But time and time again, I’m reminded that there is always areas of improvement. I’m also reminded that on occasion, we don’t do things as good as I see them in my mind.
The problem for many is that because we are so used to doing things the way we’ve always done them, it is hard to step back and look at things from a different perspective. It is like reading something you’ve written 20 times and then giving it to someone to proof read it for you and then they find 3 mistakes in the first line. C’mon, how could I have missed it? I READ IT SEVERAL TIMES! I often scream.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a few ideas or tips that will help you see things differently in an effort to show you ares of improvement.
- Send a message, as if you were a patient or prospective patient to the email on the website and see how long it takes to get an answer.
- Call the practice. Act as if you are a prospective patient/customer and see how the front desk or receptionist treats you.
- Call the billing department and ask them if they could explain all these things in your EOB. Decide if the billing staff is genuinely trying to inform the patient or being condescending, dismissive or simply not helpful.
- Pull a patient aside that just checked in, explain that you want to document how long an entire visit takes and ask if they agree to help you with your experiment. Have her write down how long each process takes, including how long it takes from the time she checks in to time she is called in; time it takes the doctor to step in after triage is done; how long does it take to get a refill on a Rx, etc.
- Print a patient’s statement and hand it to a relative that knows nothing about medical billing. Ask them if they know what is owed, how to pay the bill or if it is easy to identify where to call if they have a question.
- Search Google for each of your docs name as well as the practice’s name. See what comes up.
- In Google, type “pediatrics” or Pediatrician and your office’s zip code (or town). Hopefully, your practice will come up. If it doesn’t, you have work to do.
- Call several OBs in your area and ask if they know of any good pediatrician’s office in the area. If they don’t mention your name, call later and introduce yourself. You may want send them a pack of business cards too.
- Think about this question, If our practice relied solely on donations, what would you do different. Write at least 5 things down on a piece of paper and start working on the things on the list.
- Switch place for an entire day. If you are a biller, work the front desk. If you work the front desk, work as a biller. If you are a triage nurse, make appts for a day. Of course, this won’t work for everybody and I’m not suggesting for docs to answer the phones for the day. But the exercise will not only help appreciate others’ roles, but it will also allow people with different perspective take a look at what you do and perhaps find improvements. Much like the person that is reading your draft.
What else? Could you add to this list? What other things can we do to help us identify areas of improvement?