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What Do Patients REALLY Care About?

Improve Your Practice By Knowing Your Practice |  Business Intelligence For Private Practice

NEO time Business Intelligence For Private PracticeA good practice is centered around making the patient experience a positive one, but how do you know if you’re doing the right things?  There are so many personalities and different needs of patients that it can feel daunting to know what you should actually focus on.

We talk to a lot of patients in our line of work, and we have seen a few common trends in the things that patients care about the most.

Here’s what patients care about:

  1. Time – Respect your patients’ time by staying on schedule.
  2. Convenience – Patients are looking for appointment times that can fit within their busy lives.  They’re also looking for easy access to find your office’s contact information, address, and physical location.  Make sure that all of this information is blatantly obvious for your patients to find.
  3. Clear Expectations – Set up the expectation of what is involved in a particular procedure or appointment up front so that the patient has no surprises.
  4. Taking Ownership – When you or your team has made a mistake, own up to it.  You’ll gain more respect by your integrity, rather than lose a patient that feels like you don’t care.
  5. Taking Perceived Ownership – The patient doesn’t always know the behind-the-scenes as to why something was done the way it was, nor do they care.  If the patient is perceiving that something was done wrong, take ownership and make steps to help make the situation right.
  6. Clear Explanations – Don’t expect that your patients understand all of your dental or medical jargon.  They didn’t go to medical school, and often need you to put things in plain English.
  7. A “Wow” Experience – Patients may not consciously know they are looking for a “wow” experience, but they know when they’ve had one.  What are you doing to make a memorable experience for your patients from the moment they walk in your door?
  8. Reviews – Patients care about word of mouth and online reviews more than anything else about your practice.  If someone else has vouched for your practice, they will automatically have a certain level of trust.
  9. Smiles – It’s a novel idea, really, that a dental or medical office is full of smiles.  A smiling face can go a long way to improve someone’s day, put them at ease about a scary procedure, or simply create a welcoming atmosphere.  Either way you spin it, smiles matter!

When you know what patients are looking for, you can manage your practice in a way that meets these needs.  So, the question is, how is your practice doing on all of these categories?

  • Do you run on time?
  • Do you have convenient appointment times for your patients (not necessarily just for you)?
  • Do you set clear expectations so that patients know what to expect when they come for an appointment?
  • Do you educate your patients in a way that they understand?
  • Do you take ownership?  When was the last time you apologized to a patient?
  • What do you do to create a memorable experience at your office?
  • How is you practice doing with online reviews?
  • Does your team smile more than frown?

 

Learn more about business intelligence and data analytics for private practices and dental offices from Never Ever Ordinary.

Could A Positive Attitude Save Your Practice?

Cultivating Positivity In Your Team | Business Intelligence For Private Practice

NEO positivity - Business Intelligence For Private PracticeA positive attitude is perhaps the best thing you can cultivate within your practice to not only improve your office’s atmosphere, but create a stellar patient experience every single time.  However, positivity is not something that will happen automatically, nor will it happen overnight.

How do you cultivate positivity into your practice?

  1. Start Off Positive.  Start your day by writing down five things you are grateful for.  It may be the same five things each day, or you can change it each day.  The point here is that you are taking time to mentally think through the things that you are thankful for.  Slowing down and being mindful of these things is so important, especially in our fast-paced lives.
  2. Express Gratitude To Others.  Find ways to thank others and verbalize gratitude to them.  Make it a point to thank people in your life for the little and big things they do.  Your patients will notice that you are grateful and respectful to your staff, and they will respect you more for it.
  3. Look For Silver Linings.  One of our favorite movies is Silver Linings Playbook and from that movie, we’ve adopted the habit of looking for silver linings in all situations.  Yes, bad situations and bad days happen, but there is always something good you can find.  There’s always something you can learn from bad days.
  4. View Difficulties As An Opportunity.  You have a great team behind you, and when you face difficulties, include the insight of your team as an opportunity to solve a problem.  That problem doesn’t have to always be a problem, and by seeing what you can learn from it the first time around, you can avoid these challenges in the future.
  5. Take Ten Minutes For Mindfulness.  Finding space in your day to be mindful of your emotions, be thankful, and recognize what is happening in the day is a great way to reset yourself.  We live in very busy lives, and most practices run at very fast paces.  Breaks are important and can be vital to helping you maintain a positive outlook on life.

Positivity Starts With You.

As the practice owner, you set the tone for the entire practice.  You need to project the positivity that you want to be prominent in your team.  Your team will follow your lead, and your patients will follow your team’s lead.  If you’re reading this and you’re not the team leader in your group, know that positivity starts with you too.  You can become a leader simply by projecting positivity into your environment.  Ultimately, no one can make positivity happen in your life for you; YOU have to choose to make it a priority in your life.

Cultivating positivity is so important within your practice, but these tips are applicable in any aspect of your life.  You can cultivate positivity in your friendships, your home, your marriage, or even just your interaction with the next store clerk you encounter.  Positivity can do wonders.  We’ve seen it turn practices around from failing to excelling beyond all belief.

 

Learn more about Never Ever Ordinary and our practice and dental analytics services and tools!

The Best Ways To Improve The Patient Experience

Grow Your Practice By Improving The Patient Experience

Successful practices know that the patient experience is not just an important focus, it is THE main focus.  That stellar patient experience starts and ends with your team.  As you focus on improving the patient experience, there are a number of things to think about.  We recommend starting with one or two tactics and then build on from there.

Top Tactics For Improving The Patient Experience:

  1. Improving The Patient Experience | Never Ever Ordinary Jesse Morris Business IntelligenceThe Power Of A Name.  Using someone’s name is a simple thing, but is actually a really BIG thing.  By using someone’s name in a sentence, you validate their worth and let them know that you care about who they are.
  2. Remember Details.  Remembering details about a patient and then recollecting those details at later visits will blow your patients minds!  For example, if you have a patient who loves fly fishing, you can ask them if they’ve been on any recent fishing trips.  By doing so, you signal to the patient that you care about them, and not just the fact that they are filling an appointment slot.
  3. Body Language.  Pay attention to your body language to see if you are closing people off, or welcoming them into interaction with you.  Crossed arms, indirect eye contact, and turned away shoulders are all signs that you don’t care about engaging with the patient.  Conversely, direct eye contact and body positioning to the patient tell your patient that you care about them.  Especially for dental and medical teams, remember that often positions that patients have to be in for exams is not comfortable.  Go the extra step, literally, and move to look at your patient, instead of down from behind.
  4. Active Listening.  Active listening, instead of passive listening, means that you are directly engaged with what the patient is saying.  Repeat back the patient’s questions or confirmations that you have heard what they are saying.  For example, if a patient is telling you about their family trip to Alaska, you could respond with a phrase that starts off with “While you were in Alaska, did you see…” or ask the patient about the most memorable part of their trip to Alaska.
  5. Speak in short, simple sentences…and then shut up.  Speak clearly to your patients when you are explaining procedures and then allow the patient to process the information you gave them.  Don’t be afraid of a few seconds of silence.  You risk bringing up concerns the patient didn’t have originally, or overcomplicating the explanation by rambling on and on.
  6. Do What You Say You’re Going To Do.  It’s simple really, but this is often the biggest reason that patients are disappointed.  If you say that you will do something, simply do it.
  7. Cultivate Positivity.  A positive attitude can go a long way in improving the patient experience.  If you and your team are committed to excellence and positivity, your patient experience will improve now and continue to improve over time.

Every practice can benefit from taking a few minutes to look at their own patient experience.  Whether you have a little to work on, or a lot to work on, it is worth taking the time to improve the patient experience.  A little effort to improve your patient satisfaction could be the key to growing and improving your practice!

 

Other Resources For Improving The Patient Experience:

The Beryl Institute

Improve the Patient Experience – Forbes

Managing Communication: The Art of Organizing Outlook

business intelligence company in Denver ColoradoPart 1: Folders

Communication – the ups & downs
Communication is a guiding principle in my interactions with our clients and their financial goals; however, communication becomes ineffective if I do not approach my workflow with a detail-oriented strategy. With the ever-present reality of technology and quick responses, clients and business contacts frequently pose questions, ideas, or thoughts through email. While this enables immediate dialogue, it also creates an email inbox full of messages.

Microsoft Outlook is an incredible tool for email if used properly; the personal information management system is known world-wide for its use in companies, non-profits, and for personal use to communicate ideas, achieve tasks, and maintain the interconnected reality of the present.

Still, nothing hinders efficiency than an unanswered inbox full of emails. One of the ways Outlook can help you –as it’s helped me – is to organize the internal folders.

What’s worked for me
In restructuring in my email folders within Outlook, I first analyzed the folders I had and my process for following up with emails I received daily. For me, the important emphasis was segmenting out and prioritizing what was important versus what could wait.

I borrowed a lot of organizational ideas from a book by a well-known productivity consultant, David Allen, titled Getting Things Done. My biggest take away from it was if I could achieve a task in two minutes or less, then I needed to go ahead and take care of it. If I was unable to in that very moment and yet still needed to take action, I could pull the email into its own folder, delete it, or archive it. The end goal is to only touch an email once to take action, and maybe a second time if you have to research something or need to think about your response. The subfolders I came up with were:

Action Items – Notes to Edit – Projects – Phone Calls -Waiting for/on- Travel – Webex
Within all folders, I proceeded to make subfolders that said “completed”. After, I generated archived folders that are a lot more detailed. It is necessary to have only a few folders within your inbox to keep it simplified. For example, I know “action items” is the one folder that I have to go to each and every day to make sure it is taken care. Your inbox should constantly be emptied throughout the day and most days I do not leave until it is emptied. If I am successful at this it is one thing that makes me feel like I accomplished or achieved something that day.

Within your inbox I recommend 4 to 7 folders. I have a couple of folders that serve a more temporary need (travel or webex, for example) but the folders I tend to be most concerned about are the action items, notes to edit, and phone calls.

What we are trying to achieve here is a way to organize emails to follow up with clients, with staff, and with other key individuals. How you manage your emails and tasks is a customized and personalized process. You might have certain nuances in your industry or in the way you keep up with client communication, but in the end, it is important that email is used as a tool for enhancing communication not barring it. Some of my colleagues prefer to organize their email folders by name of fellow staff or management – this is certainly another way that folders can be utilized to streamline the messages you receive daily.

Challenges
As you can imagine with any new organizational system there are challenges. To no surprise, time is one of the biggest issues on my end. Even with a goal to get through my emails daily, sometimes it just does not happen. Another issue is not forgetting about certain folders and losing some emails “in space”.

Yet, as with anything, we overcome challenges with patience and perseverance. I have stuck to my new internal email organizational system in Outlook and I feel more prepared, responsive, and ready to help the clients I serve. That is what organization can help you do, and I certainly hope these small approaches help you to achieve bigger goals.

Part II Coming Soon: Utilizing Outlook’s Task List

Jesse R. Morris, AIF®, CFS®, PPC

 

Jesse Morris is the founder of Never Ever Ordinary, a data and business intelligence company in Denver Colorado.