Can you believe we’re already three weeks into 2016? Like many business owners, you likely spent the beginning of the year reflecting on previous successes and setting new goals. What are you doing to ensure your practice continues to be successful this year? To help you get on the right track, we’ve put together a list of five private practice goals you should focus on to help you improve and strengthen your practice in the coming year.
1. Patient Engagement
As you likely know from experience, engaged patients are more likely to take an active role in their care. And often, greater patient engagement leads to better outcomes. A focus on patient-centered care is an essential aspect of increasing engagement. But keep in mind effective patient engagement techniques vary based on your patient demographic.
For example, a quick survey of your patients may reveal that they want to ask questions and receive appointment reminders through email, but still want to receive same-day return calls when they leave telephone messages.
Some patients may feel more comfortable discussing their concerns when they see the same doctor and staff members every time they visit. Implementing a team approach and pairing a physician with specific staff members can be an effective way to help improve engagement.
2. Shared Decision-making
Shared decision-making is a critical aspect of patient-centered care. It involves offering treatment options, helping patients evaluate options by providing detailed information and decision aids and supporting your patients’ decisions. Decision aids may include brochures, fact sheets, videos and other sources of information.
A Cochrane Library review noted that patients who use decision aids have more accurate expectations of the benefits and drawbacks of treatments and participate more in the decision-making process.
3. Patient Comfort
Too often, patients assume that pain is just an unavoidable part of the healing process. Whether the problem stems from cultural norms or misinformation, patients need to understand that they don’t have to suffer. You can improve patient comfort by:
- Discussing the severity and type of pain common with an illness, injury or procedure.
- Reminding patients that everyone has a different pain threshold and that there’s no shame in needing intervention.
- Explaining that pain should be treated because it can actually delay the healing process.
- Sharing various patient comfort products and how they work.
4. Employee Satisfaction
The cost to recruit, hire and train new staff members can be expensive. When employees make $30,000 or less, employers spend 16 percent of an employee’s salary to replace them, according to the Center for American Progress. The costs only increase as salaries rise.
Developing a plan to improve employee satisfaction can help you decrease hiring expenses and ensure that your most valued employees remain with your practice. Although many physicians offer staff monetary compensation for a job well done, improving satisfaction doesn’t have to be expensive. Offering paid training classes, extra time off or more flexible schedules can make employees feel valued and appreciated.
5. Value Stream Mapping
Value stream mapping analyzes every step in the patient care process and helps practice owners identify which aspects are effective and which need improvement. A value stream map utilizes a flowchart that follows the patient journey from the moment patients enter your office to the moment they leave. Mapping each step can help you spot and correct inefficiencies, saving you time and money.
No matter how large or small your practice, setting annual goals and objectives is an excellent way to meet the needs of patients and staff and exceed expectations to thrive all year.
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