10 Tips for Upgrading your Practice in the New Year

Today, patients are customers. When they walk through your doors, they have higher expectations than ever before. And they will not hesitate to utilize the power of social media and tell the world if their experiences with your medical practice are not as expected. It is time for our practices to set higher standards and deliver high-quality service to our patients because that is the only way to sustain yourself and grow your practice.

Give your practice a makeover.

You’ll never get another chance to make a first impression, so make sure the outside of your practice looks inviting to current and potential patients. While you’re at it, it may be time for a quick indoor makeover as well. For many patients, waiting rooms are a part of life so make sure yours is clean, comfortable and up-to-date. Keep the office clutter-free inside and the outside fresh and well maintained. Presentation is key, and appearances matter just as much in healthcare as any other.

Ensure your website is engaging.

Patients will form opinions about your practice before they even meet you. The first impression before an actual visit will start with a well-designed, patient-friendly website. This is where visitors will want to learn about your practice and the range of services you offer. Also, don’t forget to include interactive tools that allow patients to schedule appointments and communicate with your staff via email.

Respect your patients.

Your staff must commit to giving patients the attention they deserve throughout their visit. Right from the moment the patient arrives for a scheduled appointment until the time he or she leaves, your staff must provide excellent service.

Focus on details.

When staff members remember specific details about a patient, it makes them feel appreciated and special. Knowing key information about your patients is important because personal details matter. It could be as simple as a question about their family, a pet or recent travels. Be sure to always address patients by their preferred name.

Quality front desk staff. 

Your front desk staff are the main liaisons for your patients. Quality patient communication begins with answering phones with enthusiasm and a staff that is willing to answer all of their questions. When patients come in for their scheduled appointments, your front-office staff should make eye contact, smile, and have a positive and comforting attitude. Your front office maintains patient flow, handles accounting, schedules appointments, verifies insurance, answers the phone, and much more. Most importantly, these are the first faces your patients will see during every visit. Maintaining a roster of high-quality front staff is key in keeping an office running smoothly, patients happy and driving revenue. It is important that they are professional, smiling, providing consistency, and constantly communicating with patients and physicians.

Good patient communication.

Properly educating patients allows them to play a significant role in their own care, this begins with good communication. Medical staff has a duty to accurately inform their patients but to do so in a way that is clear and understandable. To be effective, patient education and communication needs to be more than just regurgitating tired instructions and information. With a staff that listens, slows things down, builds a rapport, and shows empathy you can provide high-level care and establish a solid patient-doctor relationship.

Improve your collections strategy.

Patient collections are an ongoing headache for most medical practices, especially with the number of patients on high deductible insurance plans. If it’s a major obstacle for your practice, it could be worth it to hire an outside agency. Otherwise, you may want to re-evaluate your overall collections strategy and make some essential changes to your billing practices. A good billing and collections strategy not only helps the practice but patients as well.

Optimize the scheduling process.

You must try to establish a well-managed appointment scheduling system that is professional and easy to navigate. If your website doesn’t have a patient portal, implement one immediately. Patient portals are an excellent way to share and exchange important information with patients in a safe and convenient manner. Ensure your patients have access to this little medical luxury that gives them constant contact with your practice and makes their lives easier.

Engage with your patients.

Are you utilizing social media and a quality website to stay in touch with your patients? If not, its time. In addition to social media, include an informative blog along with an online patient portal on your website so your patients can easily access their records and important documents.

Utilize effective reminders.

Ensure you are using effective reminders for your patients and make sure they are tailored to fit their needs. In our modern era, you should not have blanket style reminders. Ask your patients which method they prefer and then contact them that way. Little details like this can make a big difference when it comes to upgrading your patients’ experience.

While the general public may not always be the easiest to please, upgrading your practice isn’t rocket science. Rheumatology practices must provide

the utmost care throughout each appointment experience. From appointment making and the front desk greeting to the actual treatment and all the way to a follow up call, it is essential the patient feels valued. By finding little ways to upgrade a patients’ experience at all points in their journey with your practice, you will see improvements in satisfaction and retention.

Posted by
  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

What We Offer

We’re adding value to practices across the nation by creating a thriving community of rheumatology managers and physicians.

Membership Benefits

Become a Member

Annual Conference

Conference Registration