Five Steps to Creating a System That Works

We’ve been talking recently about the importance of a systemizing your practice to reduce stress and to make sure that your practice operates as it should on a daily basis. The use of systems allows you to eliminate chaos and “randomness”, and to ensure that your practice runs smoothly and provides top-quality service to your patients day in and day out. Systems can be used for just about every element of your practice – from billing, to scheduling, to a marketing and just about everything in between.

Today, we are going to take a look at the process of creating such a system. You can apply this method to any process you like, from a simple task such as shutting down your office for the night to something quite complicated like overseeing your marketing efforts. For our purposes today, we’ll use initiating follow-up calls for your patients as an example. Here’s the process:

1) Define the needed results, including timeframe. Start by defining exactly what you’d like accomplished. This includes defining specific requirements and a timeframe. As our example, we’ll define our expectations as: ensuring that each patient who has a “major” procedure gets a follow-up call from the office the same day as their visit. It would also be a good idea to create a loose “script” which ensures that the caller touches on all the key points.

2) Create a step-by-step process. Map out the process, from start to finish. In this case, that would likely include referring to a database each morning to generate a list of patients who are to be called that day and a way to identify those same day service patients who would qualify.  It would include calling each patient at whatever time of day you specify and asking specific questions. It should include instructions for what to do if your caller reaches voicemail instead of the patient him or herself.

3) Assign specific team members to execute the process. Who is responsible for making these calls? Will it be a team effort? If so, how does each employee know who to call? Don’t leave any grey area whatsoever—assigning employee #1 to handle the calls to patients with last names starting with A-M and employee #2 to handle N-Z would work well.

4) Monitor progress and hold your team accountable. Evaluate progress on a regular basis and make sure that each staff member is meeting expectations. Because you will have clearly stated your expectations by this time, it’s not difficult to determine who, if anyone, is underperforming. Make it clear that there will be repercussions for team members who fail to execute properly.

5) Analyze and make adjustments as needed. It’s important to remain open-minded as circumstances change. If your practice begins to grow, for instance, you may need to assign an additional employee or two to “follow up call” duty. Commit to reviewing all of your systems on a pre-determined basis (i.e., monthly, quarterly, annually, etc) in order to make tweaks as necessary.

Trust me- utilizing systems will make your life much easier. This five step process will help , but feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions!

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