Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 5 Posts for 2009

As 2009 nears its close, I thought it might be useful to recap the top five posts from PrimoroBlog. I have enjoyed getting Primoro, Inc. and the PrimoroBlog up and running this year. I look forward to continuing this blog and providing medical providers useful information and insight to better medical practice management.

Review of the various analytics reports presents valuable information about which topics are of most interested to you. As such, stay connected in 2010 for more detail on the most popular topics. Without further ado, here are the top five!

  1. Empowering Others to Act - This blog touched on one the aspects of leadership excellence. Leaders set the agenda and provide the circumstances by which others take ownership of their tasks.
  2. Practice Performance Surveys - Practice Performance Surveys are the single best way to learn how your practice performs and is viewed by your customer. This topic always rates high on the interest scale. Most practices are truly interested in providing good service, but simply may not know how to get started. Also, some third party payers require performance surveys to established reimbursements.
  3. First Impressions - This blog also discusses Practice Performance Surveys. I wrote this blog in response to an example of poor customer service I received. Business owners, doctors included, should realize that referrals come many sources. These sources include: patients, staff, delivery people, drug reps, etc. A bad first impression is hard to overcome.
  4. Connect Questions - Medical providers are very interested in taking advantage of Web 2.0 capabilities. Primoro, Inc. offers medical practices CONNECT, a patient communication tool that utilizes social networking sites as a distribution method of the practice's message. Using social network sites can be confusing and misunderstood. Using CONNECT and other Web 2.0 technologies maximizes your marketing and advertising budget, requires much less personal time than you might think, provides timely patient communication and produces improved bottom line results.
  5. Medical Practice Patient Flow Improvement - The title speaks for itself. Improving patient flow provides greater patient satisfaction, happier staff, and better bottom line results. If you think about it, patients want to get in and get out in a timely manner, and, your staff wants to finish on time each day. Taking steps to improve your flow helps you achieve these goals and produces improved financial results from increased revenues and by reducing per patient fixed overhead costs.
That's it for the top five. Thank you for spending a bit of your time with PrimoroBlog. From all of us at Primoro, Inc., have a very Happy (and safe) New Year!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Medical Office Design and Architecture

Over the past weeks, I have blogged about improving efficiency within the medical practice. Most offices are adequate, yet there is always a way to improve the flow. I commented in my last blog about an office with poor distinction between check-in and check-out. Their solution was to install a check-in kiosk that created a defined check-in space and better enhanced the check-out flow. This solution was relatively simple, others may not be.

For those of us in Georgia, we are fortunate to have several architectural firms that specialize in medical office design. While these firms are located in Georgia, they do work nationwide. It is of extra benefit that they are located in our part of the country.

So, as you are considering your plans for 2010, and if you are considering new office space or an office remodel, consider bringing in the experts in design that can truly benefit you patient flow.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Medical Practice Patient Flow Improvement

Improving your general operational processes can lead to greater patient satisfaction, happier staff and financial benefits.

Many medical practices are aware of the symptoms of inefficiency as it relates to patient flow. Inefficiency is best observed by patients not being seen at their scheduled appointment time and the back office staff rushing to complete the morning or afternoon clinic sessions on time. There are a number of factors that contribute to these inefficiencies and every office is different. One this is for sure, failure to address patient flow inefficiencies leads to poor patient retention and makes getting referrals more challenging. I have said many times in this blog that delivering excellence in customer service is always good for business. As such, improving your patient flow is a key metric of customer service.

The three key elements that have the greatest impact on your patient flow and efficiency are:
  • Physician capacity
  • Staff capacity
  • Physical space and layout
Making sure you have these elements optimized will improve your efficiency. A client of Primoro recently conducted a Practice Performance Survey. The patients reported that the check-in/check-out area was confusing. In their case, check-in and check-out areas were poorly marked and patients did not easily recognize which area did what. This is a good example of how a less than optimal physical space hampers efficiency. It also created a less than optimal customer service impression. A simple, and relatively inexpensive, fix was to construct a new welcome station kiosk to check-in patients. This solution afforded better flow, and, improved patient privacy. I suspect, it also provided a better customer service impression.

Take a look at your office from your patients' point of view. Does the flow really work? Sometimes a simple fix is all it takes!

If you need more information on this topic, please contact Primoro, Inc.


Monday, December 7, 2009

CONNECT Questions

Over the past weeks I have been asked about Primoro, Inc.'s product CONNECT. The most common questions deal with,
  1. How much time does it take each week to managed a blog and the social network distribution?
  2. How comfortable should you be when connecting your business to your favorite social network?
Time required to manage the CONNECT product is relatively little. That's quite a surprise to most clients. After you learn the system, and that's very easy, the time spent each week can be as little as 10-15 minutes. In fact, writing blogs is where the bulk of that time is spent. Remember, blogs are intended to be short and concise information that most customers can digest in about 60 seconds. That converts to about 250-300 words.

The second question may be concerning to some, but it shouldn't. CONNECT provides for "business sites" on the social networks. And it is these business sites where your message is found by your patients. Facebook is the one exception. Yes, you still have the business site, but your blog message also appears on your personal site. Frankly, that is probably a good thing as it doubles your presence on Facebook.

The biggest benefit of using CONNECT is the ease at which your message is delivered. For you, it is as simple as a word processor and clicking the "publish now" button.

Lastly, a side benefit of CONNECT is the increase in your internet presence. Instead of having only one presence, your website, you now have your blog, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all reaching your patients and potential patients.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Impression

Making a good first impression is good for business. One of the best ways to measure your first impression is to ask you patients about their office experience, e.g., a Practice Performance Survey. Most offices find that by asking patients about their appointment experience, through an anonymous survey, results in frank commentary .

Most surveys offer a combination of numeric scores and comments. While the numeric scores are telling, especially when compared to known national benchmarks, I have always found the comments the most valuable component of the survey. Patients very often reward their surveyor with good scores, but offer honest critique with their comments.

It is important to realize that the respondents fall into two categories; those that had a wonderful experience, and those that had a less than desirable experience. Generally speaking, patients with an average visit almost never complete the survey. The two extreme groups though is what offer the best insight as to what you are doing well and what is not going well relative to the customer service your office is providing.

Changes in our healthcare system may create a requirement for practices to conduct routine patient satisfaction surveys. These changes may also create a financial penalty for practices that fall below some established benchmark. I know of one healthcare association today that does in fact financially penalize those individual physicians that rank poorly relative to other association members.

The fact is, excellence in customer service is just good for business. While there may be some upfront costs to improve your customer service, these costs will more than pay for themselves with increased patient retention and new referrals.

Surveying your patients is the first step in developing the habit of providing quality customer service. There are many surveys available, so take advantage of them. If you have any questions about conducting a survey, Primoro, Inc. is here to help.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Was It Cyber Monday, or Cyber Month?

If you paid attention to the news this week, you probably heard the term "Cyber Monday." This is the name given to the Monday following the Friday after Thanksgiving, "Black Friday," that loosely defines the date that most retailers' businesses move into the black. "Cyber Monday" is the term associated with "e-retailers" that loosely marks their increase in sales leading up to the December Holidays.

This is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with medical practices. Well, a new development in "Cyber Monday" is e-retailers use of social networks to reach their customers. In fact, Facebook and Twitter appear to be the social networks of choice when communicating to customers about sales. Thus, social networks represent a key way that consumers learn about the businesses they frequent and use.

As such, social networks offer a tremendous opportunity for medical practices to reach their existing patients and to touch potential patients. If you are using social networking as part of your overall marketing mix you are ahead of the game. If not, you might consider getting involved.

Primoro, Inc. offers medical practices "CONNECT." "CONNECT" utilizes a blog site as the primary communication tool, then distributes the message via the big three social networks: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Each of these social networks has their place and reaches their own defined demographic.

For more information about social networks and "CONNECT," please feel free to contact PRIMORO, INC.