting. When your staff is friendly, your patients will be more likely to refer family and friends to your practice. Plus, a smile won’t cost you anything!

  1. Keep it Clean

There’s nothing worse than a messy waiting room! A bunch of ripped magazines on the floor, the furniture is moved around, and a dirty floor/carpet is not the most calming environment for your patients. Implement regular cleaning duties to your staff or hire a custodian. The cleanliness of your waiting room can make or break a patient experience.

  1. Upgrade your Lighting

You probably haven’t considered this, but you might want to upgrade the lights in your waiting room. Old yellow lighting can make your waiting area look dim and depressing. Choose brighter new LED lights for your ceilings and place some nice lamps on any side tables. Brighter lights can really boost the mood of any space, and your patients deserve to feel at ease while they’re waiting.

  1. Décor it up!

Hopefully your waiting room doesn’t have any shag carpets, or any décor from 50 years ago for that matter! Modernize your waiting area with new furniture and décor so your medical practice can feel more like a home than an office. You know what that means — time to hit up your local home furnishing store (as if that’s a bad thing!).

The waiting room for your medical practice is a reflection on you and your care, so you should take some time to improve patient interaction and give your waiting room a makeover. Your patients will surely appreciate the new look!

How to Lead So Your Employees Listen

Leading any group of people and ensuring they are all actively engaged with your vision can be a challenge. A great leader knows how to effectively capture the attention of each and every one of his or her employees. Your passion comes naturally – and it’s this passion that will inspire those around you, as long as you are able to share it properly through communication and genuine compassion. Be the boss by showing where power lies, but also being fair so you are liked and trusted. Learn to lead your employees so they want to listen with these helpful tips.

Be real

Yes, you have an image to maintain – however, no one ever said that you can’t be the true you while leading. Be genuinely you with the best interest of your practice in mind and your employees will trust you. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t apply in leadership. Being who you truly are – and who you say you are – to your employees is a huge step forward. If you want them to listen to what you have to say, and follow the path you’ve laid ahead; gaining trust has to be of utmost priority.

Know who you are

Following the previous point, in order to “be real” – you must know who you are. Knowing yourself, and what you want as a leader is essential in creating an environment of order… and one that matches your thoughts, beliefs and actions. If you are frazzled and disorganized, your practice will be as well. Know your values and they will translate into your leadership.

Advisors

Large corporations have advisors on standby at all times, but even as a small health center, an advisor can work wonders. Have someone you trust who can let you know what he or she thinks about the job you’re doing. Additionally, receiving unbiased feedback on your leadership is important. Knowing what you do well, and what you do not-so-well, can drastically change your approach.

Engage

The worst leaders are those who aren’t truly there for their employees. If you’re a boss who simply clocks in and clocks out, this does not properly showcase your passion and dedication for your team. In addition to being generally available for your employees, also make sure to be personable. Engage in conversation, banter and anything that can bring you and an employee together. Lead with engagement and empathy.

Be present

Similar to being engaged, simply being around is a big deal. If a team member has a question, does he or she know how to reach you? Do you show up for training? Do you give any seminars? Be available and allow your employees to enjoy your company – and for you to enjoy theirs as well.

As a leader, it’s essential that your team can know, like and trust you – as this is how you’ll inspire a vision for others to follow.

Why It’s Important to Outsource Your Medical Billing

Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) can improve workflow and communication with patients, but the technology alone won’t maximize billing efficiency within your practice. The digital aspect of working in healthcare is complex, so it makes sense that outsourcing your billing could benefit your processes. If you’re still hesitant to make this move, consider these reasons to begin outsourcing now:

Reduce billing errors.

Outsourcing speeds up reimbursement because the company you’ve outsourced to thoroughly evaluates claims and looks for errors that could slow down payments.

A benefit of reducing errors like these is that a reputable medical billing partner will be able to supply you with hard data that will help you keep an eye on the finances of your practice. You’ll learn which insurance carriers pay the fastest, which services are most likely to be challenged, and other important information.

Reduce administrative workload.

Outsourcing your billing duties means that you’ll dedicate fewer man hours to keeping your staff updated on medical coding changes and modifiers. Your staff will also spend less time inputting information and preparing claims. You’ll no longer have to spend excess amounts of time on the phone seeking pre-authorizations from insurance carriers. Instead, you’ll be able to dedicate that time to patient care.

No need to keep up with new regulations.

The regulations surrounding the world of medical billing are constantly changing. Keeping up with them is time consuming and inconvenient. By outsourcing your medical billing, you are delegating those responsibilities to professionals who are trained and dedicated to staying up-to-date on them.

Better data security.

Well-established third-party billing service providers provide a transparent billing process. Most of these providers are HIPAA-compliant and have secure processes to protect against hacking attempts. Companies and medical practices need to be sure that their data and their patients’ data are safe, and reputable servicers are able to provide this security.

Enhance financial efficiency.

When you outsource medical billing, you’ll typically get paid faster with less effort from internal staff members. You won’t have to invest in ongoing training either. A reputable company that focuses on medical billing typically has up-to-date technology and well-trained staff, leading to higher revenue capture.

You’ll want to maintain optimal time and financial efficiency within your practice. Hiring a servicer to take care of cumbersome duties will help you do this. You’ll sacrifice some control, but easily gain back that investment in money and time saved.

Ways Your Practice Can Save Money

No matter what type of medical practice you have, saving money is sometimes the hardest thing to do. There are costs around every corner and figuring out where to pinch pennies and where to put your pennies is difficult. Your practice is important to you and keeping it going for as long as possible is an essential part of your life. Saving a dollar here and a dollar there can really go a long way in assuring financial security. So how do you save money in the right places?

Leasing

Buying medical equipment can get outrageously pricey. From the simplest x-ray machines to the most advanced stem cell equipment, nothing is cheap in a practice. Leasing can be a fantastic alternative to outright buying. Saving thousands on purchasing that you can put elsewhere.

Interns

There are countless college students and freshly-graduated young adults wanting any way in to the medical field. Use this to your advantage while giving an incredible opportunity to someone looking for experience. For example, instead of 4 assistants running the front desk have 3 assistants and 2 interns. For interns who work for experience alone, this will eliminate an entire salary, and possibly find you a great employee for the future.

Cut back on supplies

There are a lot of supplementary supplies that go along with owning a practice. The smallest things from copy paper to toilet paper can actually add up to a lot over the course of a month or a year. If you can avoid over ordering, you can spread out the cost and make it cheaper.

Credit Card Processing

Every medical practice has to deal with this. When the bills get high, people can only put them on their cards. In practices, there is always a fee for processing credit cards. Though it is small, it can add up largely. Instead, try money transfers so that you can avoid fees, and money is directly deposited into your account

Find hourly employees

There are now sites for freelancers where physicians can hire employees hourly or by demand. For example, if your practice is seasonally busy you can keep an employee for a few months instead of paying all year for an unnecessary employee. Be careful though sometimes this can lead to bad employees.

No matter how big or small your practice is there are always ways to save a buck. Keeping track of billing, and managing your staff are important; but monitoring over-supplying and credit card processing fees are just as important. Keeping a handle on all these can make your practice run smoothly for a long time to come.

Creating a Newsletter for Your Medical Practice

With modern marketing tools being so exciting and accessible (like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other digital platforms), it’s easy to find an old-fashioned newsletter to be a bit boring and outdated. In reality, well-made newsletters sent by email are a very easy and useful way to engage with your patients. Pretty much everyone uses email, and people like newsletters because it allows them to easily keep up with the brands they care about. Here are some tips on crafting your practice’s newsletter:

Know your brand.

Pinpoint your specialties and the most popular treatments/services you provide. What brings patients in? Talk about these things in your newsletter often. If you have a particular font and color scheme you use, implement it in your newsletter’s design (if they read well). If you don’t have a signature font, pick one that is professional and easy to read.

Build your recipient base.

Gather email addresses from your patients, including ones that are referred by other physicians. This list will provide a very targeted audience for your newsletter, helping you come up with a recipient base that is likely to read it. While your staff collects email addresses, have them reassure patients that your practice will only send helpful and relevant content, won’t send too many emails, and will never share their contact information with third parties.

Include blogs.

If you can create a blog for your practice, do it! Stick to blogs that are 400 to 500 words in length and link relevant ones in your newsletter. If your blog post goes on longer than that, break it up into sections with headers and proper formatting to make it easier to read.

Include relevant content.

Don’t think of your newsletter as a direct advertisement. While it does serve that purpose, recipients will stop opening your emails if all those messages contain are highlights of your services and accomplishments. If you include helpful content in your newsletter, they’ll have a better time reading it and be more likely to open the next one!

There are many digital tools available to medical practices nowadays, with social media being the most popular. Newsletters are useful in their own right, and you can even use your social media pages to ask your follower base to sign up for your newsletter! If you keep the approach of gathering content that helps people, they’ll associate that with your practice’s brand.

4 Important Tasks You’ll Have Time to Do When You Start Outsourcing

It’s well known that outsourcing frees up time for organizations to focus on the facets of their business that are essential to continuing operations. In the case of medical practices, the same can be said of outsourcing’s benefits.

With time to focus on the aspects of the day-to-day operation that require sensitivity and decisiveness, there is less stress among your staff and greater levels of satisfaction among your patients.

Here are the areas of your practice that you can focus on with time freed up by outsourcing.

Developing Current Staff

You want to develop your staff so they can grow into their roles, but you don’t want them to be stretched thin. When you factor in the risks of burnout, much can be attributed to extra work that could be outsourced, it’s next to impossible to effectively train employees on new systems or procedures necessary to their job.

Refining Your Customer Service Approach

Going right along with staff development, customer service is an aspect of the job that can constantly be evaluated since you will either hear about your staff’s performance first hand or through online reviews. With more time to focus on development, you can actively work to evolve your customer service approach over time.

Taking time to hear your staff’s side of things and work together to address unique customer situations will result in quicker conflict resolution and better reviews.

Making Meaningful Connections

Your medical practice is built on connections with your community, providers, pharmaceutical and medical equipment vendors. Maintaining a good relationship with these individuals and groups puts you in prime position for information on new products or even better pricing over time. Tasks like social media marketing end up taking time away from getting out there to make connections face-to-face, outsourcing such tasks give you time to work on those relationships.

Focus on What You Do Best

The medical field has changed dramatically with the times, and the roles that medical practitioners take on have followed. At its core, the goal of your practice is to provide the best care possible for the patients that walk through your door. The tedious tasks associated with IT, marketing, and billing can cause your practice to lose track of its original vision.

You can always recover from a bout of bad reviews or increased staff turnover, but it requires seeking help from a partner not only gives you time to improve but can keep your practice compliant with all regulations in the process. Giving your staff the ability to do their jobs better, and in turn, live happier lives, provides a welcoming environment for current and prospective patients.

#SocialMedia Tips for Physicians

Social media is a great medium today to boost one’s business, presence, and relevance. Knowing how to use it will certainly put you in the ranks of the most successful people in your field.

How can a physician use social media advantageously? Here, we will tackle tips that can help you in the online world. But first, let’s take a look at the most used social media platforms today.

Facebook – The granddaddy of social media platforms. Facebook was once known as a replacement for MySpace and Friendster. Now, Facebook serves as an all-in-one place to cater to your personal and professional needs. Facebook can help you sell goods via the marketplace, have groups, and even organize your meetings and events.

Twitter – Just a couple years ago, Twitter only had room for 140 characters per tweet. It has doubled but still encourages pithy commentary. Twitter’s popularity stems from the ability to easily scan through hundreds of users, reading their tweets rapidly. In today’s world, this is especially important since our attention span has depleted tremendously in the last decade.

Instagram – Instagram is widely known as a photo-sharing app. Today, creatives use it to showcase their work and act as a mini portfolio. It’s best known for its 9-12 square grid type format and stories, which share a similar function as that of Snapchat’s.

LinkedIn – This platform is geared toward professionals. It’s like Facebook but instead of meeting random people, you meet co-professionals and other physicians who are looking to further their career or network.

Now that we’ve gone over the different social media platforms, let’s look at some tips that will help you in social media as a doctor:

  • Use Facebook groups to announce news and other matters for convenience.
  • Set appointments using the event function in Facebook.
  • Tweet to disseminate information and utilize its thread function.
  • Create informative Instagram stories.
  • Make infographics for sharing.
  • Post relevant articles on LinkedIn.
  • Make your availability known.
  • Keep contact information up to date.
  • Give concise and relevant updates.
  • Be present consistently.
  • Be able to use images that are connected to your posts.
  • Post original fun content.
  • Respond to your audience in a timely manner.
  • Engage your audience and build relationships.
  • Know where your audience is hanging out online.
  • Follow other doctors on social media.
  • Be aware of trends and current events.
  • Include emojis and know when and how to use them.
  • Track and analyze your activity on social media platforms.

Takeaways

 

The key to being successful in social media is to know who your audience is and what niche you will be specializing in. It is also important to feed your audience quality content instead of drowning them in senseless posts. Branding yourself is also important as it will determine who you are in the online world. Also, remember that you do not need to please everyone since not everyone will be interested in your niche. Once you create a stable following, you only need to nurture and provide what your patients or audience need.

Practice Management Bite-Size Tips & Advice 2/26

Change any passwords an ex-employee may know as well. Completely change the password, altering one character is not enough.

There’s plenty of work for those 10 or fewer physicians. Often work that keeps them away from seeing patients…the most important aspect of being a doctor.

The same study found that 72% of patients use review sties either often or sometimes before visiting a physician. Online reputation continues to grow in importance so maintaining that reputation is vital.

According to Emory University that’s a 30% increase over the past 30 years.

Don’t save all the fun for the weekend. Even Mondays can be great when you have something to look forward to later in the evening.

Protecting Your Practice During Flu Season

Between the months of October and March, outbreak of the flu hits its peak, which is what we refer to as flu season.

During this time, it’s advised that people avoid contact with those suffering from flu-like symptoms since it can be caught any number of ways. This is easier said than done for those who work with patients, who find it almost impossible to avoid exposure to sickness on a daily basis.

Healthcare facilities find themselves in a uniquely frightening position during flu season, which is why instituting mandatory flu vaccinations has become critical.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that healthcare personnel get vaccinated to decrease the risk of contracting the flu, and while many facilities choose to go this route, there are still some that offer more flexibility when it comes to mandatory vaccinations.

But, with that flexibility comes consequences, and many medical practices are playing a dangerous game.

That’s because the flu and its associated complications were responsible for an estimated 80,000 deaths during the 2017-2018 flu season. What’s even more troubling is that there were about 900,000 flu related hospitalizations last year, exposing many of this nation’s healthcare workers to the illness. The good news is that the CDC reports 91.9% of HCP (Health Care Personnel) working in hospitals had vaccination coverage.

Still, there are healthcare workers who often don’t get flu vaccinations like office personnel, assistants, and those working in long-term care facilities. Due to the unpredictable nature of influenza and how it travels, it’s advised that these employees also get vaccinated.

Aside from vaccinations, which is the best method for keeping a practice safe, there are also other preventative measures that should be in place. These are guidelines that every medical facility should follow, especially during flu season.

Here are some steps your practice should take to further protect against the flu:

  • HCP should be notified of incoming patients with flu-like symptoms.
  • HCP with flu-like symptoms or an acute respiratory infection should not be allowed to report for work.
  • Institute hand hygiene procedures.
  • Promote cough etiquette.
  • Always provide gloves and give gowns to patients with whom you will have any tissue or fluid contact.
  • Communicate between departments and notify any relevant personnel when a patient is being transferred.

A combination of smart vaccination policies and safe practices when handling patients is the best way to protect your staff from the flu this season. When it comes to the dangers we can’t see with our own eyes, education is our best friend. Maintaining constant communication with your staff and staying up to date with preventative measures ensures a safe environment for both personnel and the patients they care for.

 

 

 

3 Ways Telemedicine Can Transform the Medical Field

 

The scope of telemedicine’s effect reaches all ends of the medical industry. Patients, medical practitioners, and insurance companies have had to adapt to new technology that is making healthcare more accessible to patients around the country.

Whether it’s a difficult trip to a doctor’s office, or a quick question concerning an unusual change in body temperature, telemedicine is putting patients in direct contact with the help they need. Physicians are taking notice, as well as the insurance companies who are learning how to treat these new services.

What we’ve seen is more patient outreach and participation, but with more services being rolled out over time, there’s more to be seen from telemedicine’s impact.

A Changing Medicaid Landscape

With more telehealth options available to patients, the way providers handle these services will no doubt change over the next few years. Medicaid, for example, is used by an estimated 20% of Americans. Despite this, and the growing use of telemedicine, only 9 states have current laws concerning Medicaid coverage of telehealth and other related services.

To further complicate things, there are still some states that don’t consider the patient’s home as an eligible site for a telehealth visit or consultation and designates that another designated location be used.

There are also many other limitations and processes in place set forth by individual states concerning reimbursement of telehealth services, but the industry seems to be shifting towards more inclusive Medicaid policies.

Evolving Costs

Rising costs are a major factor for medical practices, and telemedicine poses a solution in its use of remote systems and services that can substitute for in-face meetings.

These services include
• Telehealth appointments
• Triage services
• Remote monitoring

Telemedicine can also add some alleviation to practices with a small staff since in theory, less unnecessary visits would mandate less staffing.

The example just mentioned is indicative of telemedicine’s current position in the world of medicine; while it does provide cost cutting alternatives, its success lies in the hands of the patients. With the assistance of mobile devices, telemedicine can lead to stricter adherence to medications, a decline in the number of Emergency Room visits, and use of video consultations in place of in-person appointments.

Quicker Response Rates

We continue to see the effects of inaccessible and often unavailable mental health resources for the majority of Americans. Behavioral health issues, unlike most physical conditions, can be treated through telehealth services.

“Crisis” situations can be averted if from the privacy of their own home, a mental health patient can utilize existing telepsychiatry services to get in touch with someone they trust. Emergency help aside, people living in areas with little, to no mental healthcare providers in the area, can reach a professional through convenient methods.

Final Thoughts

New elements can enter the mix, healthcare is after all, an industry built on connections between constantly changing organizations. Telemedicine’s increased use can be solely attributed to our dependence on mobile technology, but that would ignore problems that have plagued the medical industry for years.

While it should be looked at as a tool to incorporate into existing healthcare practices, its use will only be effective if medical practices take time to craft an approach that works for their specific needs.

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