Friday, June 26, 2009

Practice Performance Surveys

Understanding your patient's views of your practice, particularly in today's economic environment, is an essential need for the physician-owner. While, most of us think we are providing solid customer service, in all likelyhood, customers/patients may have a different opinion.

Over the years, most business assume that because they have operated a successful business, then, we will always run a successful business. In other words, the attitude, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it" can lead us down a declining path. It is the business owner's responsibility to continually challenge the business process, to ensure excellent customer service is delivered.

A friend of mine asked my to edit his manuscript about the business of medicine. Through the pages I continued to see references to good customer service. And he's right. My favorite concept in the writing was, "Inspect, what you Expect." That's great advice and sounds an awful lot like one of the tenets of Leadership. Inspecting your staff's work, how they interact with patients, check-in/check-out, how your medical assistants escort patients and take patient histories, etc.. are all elements of "inspect what you expect."

Another tool to gain knowledge about the patient experience is to conduct a survey. I have conducted many over the years. There has never been an occasion where the survey revealed no improvement opportunities. Measuring the patient experience from the moment your patient makes the appointment, till the moment they check out, is vital to your delivering the patient experience you hope to deliver.

Primoro, Inc. conducts "Practice Performance Surveys" and can benchmark your results year-to-year. Continually improving your practice's performace, both in terms of medical care and customer service, is simply good business.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Data Supporting Social Networking

Yes, I know the list is small to see, but it illustrates the reach social networking sites have. For example, FaceBook is the most popular with 68+ million unique visitors and nearly 1.2 billion monthly visits. Twitter comes in third with nearly 6 million unique visitors and 54 million monthly visits. By the way this data is as of January 2009.

So, if you are considering how to better allocate your marketing and advertising budget, think about social networking.

Data from The full article can be seen at Social Networking Optimization.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blog Sites and PhotoShop

I've spent the past few hours working on a client's social networking capabilties, that is, I have built various boards and blogsite functionality. Interesting, I've learned some new skills. While I am quite adept to building these boards and sites, I have not spent too much time with the photography portion of the project. Generally, I've left that to my photographer wife, Donna, a.k.a The Barefoot Photographer. It is amazing to watch her manipulate a photograph to just the right tome, texture, contrast and brightness. And that's just the beginning.

I bring this up because I know many of you, like me, are busy business owners, with other things on your mind besides photograph editing. I too, thought this skill was beyond my interest, but today, I found myself, without my teacher...Donna.

Before she left for her photography class (she's the instructor) she gave me some basics and said, "See you later." Horror came upon me. What am I to do? Well, I buckled up, cranked up the computer and grabbed the PhotoShop manual. Well, I am here to tell you, it wasn't that bad. I learned to convert color to black and white, producing reverse images, pixel colorization, and on and on.

Some of you are quite avid photographers and many of you use digital equipment. I would encourage you to explore the fun, yes I said fun, in experimenting with digital photography editing. This could be the skill that produces photographs you add to your social networking sites.


Friday, June 12, 2009

A Case for Social Networking

If you are considering adding a newsletter to your patient marketing plan, I would suggest you consider the power of social networking instead. The internet marketing opportunity that exists today with tools like Twitter and FaceBook are much too powerful to ignore. And frankly, looking at the cost, internet marketing is far more cost effective in terms of time and dollars as compared to the tired old printed newsletters.

Consider this, if you have produced printed newsletters in the past, at best you produced one on a quarterly basis. You probably cringed at having to sit down to produce a four page copy. The design is next, then the trip to the print shop. Once they have it, they print a proof to be reviewed and edited. Finally, you are ready to go and the final print run is underway. Now you get the final newsletter and it is time to stuff envelopes. Did you buy enough postage? How about patient addresses? When all is said and done you finally get the bill and the newsletter goes out just in time to start the process all over again. WOW!

Now consider the social networking opportunity. You hire someone to set the network up. Prinoro, Inc. charges a one time charge of $800 for this service. Now all that's left is to produce the blog. My experience shows that a blog takes only about 15 minutes to produce. Once your done, you simple click the "publish" button and the blog automatically goes out to your social networking foll0wers. The very nature of blogs is to produce quick, but relevant, information for your patients. I bet a day does not go by that you exam a patient and think, "more of my patients need to be aware of this condition." If this is you, and it probably is, then sit down for 15 minutes and tell your patients about it. If you can do this at least once per week, you are connecting with existing patients, relating to them and providing the consistent patient outreach most of you would like to have.

Today, patients are using the internet for all kinds of information. And, they do it on their timetable. Take advantage of this opportunity. I know your patients will appreciate it.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Employee Incentive Plans

Creating and implementing an incentive compensation program provides the mechanism your staff needs to focus on specific and targeted product sales or cosmetic services. The result is a positive impact on your practice’s ability to achieve the goal, staff morale, and bottom line performance.

In review, the key elements to an overall staff compensation package is comprised of three key elements: a fair and equitable hourly or salaried wage, the ability to earn merit increases based on yearly performance compared to their job description, and an incentive compensation package. This article discusses the strategy and implementation of the staff incentive plan.

Several key decisions need to be made in preparing and developing the staff incentive compensation plan. These include,

· which staff members are eligible to participate in the program,

· what services or products you want to include as part of the plan and

· setting appropriate and reasonable goal(s).

Staff Member Eligibility

Deciding which staff members can participate does have some real considerations. Are all full-time employees eligible, probably so, but what about part-time? Are part-time employees eligible at all, or, at some reduced amount? How about aestheticians, or, other non-physician providers, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, or nurse injectors? These must be answered prior to implementing any incentive compensation plan.

Deciding who participates in the incentive plan is purely subjective. Many consultants have their own opinion and I certainly have mine. I consider an incentive plan as a goal for the practice. To achieve this goal requires everyone in the practice to be engaged and educated about the products or services highlighted in the plan. As such, I believe everyone, including part-time employees and aestheticians, should participate equally in the plan. This sounds odd, but experience demonstrates tremendous buy-in to the plan and success in achieving the goal. Remember the premise for an incentive compensation plan. That is, to motivate your staff to go above and beyond their typical job duties and to engage patients in these products or services, create demand for these products or services and to create value for the practice.

Non-physician providers, PA-Cs and NPCs, may be another story. Since most of these employees are already on some type of production compensation package, you may choose not to include them as part of the staff compensation plan. In the case of these non-physician providers, they generally benefit from the staff incentive plan through increase overall service delivery production.

Services or Products to Include

Selecting which products or services to include in the staff incentive compensation plan is subjective. However, selecting those products or services that return the greatest value to the practice and patient are the most attractive. From a practical matter and from a medical-legal perspective, selecting cash services make the most sense. It is important that you have the ability to track sales of the products or services through your practice management software. This provides the real-time data comparing performance to goal, and the necessary data to assist you in developing a realistic sales goal.

Incentive Compensation Plan

The most effective plans are those that benefit the staff and the physician-owner as well. The successful plan also puts some of the responsibility and accountability back on the practice personnel. I have seen some incentive plans based on overall practice growth. While not a terrible design, this type of plan generally puts most of the responsibility for achieving the goal on the providers. I have seen one example where the surgeon finds himself in surgery late on a Friday afternoon while the staff has already begun enjoying the weekend. After a few sessions like this the surgeon quickly abandoned the incentive compensation plan for the staff.

While there is no question that the provider(s) must do their part, it’s a matter of selecting those products or services that maximize the provider productivity time.

In overview, your plan should be based on historical data and be sensitive to the “seasonality” of those products or services. For example, some cosmetic services have some seasonality. Similarly, most plastic surgeons see a decline in their surgical load just before and just after school begins. As such, your compensation plan needs to be reflective of these seasonal variations.

Understanding prior performance on your targeted products or services is critical. These data elements help us establish the upcoming compensation period goal. The staff incentive compensation plan that seems to work best follows this design:

Establish the sales goal for this period’s targeted products and services, minus, the prior periods products and services sales. The difference represents the growth of the targeted product and service, and establishes the basis for the total incentive compensation plan pool of dollars.

$150,000 – Sales Goal

$100,000 – prior periods sales

$ 50,000- basis for incentive plan pool.

Next, as the business owner you must decide the portion of this basis pool you wish to share with your team. Common percentages range for 10-25%, depending on the current status of the targeted product or service at your practice. Thus,

$ 50,000 -Basis for incentive plan pool

X 10% -Percentage you elect to share with your team

$ 5,000 – Total dollars available to the team, if they hit the sales goal target at 100%

Most offices use a sliding scale to determine actual payout. That is, should the team over-achieve, more money is funded by the basis. If the team under-achieve, there is less money available in the incentive pool. Most practices implement their plan at a minimum of 80% achievement and top out at 120% of achievement. This should be enough of a spread to reward behavior while at the same time protecting the staff and the practice from potential errors in goal development.

Goal Development

This is probably the most difficult element to implementing a fair staff incentive compensation plan at your office. You may be offering selected services, but have seen a decline in overall performance. This is a great scenario to implementing a incentive plan. Historical sales data for your practice is critical in goal development. Also, if you can get national sales growth numbers from your suppliers, that too, is a help. You also need to have a good understanding of your current market and competitive nature of your area.


Implementation of a staff incentive compensation plan is probably the most enjoyable part of the process, aside from handing out money for a job well done. The plan should be presented at a staff meeting where there is ample time for questions. It should be in a written document, complete with examples. Your staff should know what their individual opportunity is and what role they play in achieving it.

Education is key. You must invest in your staff’s education of the products or services you are including in the plan. As the physician-owner it is your responsibility to ensure everyone on your team is knowledgeable about the products and services highlighted. As part of this process, be sure to ask your vendors for assistance. I suspect most of them would be delighted to assist, especially since you have included their product as part of the incentive plan.

Well constructed incentive compensation plans have many positive benefits. It certainly benefits the staff and the practice with increased financial reward. Somewhat secondary, but equally beneficial is the teamwork the plan helps establish. Improving teamwork and improving staff work satisfaction have benefits well beyond the incentive compensation plan. I hope you will give one a try.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Social Networking

News Release

New Social Networking Opportunity from PRIMORO, Inc.

Fayetteville, Georgia, June 9, 2009 - - Robert Rosser, President of Primoro, Inc. announced a new service offering, Social Networking Capability, for medical practices. Taking advantage of the power of social networking is the new newsletter. Physicians have long wanted to stay connected to their patients, but the expense and time necessary to create newsletters made the task difficult at best. Embracing the power of the internet with social networking affords physicians the opportunity to stay connected with their patients with a frequency and speed not before utilized.

The addition of Social Networking Capability to your marketing strategy is a cost effective way to stay connected to your patients.

“This is an exciting new offering from PRIMORO, Inc.” said Robert Rosser, President. PRIMORO, Inc. “Unlike other marketing tools typically used by physicians, social networking capability reaches patients in the format and timeframe most patients are looking for. This world is busy and patients are looking for quick information beneficial to better health.”

About PRIMORO, Inc.

PRIMORO, Inc., with headquarters in Metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, is a consulting organization offering its clients with “thoughtful medical practice consulting.” Improvement in the cornerstones of business operation, financial analysis, business processes, employee relations, customer relations, drive behaviors beneficial to the physician-owner and the patient alike. The context of your business to develop and implement the strategies necessary for success in today's market driven climate is the focus of PRIMORO, Inc.

Additional Information

PRIMORO, Inc is registered as a Corporation in the State of Georgia.

Contact Information


Robert Rosser, President



Monday, June 8, 2009

Patient Satisfaction

Have you ever conducted a patient satisfaction survey?  Some of you have, most have not.  I think most physicians are interested in their patient's feedback, but are simply too busy to conduct the survey.  

Patient satisfaction surveys are immenesely helpful in helping you understand the processes in your office that are executed well and those that are not.  Frankly, it is the bad news that really guides us in providing a better experience for your patients.  And, I think most doctors want to provide not just good medical advice and service, but a good overall patient experience as well.

Many physicians affiliated with large medical instutions have access to patient satisfaction surveys.  In fact, in some locales, if you are affiliated with such an institution, it is required to conduct this survey.  The trouble with a global patient satisfaction survey is that you are measured against all specialties.  Think about it, if you are providing cosmetic services, your patient satisfaction rating is compared to those physicians providing care for life or death situations, your comparing apples and oranges.

A better approach may be to conduct your own patient satisfaction survey with focus on you specialty and/or services provided.  In this way, you can benchmark yourself year to year, making continued customer service improvement along the way.  

I have conducted many patient satisfaction surveys over the years and have yet to find an office that does everything perfectly.  Consider conducting your own patient satisfaction survey.  If time is short in your office, and it most likely is, call Primoro, Inc.  We can help.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Internet Marketing

Many of you have spent a fair amount of resources in developing and publishing your internet site.  Good.  Internet marketing is probably the most effective use of budget to inform the public about your business and the services you offer.  For the most part, many of the sites I've reviewed look really good and it is clear there was intent and purpose with the site.

Now for the bad news.  Many physicians simply do not look, nor review, their own sites.  Too often, your writer and/or designer does not use proper grammar or spelling (I once found a reference to the physician's residency program as "infamous").  Yes, they are probably typos, but whose site is it and whose image is on the line?  Yours!  

As a general practice:
  • Make sure you review the copy prior to publishing
  • Get several trusted people to reveiw it as well
  • Correct any misspellings and grammatical errors
  • Make sure your links work properly
  • Take the time to plan the site
  • Include the proper metaphrases and key words...Update them frequently
And one more item, keep your site current.  You've spent the time and budget to get the site up and running.  Don't ruin your patient's internet office visit by offering a "special" that expired months ago.  Yes, I saw one of those today.