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Theresa Ayers July 26, 2022 Uncategorized no responses

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

 

Now that is a deep thought.  We live in a world of constant change.  Sometimes the change is slow progressing, and we don’t realize how different things are, and other times change sneaks up on us and demands immediate action.

Many people have heard of the 5 stages of grief:

denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

Did you know that you go through these same stages when it comes to change?  How quickly someone gets to the acceptance of change is individual and so many factors come into play.  You can do things to help adapt though.

Talk about problems more than feelings.

Don’t stress out about stressing out.

Focus on your values instead of your fears.

Accept the past, but fight for the future.

Put people first.

Empower employees through communication.

Make change compelling and exciting.

Pay attention to high and low points in momentum.

 

We all prefer stability, but it is important to know that no matter what, everything changes and you can be prepared for this just by knowing that the only constant in our lives is change.

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Theresa Ayers June 23, 2022 Practice Management no responses

We often find ourselves making sure to pay attention to the “what can I do (better)” side of business. Don’t ever stop doing this. But, sometimes you should take a step back and evaluate your belief of the “what NOT to do” things.
A partial list of what not to do could be:
Don’t assume that your patients aren’t willing to accept some of the modern concepts that are always emerging in the world. I often hear the statement of “my patients don’t do that” when it comes to electronic forms of communication or keeping current on social media. What are your patients doing while in your waiting area? Really take a look at this because you should not be surprised to see that an extremely high percentage are looking at their cell phones.
Don’t spend time when business is slow doing tasks that don’t relate to your business. Take the opportunity to update (or create) a website. Use the time to call patients that were in the office earlier that week to make sure that they are happy with their new contact lenses. Clean and organize. Go visit your Vision Center Manager and make sure that they are aware of any open time slots in your schedule. By re-investing that “down” time into the practice, you are building stronger relationships with your patients and with the Vision Center which is a win/win for everyone.
Don’t ignore the power of recalling patients for annual examinations. So many practices focus on today but stop short of thinking ahead of the game for what is needed for the future. Unfortunately so many patients put off annual examinations until something happens that brings them back in. The process of recalling patients will inform them that an examination is so much more than checking their prescription.
Think of the things that you put off or avoid doing and put a positive spin on it so that you can at least try it out. Taking a positive approach to all of the negative things could have significant rewarding benefits in building your practice.

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Theresa Ayers June 1, 2022 Practice Management no responses

As everything returns to “normal” we can clearly see that normal has a new definition.  Over the past 2 years the general population really has adapted to more electronic forms of communication.  As a matter of fact, this is probably now the preferred method for a high percentage of people.

This does not mean that you must stop doing some of the tried-and-true ways of communicating, but rather expand on that.  For example, don’t stop doing recalls for your patients, but incorporate more of the email/text message features that many systems offer.  If you aren’t already, take the time to collect email addresses from your patients.

Many doctors are reporting more interactions with patients when they have an online scheduling system.  If you have an EHR system, you may already have this.  If you aren’t using one, consider looking into some of the scheduling systems that are available.  These systems allow the flexibility to patients and you for filling time slots when you may not be in the office to take a call.

Have you considered doing newsletters to your patients (sending via email).  This can be something that you do on a quarterly basis and make it something fun for them to read.  In addition to maybe an easy-to-read article about eye health, maybe add some pictures of events that you have attended or are local to your community.

Keep your website up to date.  If you can, link your scheduling system to your website.  Post your website address on your door and add it to your business cards.  And if you don’t have a website, take a little bit of time to start creating one.

If you have any ideas that you would like to share with other doctors, please let us know.  We are always looking for tips we can share from you, the true professionals.

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Theresa Ayers April 27, 2022 Practice Management no responses

Many of you are probably asking “Do I really need a website for my practice?” The loaded answer is it depends. Ecotone Digital Solutions provides 18 Benefits of a Website for Small Businesses including gaining access to new patients and educating both new and returning patients. If you want to build your practice and expand beyond referrals and in store foot traffic then yes a Website is a must!

The path to a website can be confusing with all of the lingo and providers. You have options to navigate this minefield toward a great website.

There are several free builders available including wix.com and wordpress.com. These services allow you to develop a free website using predesigned templates. They will even provide a domain name and hosting for free. The downside to free hosting is the ads and complex website names. You can still use the free builder and register a custom domain at a site like godaddy.com. If you are not comfortable building your own site there are several paid options the range in price and complexity. You will have to research providers and determine which one works best for your practice. Many of these providers deliver extra value by providing tips and tricks for your marketing needs.

If you do not have a website yet, take some time to research your options and make adding a website as part of your practice marketing toolkit in 2022.

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Nicole Gonzales April 8, 2022 Practice Management no responses

We live in a review based world. Potential patients are probably searching review sites like Yelp to help decide which Doctor to see.

Now you are asking “What about bad reviews?”. Ryan Erskine provides the following guidance for handling bad reviews in his Forbes article (http://bit.ly/ptrevres) “How to Respond to Negative Reviews”.
Handled properly, bad reviews will not be a practice killer. When you do receive a bad review make sure to respond. Your response should include an apology (even if you were not wrong), acknowledge their concern and tailor your response to that concern, finally if needed, offer to take the take the conversation offline to get to a resolution. Make sure your response is timely and not defensive.

Done properly responding to both positive and negative reviews can actually increase your ratings. If you are worried about losing clinical hours to monitoring and responding to reviews train your staff to monitor your professional profiles and use template responses to customer feedback.

Embracing customer reviews is a low cost method to grow your practice. Satisfied patients are a great source for referral patients. Ask you customers to provide a review on your preferred site or include a link to your profile in follow up communication with patients with a request to provide a review.

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Theresa Ayers March 10, 2022 Practice Management no responses

Unfortunately, when we experience trying economic times, we also see an increase in the number of scams taking place.  This applies to individuals and to businesses.   

Be cautious to not put yourself or your business at risk.  If something sounds too good to be true, take a bit of time to do some research and never give out information that could be compromised. 

A recent occurrence was a person trying to schedule exams for several patients with hearing disabilities.  This person was going to pay for the exams at the time of service, but then after more communications asked if the doctor would help him out as he was going to have a problem paying for the driver that would be transporting the patients to the office.  His request was to have the doctor run his credit card for the amount of the driver’s fee and for the doctor to then pay the driver (with cash).  This could very well be an innocent situation, but as a business, you should never process amounts for services that you don’t provide.  And it is never a good idea to try to run a credit card for more than the amount of the service and credit back in a different form of payment.   

Other scams that you may hear about are: 

Merchant services calling to ACCESS you credit card machine 

Malware representative NOTICING a breach to your computer 

Collections needing an URGENT reply 

This is not a complete list but just some examples of potential “red flags”.  Take a bit of time to make sure your staff knows of the potential risks and that they alert you to requests that are out of the ordinary.   

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Theresa Ayers February 28, 2022 Practice Management no responses

At some point, you may find yourself in a position to have to interview candidates to fill a position in your practice.  Here are a few tips to make sure that you find the right person for the job.

 

When reviewing any resume, don’t automatically assume that someone is more qualified or less qualified than what you may desire.  Some of the things to identify on the resume could be their writing style, grammar and possibly technology skills that you may be looking for.

A pre-interview phone call can help to identify candidates that you want to bring in for face-to-face interviews.  During this phone call, you can find out what their availability is, if they have salary requirements that are in line with the pay scale you have established for the position, etc.

Have a list of questions ready.  Make sure that your questions are open-ended (avoid the yes/no answers).  You can easily go on Google to find some great questions for the position you have available.

Be a little brief/vague about the specific job duties before asking questions.  This will prompt your candidate to be more honest with their response as opposed to tailoring their answers based on the details you provided.

Take notice of the time the candidate arrived for their interview.  It is also extremely important that you are available to start the interview at the scheduled time.  This will demonstrate your value of keeping to scheduled times.

Take notes during the interview process.  Once done asking the questions you have prepared put down the pen and paper and continue conversing with the candidate.  You may find that once you aren’t taking notes, they relax a little bit and offer more information.

Make sure that you are aware of questions that are illegal to ask.

Finally, let the candidate do most of the talking.  You want to make sure that their personality is going to fit into your practice and the expectations of the position.

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Nicole Gonzales January 31, 2022 Practice Management no responses

As a part of your annual budgeting and planning, review the plans you currently accept. For the most part, any existing plans will remain in your practice. But this is the opportunity to review the profitability of each plan in the right light. Decisions to drop plans should not be made in the heat of the moment if you encounter a rude or unhelpful claims processor. Integrate the additions and deletions of managed care into your annual planning process and don’t worry about this component for the balance of the year.

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Nicole Gonzales January 10, 2022 Practice Management no responses

Imagine yourself as a patient and you show up to your doctor’s office and they are closed. But how could that be when you had checked a few days earlier and confirmed their days open and hours open and timed your visit during those times. How likely are you to call that office to schedule an appointment or to try at another time to go back?

Keeping your office open and available during posted/contracted hours IS important. Not only for access to care should an existing patient need records, but also because it is what people expect from a business. In today’s environment, if you aren’t there, people will just go somewhere else. Why give away your business?

There are always going to be the occasional situations that may cause a change to schedule and that is completely understandable. Trying to keep that to an occasional instance is the key though. When it becomes more frequent the effects to your business and reputation can be impacted in a negative way.

Don’t forget to look at how your practice is run from the eyes of a patient’s point of view. They really value the service and care that you provide. Being there for them is one way to thank them for choosing YOU as their eye care provider.

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Nicole Gonzales November 22, 2021 Practice Management no responses

Who doesn’t want to know more about the person providing care for you and your family? Why not take a moment to write a biography of yourself and your practice to post at your office door. It’s even better if you include a recent picture of yourself.

For those who have websites, you’ve probably already done this, but not everyone visits the website. Having a framed biography at your office door gives those potential patients a peek into the person on the other side of the phoropter.

Your patients are all thankful for you, so sharing a piece of who you are is just a small thing you can do to show them that you are there because of them.

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