Having built my practice from the ground up in 2003, to now having two locations as well as a dedicated home care team and a staff of over 60 physical therapists; I thought it might be appropriate to share some of my tips on management that have helped me build and develop a solid team.
I have always managed my practice by the guiding principle of providing patient-centered, high quality care, committed to improving the life of any patients that walk through the door. However, quality care can only get you so far with out a good foundation or team to help keep track of the patients and make sure the organization runs smoothly, so that patients can get the best quality experience.
The patient experience starts with the front desk, your front desk team is extremely valuable and often provides the first impression for patients of the practice. Having a well-trained front desk team will pay back in dividends. You want to make sure that when a patient calls your clinic or practice for the first time, that your front desk team will competently get them on the schedule and arrived when possible. You can’t imagine the amount of lost marketing dollars due to the mishandling of new patient calls.
The key is good communication, training your front desk on how to properly communicate with patients is vital. Making sure they know how to handle patient concerns when they come up, where to properly route calls, how to handle cancelations, even how to deal with those not so friendly patients. The key in all this is having a team with high communication skills. This can take practice, but it is a skill that can be developed. Don’t be afraid to sit with your team and practice patient phone calls, make sure they know what to say in different situations. You never want them to get into a situation where they don’t know what to do or say. They also need to be able to listen and record patient data accurately and understand what the patient is saying. The key is practice, practice, practice. There are services out there that can allow you to listen back on calls. This can be valuable in terms of seeing how your staff is doing and being able to play the call back for them and let them see how they can improve, this way they will always be learning and improving. You want to make sure patient questions get handled quickly and smoothly and that your team is on the ball.
Being part of the front desk team requires a lot patience, and care. You want a team as devoted to patient welfare as you are. You need a team up front who is going to go the extra mile for your patients, and help you create that patient-centered culture that will keep them healthy and coming back. Something to keep in mind when you are hiring next.
Dr. Vinod Somareddy, PT, DPT
President & Owner of Reddy Care Physical and Occupational Therapy