Learn How To Create A Budget For Your Medical Practice

In medicine, the mention of the word profit is often viewed or interpreted as a dirty word. It is as if the word does not belong in the lexicon when health care is addressed.
 Broke doctor
I argue (in the context of the private medical practice setting) that profitability is a medical practice’s responsibility for one simple reason. If the medical practice (also known as a business) doesn’t deliver profits, health care providers are unable to provide for those in need.

Why Profits?

Profits pay for infrastructure, technology, education and human resources, all of which translate to superior pediatric care when employed correctly.
Another way I like to put it is by saying,

 

…a broke doctor does do anybody any good.

 

Calling vs Profits

Indeed, our medical businesses differ from other companies in that we care for children. And the notion of withholding medical services or restricting access to a sick child merely by the patient’s parents inability to pay for health care services is simply not in a pediatrician’s DNA.
However, it is important to accept the reality that without a way for a doctor or the practice’s income to outpace expenses, health care providers are unable to provide services of any kind. At least not for the long term.

Is there a solution?

How do we reconcile these two competing issues? On one hand, it is necessary for a medical practice to deliver profits if it wants to remain sustainable. On the other, we have an intrinsic motivation to put the patient’s needs first.
I am glad you asked.
These two dichotomies can co-exist – and even flourish – alongside each other. There is indeed numerous tools and principles rooted in business that can help medical practices manage what otherwise appears to be opposing forces.

A Resource You Don’t Want to Miss

Today, I want to tell you about a resource I’ve been working on to help your office obtain financial success, while simultaneously providing unsurpassed pediatric care to your patients.

To help you succeed in your financial success, I’ve written a comprehensive eBook on budgeting that walks you through the process of creating a budget for your medical practice. The materials also cover basic principles necessary to put the exercise into perspective.

Budgeting is a major component of financial success. Moreover, financial success is essential to the continuity of care.

To read more about this offering, click on the image below.

Medical Practice Budgeting
Click on the image

I do hope that you buy the book, but more important, that you find the eBook helpful, useful and valuable.

How Well Do Parents Know What You Do As a Pediatrician?

It’s hard to appreciate the value that pediatricians provide when one is not aware of exactly what it is that pediatricians do.

During the summer months, I posted on our practice’s Facebook page, a note encouraging parents, to schedule their children’s wellness visits.

Although the message was for our entire Facebook community, I wanted to catch the eye of parents with teenagers. Don’t know how well you manage teens in your office, but in our office, we have decent wellness visit numbers with younger patients. The teen population?

Not so much. Once the teen years kick in, we mostly see them when they are sick.Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 11.48.51 AM

I wanted to encourage parents to make their wellness visits but also throw in a subtle nudge to parents with teens.To get their attention, I opened with this line: Did you know pediatricians are trained to treat children from birth to adolescence? Then I went on to talk about the importance of wellness visits etc.

Something interesting happened. The post outperformed other Facebook post. It received more likes that than the ordinary. But that the surprise me. What surprised me the most, were the comments from parents.

One mom said, “it’s good to know the pediatrician can see my teen.”

Another said, ” Timothy is going to be so happy when I tell him Dr. B can still see him.”

WHAT WAS THE LESSON?

It’s an age-old lesson. It’s a lesson on assumptions and what happens when we make them.

That simple, otherwise ordinary status update, got me thinking about how well (or not) we communicate what it is that we do as pediatricians. If so many people weren’t aware that pediatricians can treat teens and beyond (0-21), what else don’t they know? The irony is that our website is tagged with the line “Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.”

OPPORTUNITY

We clearly have a communication problem. And I would argue that our lack of proper communication about what it is we do as pediatricians (more than runny noses and giving shots) is why many parents don’t see the distinction between a retail clinic and a pediatrician.


 

It’s hard to appreciate the value that pediatricians provide when one is not aware of exactly what it is that pediatricians do.

 


 

The good news is that there is a significant opportunity for pediatricians to cover a lot of ground. How so? By using social media channels to educate our community about all the great services we are trained to provide.

I also believe that leveraging this opportunity could aid your practice in differentiating itself from the competition.

WHAT IS YOUR COMMUNICATION STRATEGY?

Since I realized there was a chasm between our assumptions and the reality, I’ve been intentional about informing our community about the training, knowledge and expertise our pediatricians can address.

Some of it may seem too obvious for those of us that do this every day. Like explaining the importance of wellness visits.

But the truth is, some parents don’t know about yearly wellness visits. They assume that because the child no longer needs shots, they don’t need to go to the doctor.

Beyond promoting wellness visits, I use many of the things included in the Bright Futures guidelines as a way to highlight that a visit to the pediatricians is highly comprehensive.

And by educating our population, I’m also marketing our practice in a unique way. Instead of mentioning in a promotional piece that we accept most insurance plans, I may mention that how we can provide family support, safety and injury prevention, or mental health.

MARKETING STRATEGY

Not only is promoting and sharing this information relevant and valuable to parents, but I also think it is an excellent way to differentiate ourselves from the MinuteClinics or other medical services that overlap with pediatrics (i.e. Urgent Centers, Family Practice, Telemedicine).

YOUR CHALLENGE

Think about your medical practice’s communication strategy, or lack thereof. What is your practices unique selling proposition? What problems do you solve that others don’t? Then think about how best to communicate your message. Also, consider the channels you’ll be delivering your message. By channels I mean, traditional advertising, email campaigns, social media, etc.

Remember, each channel is unique, thus requires you to craft the message differently.

I’ll leave you with this… times are changing. That is certain. And we have two options, two paths to choose from. Disagree with how things are changing, or find ways to agree with the shifts in a way that benefits you and your practice.

Customer Service Axioms For Your Pediatric Practice

Have you noticed that everybody knows how to deliver exceptional customer service, except those that actually do? We’re all customer service connoisseurs. We all can recognize excellent service. And we are even better at pointing out bad service. But when it comes time to execute, most fail.

I think that the reason customer service is hard to execute, is not because we don’t know how to, but because we easily forget. We often get wrapped up in our task, that we lose the service-centric service that we started out with.

Samuel Johnson said, “Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”

With this in mind, I’ve put together a slide deck that highlights a few axioms I use to remind team members (as well as myself) how to get back on a customer service-centric track.

In the comments, share with us what are your favorite customer service axioms?

Extra, Extra – Now Offering Coaching Services

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 7.56.46 PMPeople always ask me if I do practice management consulting.There was a time when I did. But for the past two or so years, I’ve responded by saying no. I enjoy consulting and love to do it, but I had to stop because of the time commitment.

Recently, I was talking with a loyal reader of PediatricInc about this very topic and she suggested I do remote coaching.

My friend, who owns her practice, explained that she doesn’t necessarily need a comprehensive on-site consult. “I just want to ask a question about my practice or run things by someone familiar with practice management,” she said.

She went on to say, “…you know doctors don’t get training on business, management, marketing, collections…. having somebody to reach out to that has the business and practice management training would be valuable.”

“Like a practice management coach?” I asked. And she said, “ yeah, that is a good way to put it.”

We talked a little while longer. By the time we finished up, my loyal reader and friend had convinced me.

Today I’m announcing a new service on PediatricInc called PMB Coaching for those pediatricians and/or managers that want my perspective on practice management, discuss in detail a blog post, run something by me or provide another set of eyes.

Interested in learning about the PMB Coaching?

Click on this link.

 

Do Pediatricians Have A Marketing Problem? [Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast]

WorkingTogetherToday, Chip and install about pediatricians’ marketing problem. We dive in and discuss how pediatricians have not done a good job of distinguishing themselves from the competition. And when we say competition, we don’t mean other pediatricians, but rather retail based clinics and large hospital networks.

The result of our poor efforts in differentiating ourselves? Parents don’t really understand the value that comes from visiting the pediatrician’s office rather than a retail based clinic. So in many parents’ mind, going to retail based clinic is the same intern of quality of care as visiting the doctors office, but faster and cheaper.

We also talk about what each of us thinks peds could do to begin fixing this problem.

We hope you enjoy the Awesome cast, and if you do, make sure to tell your friends about it.

For the audio version, click below:

iTunes link

Q/A With Dr. Kristen Stuppy: Mother, Wife, Practicing Pediatrician, and Social Media Maven

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.46.47 AMLast year, Dr. Kristen Stuppy and I had an opportunity to do a webinar together for the AAP about social media.

While preparing for the webinar and deciding on the content we were going to address, Dr. Stuppy and I exchanged several emails. Below, I’ve compiled our email and phone conversation along with the questions I asked Dr. Stuppy in preparation for the webinar.

Dr. Stuppy’s answers provide a lot of insight in to the value of social media; not only personally, but also professionally. She shares how she manages her online presence, where she finds content and patient’s reactions to her online efforts.

Dr. Stuppy, could you share with us a little bit about your how long you’ve been practicing, where your practice is located, and how many docs?

14 years, practice in Overland Park, a south west suburb of KC. 4 docs and several midlevels

So, you are the SM champion of your practice, I know this because I follow you closely. But before we get into how you manage a strong online presence, work in a busy practice while balancing work and home life, share with us how long have you been on social media?

Some time in 2009-10 a senior partner suggested I start our office FB page. He suggested me because I had done our website’s articles. At the time I had a personal FB account that I rarely used, so I first played around on it for a bit to see how it worked, then opened a business page.

Did you first dive in as most people do with Facebook as a way to connect with family and old high school friends?

I don’t know that “dive in” is accurate. I have a personal page, but it is not used as frequently as my business page. It can be very addictive to spend time looking for good updates. Big time waster. When I find an old friend, I look at pictures of their kids. That is always fun. I will sometimes see updates, but I don’t post very often to my personal page. No one needs to know what I eat and everything I do. Those posts I find annoying. Business pages are much more informational and suit my needs more, so I spend my time there.

At one point, you started hearing about the potential of social media in medicine, walk us through how this idea of using social media as a pediatrician started to form.

As I mentioned, a Sr partner suggested it. He was good at coming up with ideas and giving the work to someone else. While I could have declined, I thought it was a good idea that suited me. I enjoyed being on the high school newspaper/yearbook staff and even my medical school yearbook staff. This seemed like a new way to share that type of information. I wasn’t afraid of computers, so thought I’d try it out.

Did you have an epiphany of sorts or did your interest grow as you learned more about SM?

My interest grew as I did more online. I originally planned on posting several times a week and more about our office itself. I still post our flu shot clinics, weather closings, reminders to schedule PEs, and other office business, but I have found that another great purpose is to share information.

The more I followed various pages on FB, the more pages I found to follow from their shared posts. I soon found that I had to register for email newsletters from my favorites because I missed great posts on their FB pages. It has become really important to me to share reliable medical information, something I don’t think I considered much when first starting out. The information out there has grown too. My original goal was to post 2-4 times/ week. I currently post 3-4 times/day on average.

Can you describe what is so cool about it? As a practicing pediatrician, what is it that you see in these internet tools?

Very little in medicine gets immediate positive rewards. Telling a parent that their child has a cough and it will take a couple weeks to get better, watch for these complications… it can get old.

Parents never give thanks for that. But with social media, you get instant “likes” or comments. I found that I can share solid reliable information with many people in a short time. Safety, illness treatments, insurance tips, and more.

We can communicate with followers in a way that fosters learning in both directions. Comments might drive me to find more articles to post that show it in another way because parents are still questioning, or comments might even initiate a discussion in my office on how we can improve based on a negative comment.

Do you view your SM media efforts as a hobby, or do you view this new way of communicating with people part of your job as an advocate for children?

Some people watch TV. Others golf. I surf the web. It is a hobby to me. I enjoy my time reading and sharing the right articles. It is also an advocacy position. That makes the hobby more rewarding.

You manage more than just your practice’s Facebook page. You have a presence in other social media sites, like Pinterest. Run down for us all SM platforms you engage.

In addition to my office FB page, I am one of the administrators on the unofficial AAP SOAPM “We Are Pediatrician’s” page. You mentioned Pinterest– that page is personal, but linked to my office website so I can share websites with patients. I also use Twitter and have an account at LinkedIn but don’t use it. I have a GooglePlus account, but use it mostly to share my own blog updates. I probably need to work more with Google, since more people are joining it.

Share with us your philosophy or your purpose. Do you do this as a marketing strategy for your practice? Do you view this as just a more efficient way to advocate for children in a broader capacity?

The original purpose of SM for our office was of course marketing. I’m sure it does draw new patients, but we’ve never measured that number. I personally feel the biggest benefit is educating my current patients. I love it when I start to do the car seat talk and mom says, “Oh, we’ll be rear facing for a long time… saw that on your FB page.” I then can stop that discussion short and spend more time on something else. I know the people who frequently interact on FB and I do change my well visit discussions with them. I can spend more time on things I don’t post regularly. It makes the time in the office better spent.

How about the tools you use and the difference in each one of them?

I rely heavily on HootSuite to manage my accounts. It is one of several scheduling tools that allows me to pre-post articles. I can choose post to my 2 FB accounts and Twitter at the same time, different times but the same information, or select which SM site I want it to go to. It doesn’t take any more time to post to all 3 than it does one – except that Twitter limits characters, so I often change my intro statement for Tweets.

Often times, people think of SM as Facebook and Twitter, but SM is more. For example, blogging. You also blog, could you tell us why blogging matters?

Blogging allows me to talk about what’s on my mind. We all get tired of giving the fever talk a million times a day, but I can write about it and share with hundreds within a week. It can slow the phone calls in my office or when I’m on call to blog about the current illness going around.

I have also used it to answer common questions that I couldn’t find good information to post, such as “will standing hurt baby’s legs?” I also hope to educate families about children’s healthcare on a bigger scale.

I find great satisfaction knowing that thousand’s have read my article on generic Concerta substitutions. I am worried that going back and forth between brands will cause overdosing due to the difference in time release of the different formulations. If I can save one child from the effects of an overdose, it will be worth while.

How do you find topics for your blogs?

I tend to write about what is on my mind. Most are illness related or parenting topics. This time of year complaints start coming in from parents who get billed for summer PE components. I really hate those phone calls, so I wrote about why they get a bill.

I can refer to that when I talk to parents, but my hope is that people start reading this information before the next PE, so they won’t have the surprise bill in the first place.

 How often do you post?

I schedule 3-4 posts per day. Sometimes something comes up, such as recall notices or a fun community event that I learn about too late to pre-post. Occasionally our office administrator will share things, such as a fun picture taken at the office (with parental written consent if applicable), phone problem notices, etc.

Where do you find content to share?

I follow many FB business pages, such as other pediatric offices, parenting sites, AAP section and State pages, poison control, pro-vaccine sites, CDC pages, sleep consultant pages… so many!

FB rotates which pages I see on any given day, so I can choose to go specifically to a page to see it. I also manage the pages by adding them to interest lists, so I can choose from Nutrition, behavior, fun kid stuff, etc. (whatever I have grouped together).

My favorite blogs I don’t want to miss I subscribe to their newsletters so their posts come by email. Twitter is another great source that I don’t use as much as I should.

How do you decide what content goes where or do you post the same message all across the board?

I differentiate posts based on the audience. My office posts are geared toward patient families. I watch the Insights statistics to see what posts people are actually reading.

Highest numbers tend to be funny cartoons, quotes, or other quick information. Another trend I’ve noticed is when I post something with a warning (such as “don’t read if you get offended with bad language”), people tend to read those more.

I guess parents are like kids, they want to see what’s of questionable nature. I do restrict those types of articles to only those with a very strong good point, but sometimes it is too good of an article to not post.

When I first started, I decided to steer away from funny cartoons and things, but when I posted one and got such a response, I started to post more. I still try to mostly post information I want people to read, but we have fun on the page too! It is good to try to get people to comment or at least Like a post so it shares on their wall– that’s how posts go viral!

The We Are Pediatricians (WAP) page has a completely different audience. I see this as a blend between personal and professional. The followers should be my peers, not patients, though it is an open page and anyone can follow it.

I do post the same patient directed articles there, but also business management articles. I do post more liberally the questionable or controversial articles on that page, since I want pediatricians to be aware of those issues. I hope people read articles before they share on their office FB pages!

My Twitter followers also tend to be more professionals, so I post some business things there as well as patient information. I keep it pretty non-controversial too since the feed displays on my office website.

My blog automatically posts to Google+, but unless I hit the G+ on an article I really like or comment on a Google blog, I don’t post to Google specifically.

What are your thoughts on hiring somebody to drive a practice’s SM effort?

While I can see how starting a FB page seems like a time consuming and daunting task, I try to make it easy with the WAP page. If someone follows it and a couple other pages they can find plenty to post every day. The benefit to doing it yourself is that you can add your own thoughts in the introductory statement. This is a great opportunity to let your patients know your thoughts.

If you hire someone to do this for you, you will need to know how that person will choose content, what they will say about it, and how they will respond to comments.

Be sure they understand how to pick articles that have reliable healthcare information. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. I will sometimes love an article but one part of it is not what I agree with. I can use the intro statement to add my 2 cents about what I would do or say differently with an overall endorsement of the remaining article. How would a non-medical marketing person handle that?

As long as you have the ground rules for them, it can be done. But in my opinion that is money not well spent. It is not hard to do it yourself.

How much time would you say you spend on SM a day or a week?

This is hard, because I spend about two hours weekdays doing computer work, all before my kids get up or after they go to bed. This is all my personal and professional email, scheduling posts, checking FB for comments, and more. I do spend a little more time on weekends, but mostly because I use that time for blogging and reading articles I didn’t get to during the week.

 Is it necessary to spend that much time? Could you spend less time and still have a presence?

Remember that I probably do a lot more than someone who just wants to post a few articles per day. This is my hobby too! I make it easy for others to just share articles by posting to WAP. If all you do is share some of those articles, you could do this in a few minutes a day.

What do your patients think about all this?

I hear so many positive comments, which makes it very rewarding. I’ve even been stopped in the hall by my partner’s patients who thank me. They love the information and have given many specific examples over the years on how it helped them.

How do you think social media has benefited your practice, your patients or your parents?

As I mentioned before, sharing information has allowed fewer phone calls due to improved education of parents. It can decrease time during visits discussing common issues, saving time for more specific concerns of a family.

It has also allowed sharing of important office events, such as late openings due to bad weather, phone line problems, and vaccine clinics. Patients have had fun seeing their pictures at times.

Do you separate your personal digital presence and your professional presence? If so, how do you?

I think since I must be professional on my social sites, I don’t really separate them much. I tend to be a bit more careful online- especially with my office page, since in the office I can be a little more free of speech if I know who I’m talking to. That’s the same with all social media. I would advise anyone to be careful what they post since it can be misunderstood and it is forever discoverable.

To visit or follow Dr. Stuppy’s online presence, click on the links below.

Deceptively Easy Way to Improve Your Practice, Guaranteed

On a piece of paper, write down this question:

Image-1

It doesn’t have to be written exactly like I wrote it. Any variation will do. Then, make copies. Several of them. For the next few days or even weeks, hand each parent that comes to visit your office the sheet of paper with the question on it. While they wait, they will have plenty to think about out. You can ask them to use the remaining space – as well as the other side – if they require more than just a few lines.

I just saved you $5000 in consulting fees. Not to mention provided a way for you to have specific and practical ways  to make your pediatric office 10x more awesome than it already is.

You’re welcome…

#18 Is the Independent Physician a Dinosaur? [Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast]

ExtinctionNot too long ago, you couldn’t avoid reading in the media about how the independent doctors  were becoming extinct.

Pundits and experts in the field stressed that if independent doctors, those that own their own practice, didn’t join, sell, merge or retire all together, they were going to walk the same path as travel agents, video stores and mom-and-pop own book stores.

I’ve subscribed to a different thought.

I’m crazy enough to believe that there will always be a place for the small independent practice.

Sure, practices will have to adjust, figure out new ways to meet the demands (just like any other business) of a changing healthcare landscape.

But I’ve argued that even though travel agents aren’t around anymore, airlines, hotels and car rental companies are. Even though video stores are a thing of the past, Hollywood hasn’t stopped making movies. If anything, we have access to more video content than ever before.

But it has been a hard sell (not that I’m really selling anything) to convince people that the end of the world for private practices is not a certainty for all.

Recently, I’ve received great news from the consultant fronts. In conversations with Susanne Madden from the Verden Group, Mary Pat Whaley from Managemypractice.com and the Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast’s very own, Chip Hart with PCC, it seems that the independent private practice pediatrician is on the rise.

They all have shared with me that in recent months, their offices have field numerous inquiries from pediatricians looking to breakaway from the, let’s say, industrialized, corporate, factory style medicine, and start their own practice so they can practice medicine on their own terms.

Chip and I couldn’t wait much longer to talk about this topic because it is an area we are both very interested in. So for this week’s episode, we dedicate almost a full hour on the topic of being an independent physician.

We talk about what it means to be independent, the different kinds of independency (yes, there are several kinds), what are some of the trends out there and what to look for when exploring other options for your practice.

Here are other ways you can check out the AwesomeCast:

#17 What Every Medical Practice Needs to Know about Web Design [Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast]

For today’s Pediatric Awesome-Cast Chip and I sit down with Alan Houser of Squareflair. Alan is a web designer. He and I worked together on Salud Pediatrics’ website.

I really enjoyed working with Alan. I’ve also enjoyed talking with him. We’ve had some interesting conversations ranging from web design (of course), to managing a small business, to how our wive’s use the iPad.

So I thought, why don’t we bring Alan on the AwesomeCast so we could talk about web design, some of the pitfalls people run into when designing their web sites and what are the things we could all do to make better websites that not only look pretty, but are also functional for our parents.

So we did.

We always like to make our AwesomeCast available in multiple formats so you can consume however you’d like:

 

Don’t forget to visit the PPMMC Google+ page, and PCC.

Hiring Stars: 8 Steps to Help You Through the Process

Interview

Not long ago, I was asked if I could provide some insight into hiring competent staff. I told the person that we were embarking on a similar journey to find top notch employees and the best that I could do, was share the steps that we’ve taken so far. Below is what I shared with the gentlemen that asked the question:

Define Improvements

Jot down, on a piece of paper, areas in your practice you need improvements. Don’t just say, I need administrative oversight, but rather, dig deeper in your assessment. For example, one area in my practice that needs improvement  is with follow-through. We have good ideas, but don’t have staff that picks up the vision, makes it their own, and sees it though.

Ponder… what is it that your practice needs exactly (ie. improve marketing, start an asthma clinic, improve budgeting, implement clinical work-flows, increase the number of patients, pay the bills on time, etc.).

In our practice, one of the things that didn’t meet our expectations, was the handling of chronically ill patients. Thus by determining areas of improvement, we decided we wanted someone that could help us manage chronic patients. For this role, we needed an experienced RN (or an exceptional MA, although that is less likely, but still an option if somebody were to show up) to take charge of a project like this.

Define Candidate

Next, sit down with a pen and paper and jot down what would your perfect candidate look like. That is, what skills should the person have, character, work ethic and of course experience.

I particularly put a lot of emphasis on the character and work ethic description. Some people have the gift of leadership, others have the gift of administration while others are very good soldiers (the kind that follow orders very well, but don’t always have initiative).

In our chronic care management position, we knew that any nurse would not fit the bill. So we wrote down what were the character traits the person needed to fill this position like a glove.

Remember, you may not get it all in one person, but that is why this exercise is of value. Because by jotting all “wants” you start to get a better picture of the person you are looking for.

Create a Job Description

Then, you are ready to create a job description that goes beyond the regular blah, blah, blah of the common job description.

For example, for our chronic care coordinator position, we wanted somebody that had implemented something similar on their own, from scratch and little direction or oversight. Why? Because we never have had a position like this before, so we don’t know exactly what needs to be done. At that point, we only had the vision for the position.

Therefore the person not only had to be experienced in chronic care coordination, but also demonstrate the ability to implement processes and find answers to questions that we may not have, go the extra mile as well as embrace the position with the understanding that we wanted somebody to implement a vision

Our job description was worded to address that the person needed to have certain qualities.

Interview Process (Cross interview)

After advertising the job description, you’ll begin the interview process. In this process, I interview the candidate first. If I think they are good enough, I have them interview with 2 or 3 of my top staff members. It doesn’t matter if not all the interviewers  work in the discipline the candidate works in. I’ll have a clinical RN interview a front desk position or vice-versa. The point of the exercise is for you to have a complete understanding of the candidate. An office manager may pick up different things from the interview than the MA will, for example.

By the way, I also wanted to share that doing the cross-interview process has also shed light on my employees’ ability to identify the better candidates. Some of them have surprised me with their knack to read candidates’ verbal and physical cues.

Meet with Providers

Then, I have the candidate interview with my providers. These are short interviews (20 minutes). If you have a lot of providers, this may not want to have them interview with all of them.

But having the candidate meet the provider and the provider meet the candidate is, I believe, an important part of the process. One additional piece that helps complete the puzzle.

Interview Questions

The interview process is more about finding character traits than anything else. Of course experience is important, but we want know what the person is made of. Not how well they can talk up their resume.

Thus, the questions we ask the candidate are two-fold. One, does the candidate have the skills for the job that we outlined. And second, does the candidate have the character traits we want.

Here are 100 potential questions to help you get started:

http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/interview-questions/100-potential-interview-questions/article.aspx

Personality Test

After the interview process is complete, and we are in agreement the candidate is a strong candidate, we have the candidate perform a personality assessment test. This helps us identify personal characteristics that would otherwise be hidden in an interview settings.

We use a personality assesment test called DiSC. You can find it by going here: http://www.yourlifespath.com/

It is helpful if your entire staff has done the personality test because then you are able to identify where the candidate fits in. It also provides context. When I receive a candidates results, I see their placement and compare it to the rest of the employee’s results giving me a different kind of glimpse into the candidate’s personality.

Shadowing

Lastly, we have the candidate spend an entire day with the staff shadowing them. Naturally, if you are hiring an admin or manager, you are not going to have them sit with the triage nurse, but it would be beneficial for the candidate to sit with the front desk staff to see how they work, handle phone calls and treat patients among other things.

This phase also has several intentions. I’m looking for the type of questions the candiate is asking, how they are interacting with the staff and their demeanor (bored, interested, etc). This also gives an opportunity for the candidate to see the working conditions. It is one thing to say you like kids and it is an entirely different thing to work in a place where there are crying kids, temper tantrums, angry and frustrated parents all over.

Time

This process takes a long time. And although you may have an urge to skip some steps because of the pressing need to fill the vacancy, I would encourage you to exercise extreme patience. I have to remind myself of this too. Especially when we are short staffed.

However, When we’ve rushed to place a warm body without doing the due diligence, we have regretted it almost every time.

The long process also test the patience of the candidate. Which can be very reveling as well.

Lastly, I’ll share that all my research in this regard has pointed me towards creating a comprehensive interviewing process that helps us identify who is truly the best candidate for the position. If you look at something like navy seal training, or anything that is high stakes, you’ll notice that they too have an arduous process. And the best companies are not exception to this.

Good luck

What is your hiring process like? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned over the years ? Does your hiring process rock solid or does it need improvements. Explain it what what ways.