New Year’s Resolutions for Your Rheumatology Patients

January is almost over, which means it’s time to check in with your resolutions for 2017. Have you made any progress on your goals? Are your resolutions focused and actionable? So far in our series about goal setting and goal getting, we’ve discussed how to set goals for your rheumatology practice, and generated some ideas for ways your staff can improve their performances. In this, our third and final post of our series, we’re going to discuss some goals you can set for and with your rheumatology patients.

Conduct a patient satisfaction survey.

This will help you zero in on specific ways you can improve your practice’s performance for your patients. In order for this to be effective, however, you have to ask the right questions. What could we have done better? How would you rate your confidence in your physician? Would you recommend this practice to a family or friend? These kinds of questions will make your patient think specifically about the care they received and how they felt during the appointment. It will also reveal a lot about the service you provide—for better, and for worse.

Reduce wait times for your patients.

Your patients’ time is precious, and long wait times are one of the most frequent complaints physicians receive. You can cut down on wait times by setting clear expectations, allowing patients to fill out paperwork before they arrive for their appointment, and scheduling more appointments during slower times of the day or week. Your patients will be happier, and so will you. After all, the sooner you are able meet with your patients, the sooner you can serve the next one. If one of your goals is to increase business and grow your practice, this will be a big help.

Increase referrals and serve more patients.  

The best advertising is word of mouth. People trust their family, friends, and neighbors far more than they trust advertisements and commercials. If you can encourage referrals from your existing patients, you’ll almost guarantee an influx of new patients. Your patient satisfaction surveys will be a big help in this regard, as is having a strong online presence and active social communities. If a patient tells someone to check you out, you want to ensure that what they see will be impressive, professional, and welcoming!

Encourage your patients to make health resolutions.

We hope these ideas help you improve the service you provide your patients and support your patients as they make their health a priority. Write blog posts each season with health tips for that time of year. Offer workshops or educational classes on topics your patients would be interested in, and create support groups for the various diseases that you treat. By encouraging your patients to maintain their health holistically, you make their lives better and your job easier, and that’s one of the best goals a rheumatology practice can set.

We hope you enjoyed our series on goals for the new year, and that 2017 is your best year yet! For more tips on running your rheumatology practice, like us on Facebook and bookmark this blog. In the meantime, keep working on those resolutions!

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  • 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

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