Though I never set out to be an entrepreneur, and knew that my professional motivations aligned within the field of medical dermatology, I recognized that marrying the two would provide me with the best opportunities to practice my desired field on my own terms. Post-matriculation, as I began my professional journey working for an established Dermatological practice that primarily provided cosmetically-based dermatological procedures, I swiftly recognized that I wanted to be involved solely in a practice that offered only medically based dermatological procedures. Thus, after garnering extensive insight related to operations, medical office management, and even entrepreneurship, I ventured forth to open Treasure Coast Dermatology.
Since the inception of the practice, I paid great attention to curating an atmosphere that would be conducive to a positive patient experience, and a productive team member experience. Through trial and error, and implementing various successful operational practices, I successfully developed the framework for a successful practice, which substantially grew in scale, and increased to a six location chain practice. With a constantly growing staff, an unwavering mission to provide unparalleled patient satisfaction, and a continued technological evolution in the medical industry, navigating issues of productivity remains an important topic of consideration. Below, I examine various considerations for maintaining an effective marriage between productivity, technology, and a modern medical office setting.
Maintain A Mission Statement
By clearly outlining expectations, and an unwavering commitment to defined practices, you can effectively communicate all expectations with staff. Through a well-defined mission statement, and operations manual, you can establish best practices, and ensure that there is a reference guide for all team members to follow. By minimizing any potential questions, concerns, or inconsistencies, you can ensure a relatively smooth operation that relies on predetermined resolutions, rather than off-the-cuff defensive responses.
In creating a set of standard operations, or mission statements within any business venture, consider the most important core values that you want to convey. In any forward-facing medical practice, ensuring a positive patient experience is an integral aspect of retaining patients, and fostering effective long-term relationships. Thus, creating practices most conducive to championing patient relationships should be considered valuable, and unwavering. Though fostering these relationships may vary between medical disciplines, understanding patient needs, and committing to doing what is needed to perpetually exceed those needs, is a universal set of standards that should be adapted by every medical office.
In assessing bespoke medical office needs, professionals should also examine the specific actions, rules, and operations that will effectively generate a desired atmosphere. Based on office personnel, and medical team members, curating standards related to roles, administrative duties, and opening/closing procedures will assist in effectively establishing daily flow. For example, within my multi-office practice, I ensure that all team members are aware of schedules, patient needs, supplies, and changes occurring within each office in real-time, through the implementation of software that allows for effective inter-office communication. This not only allows each team member to make the most informed choices for the practice as a whole, but also adds to the desired cohesion that is needed to effectively work together in a multiple-office practice.
Limit Tech Distractions
While modern advances have certainly assisted in the daily operations of medical offices, not all technological interventions are necessarily appropriate within all applications. Conversely, the over-utilization of technology can sometimes prove to be distracting to medical professionals, who can lose focus on the personal communication, and physical interventions needed as a result of a preoccupation with excessive technology throughout the day. Not only is the overabundance of screen time potentially distracting for medical professionals, it can negatively impact patients in a myriad of ways.
In the realm of medical dermatology, patients can be the most effective advocates for their own health, as they are the most familiar with small changes in their skin. When educated properly, proactive patients can effectively examine their skin on a regular basis, and correctly spot abnormalities that may be indicative of concerns. Without the ability to communicate these concerns with medical staff, perhaps at the consequence of an abundance of screen-time throughout an appointment, detriments in care may occur. On a long-term basis, excessive preoccupation with technology throughout a patient appointment may inhibit a patient’s overall confidence in the patient-provider relationship, breaking down the relationship significantly over time.
For these reasons, limiting potential tech distractions can positively impact the patient experience, and free medical professionals from the need to constantly fill out electronic files throughout the duration of an appointment. As a side-effect of eliminating this technology-driven distraction, employees can find effective productivity measures by focusing the appointment on patient needs, physical examinations, patient education, and clinical communication. Each appointment will, in turn, be meaningful, mindful, and productive.
Consider Transcription Services
By eliminating in-appointment tech, medical offices will still need to input patient data, appointment notes, and other pertinent information into an electronic database, complete with nursing notes, and other information needed to effectively provide treatment on a long-term basis. At Treasure Coast Dermatology, our team records pertinent information, which is then transcribed into effective patient notes, outside of the scope of medical hours. This methodology allows our team to correctly capture all important information without having to utilize excessive technology during appointments, and results in a streamlined transcription practice that produces the same comprehensive results as more invasive methods. For all medical professionals at Treasure Coast Dermatology, this method spawns productivity throughout the entire day, and remains the most effective way to combat tech distraction.
Maintain Staff Cohesion
In order to maintain long-term productivity, especially within a swiftly moving multi-office practice, cohesion amongst all staff needs to remain present. To avoid possible redundancies, or the potential chaos of multiple team members pursuing the same tasks, delegating efficiently between multiple offices can be streamlined through the use of real-time multi-office technologies. In the case of Treasure Coast Dermatology, utilizing technology that allows team members within various offices to communicate effectively in real-time allows for the transfer of information needed for team members working remotely to complete tasks. Without having to await the arrival of information, or constantly having to call other office locations, staffers can maximize productivity at all times.
As team members may shift throughout the entirety of the day, between varying shifts, communication between relieved staffers, and incoming staffers, is also an integral point of care that can be made productive through the implementation of effective note taking, or verbal report giving. Ensuring that all staff is kept abreast of important information on a continual basis varies between medical disciplines, but certainly remains a crucial aspect needed to maximize productivity.
Through the implementation of the aforementioned considerations, I have been able to successfully maximize productivity at Treasure Coast Dermatology, and simultaneously retain a patient-first approach within the practice. Setting these actions, operations, and plans into motion, I welcomed staff response, and worked alongside each team member to tweak procedures, essentially creating a bespoke methodology that works for our needs. Through cohesive teamwork, we have been able to foster the atmosphere that initially drove me to develop Treasure Coast Dermatology. In any medical setting, adapting similar doctrines can certainly increase productivity, champion positive patient relationships, and propel a successfully operating practice.