Fall Into Practice Systems That Need Attention
It’s fall and you got your insurance letter out informing patients of unused benefits and have been making follow-up calls. Last minute cancellations in recall, because patients are either sick with the latest viral infection or are realizing they should save money for the holiday gift giving bonanza, are building your stress hormones to explosive levels. You are breaking out the holiday decorations and thinking of whether to send holiday cards or invite everyone in for mulled cider and a cookie. The weather is getting cooler and it is dark in the morning and sometimes it is difficult to gather the enthusiasm to call all of those patients who have not showed up this summer and are now overdue.
If the schedule is just not as productive as you want, don’t sit and despair - there are plenty of things to do to tune-up your practice and get a more positive mind-set. Look around the office, can it use a little redecorating such as touch-up painting, replacing worn upholstery or getting some new artwork for the walls? A fresh look can raise spirits and encourage patients to update their look too.
The holidays are a traditional time to thank patients for their loyalty during the year. Put out some apples from the local farmers market in a basket and give them away at the end of the appointment, or give away tiny pumpkins with a big thank-you from the team.
Have you updated your CPR training? Get a trainer in and invite staff from neighbor offices or from your specialist team and have a little tea party or light lunch. The same goes for OSHA training – this can be a good opportunity to network while sharing the cost of training with another office.
What about staff dentistry? Have a half-day devoted to getting staff recalls and treatment up to date. After all, if we don’t follow our own advice, then we’re not helping patients to make the right choices for their health.
Revisit your Mission Statement. It is probably collecting dust somewhere and you most likely forgot what it says. Maybe you have a new team and you want to rewrite it with a fresh new meaning. “Why do we get up and come in here in the morning?” It’s fun to give you and the team a new purpose and get everyone steering in the same direction as we go into a new year.
Plan to give time or raise money for your favorite charity this year and get the staff involved with the project. It is a feel-good way to connect with the community and let them know who you are.
Look at your logo. Does it still represent your “brand” or practice “niche” that you have developed over the years? Get the team involved with the “rebirth” of your logo or perhaps have the patients involved with voting for the new design. Does the team have personal business cards? Have a contest as to how many new patients show up with their card and give a reward to the team member that wins.
Edit the notes on statements to include having needed dentistry completed by the end of the year for healthcare write-offs or to use monies in cafeteria plans and HSA accounts. Everyone is so busy this time of year that it is our job to remind people of this valuable asset. Get the team together and take a continuing education course together on practice management or the latest clinical buzz. This builds team spirit and accomplishes licensing updates.
It is easy to lose sight of the practice needs when the holidays come to take our attention away. This can be the most productive time of year if we get proactive and do something to create positive energy.
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