An efficiently run dermatology practice creates a productive atmosphere for staff and a welcoming, professional ambience for patients. Conversely, an inefficient practice will run into long-term problems such as physician and staff burnout, increased turnover, and a decrease in revenue due to its inability to properly cater to patients’ needs.
Whether you feel your practice is running at an optimal level, or you believe there’s room for improvement, these key steps offer some invaluable information to take into consideration:
Encourage a Culture of Promptness for Both Staff and Physicians
Firmly establishing the expectation that staff and physicians are expected to arrive on time will positively influence other aspects of your practice. A simple way to implement promptness is to ensure that they arrive before the first scheduled appointment of the day. When the team is there before their patients, they’re able to check the daily schedule, make any adjustments, and undertake any necessary follow-ups from the day before.
Champion the Timely Arrival of Patients, too!
You should also focus on the other side of the efficacy coin — your patients — to improve your dermatology practice. Every time an appointment is scheduled or confirmed, emphasize the importance of prompt arrival, and if need be, request that they check in at reception 15 minutes prior to their appointment. Furthermore, ensure that your practice is easily locatable via GPS to facilitate an easy journey to your practice.
When patients are punctual, their time deserves to be respected. Help your practice stay on schedule by not double booking appointments, pencilling in a daily open slot for emergencies, and allowing enough time for you to work individually with your patients.
Create a Professional Team
Your team is a reflection of your practice, so it’s imperative that everyone in the office is aligned to its mission, goals, and objectives. Ensure that your staff is knowledgeable and able to competently answer questions from patients and families about their care. Foster a culture of learning, and take advantage of online educational and CE programs (like Advanced Training in Dermatology) to improve the quality of your staff. Make sure your front desk team is trained in customer service to be friendly and professional.
Build and Promote a High-Quality Website
The internet is probably the first place prospective patients will be introduced to your practice, and a user-friendly website is the ideal way to create a positive first impression. In fact, in this day and age, a website is the primary tool for growing your business. By funneling some of your resources into SEO optimization, blog creation, and social media updates, you’re increasing your practice’s search visibility on the web, and in turn, bringing in new business. Consider creating a blog that provides skin care tips, product recommendations, as well as before-and-after patient testimonials to position your practice as a knowledgeable authority. Start off with a monthly blog and take turns writing the blog with other physicians, nurses, physician assistants, etc in your practice. Make sure you share your blog on your website, social media channels and by email.
Once a new client has discovered your website, ensure that the online registration form is clearly visible. By having new patients fill out forms online, you’re streamlining the registration process, and saving time on the day of the consultation. It bears mentioning that some of your patients may be older and less internet savvy, so make sure that the most important information, like how to contact your practice, is clearly visible on the front page.
One final tip before we move on: remember to provide clear directions to your location, and any tips for parking, if needed.
Implement a System to Assist Your Physicians
With time being a scarce commodity, it’s important that your physicians know exactly who their next patient is. When there is no system in place, physicians tend to waste precious time trying to figure what’s next on their schedule, often interrupting staff during their duties, and creating a backlog in the process.
There are a few systems to choose from, and it’s up to staff and physicians together to decide on which works best for the practice as a whole. You might find that your practice functions best using a flagging system or instead thrives on the simplicity of a sticky-note system. It’s all about discovering, and then optimizing, what works best for you!
A Dermatology Career Can Be More Than Just a Job
In dermatology, you have an opportunity to forge meaningful and fulfilling relationships with your patients. Many practices send out birthday cards, first-visit anniversary cards, or holiday cards to maintain connections with valued clients.
Collect their email addresses and share news and dermatology advances that may be of interest. Also, be sure to follow up with patients after an appointment to demonstrate your commitment to quality care and patient experience, as appropriate. These little steps require an investment of resources from your practice, but they go a long way towards improving patient retention and referrals.
An Efficient Practice is a Thriving Business
An efficiently run practice, with friendly staff and prompt, professional physicians, creates a lasting impression for patients. Their positive experiences translate into referrals, retention, and increased revenue for your practice. And your workforce? They’ll be happier, more productive, and gifted the peace of mind that comes with job stability and efficiency.