To err is human, to learn from the mistakes others have made is a priceless gift no smart doctor would refuse. Here are seven mistakes great doctors never make and how you can avoid making them too.
- Poor Communication Between Referral Sources
Up to 80% of patients come to a providers’ office by way of the referring community. In order to maintain a consistent stream of new patients, doctors must build new relationships and deepen existing relationships with referring providers. This can be challenging for most busy doctors.
Great doctors have discovered the impact that physician liaisons can make in the community on their behalf. Physician liaisons serve as the face and voice of the practice and have the important responsibility of building strong referral relationships by positioning the practice as experts worthy of their referrals.
- Poor Communication with Patients
Communication is vital to not only the relationship you have with patients, it is also necessary for their health. Studies indicate a strong positive relationship between a healthcare provider’s communication skills and the patient’s ability to follow through with the medical instructions given to them.
Great doctors realize they must engage patients during their visits. To achieve this they solicit feedback, ask open-ended questions and address any concerns voiced by the patient. In addition, patients should never be interrupted and distractions should be minimized while seeing patients.
- Poor Work Environment for Staff
Engaged employees are employees that are committed to the organization’s goals and values. They are motivated to do their very best and as such, deliver a high level of care to patients. Conversely, unhappy employees are often lackadaisical. Patients can pick up on these employees, which can directly affect the experience patients have while visiting your office. In addition, an unhappy employee can be a contagion in the workplace affecting others with negativity.
Great doctors create work environments that are built upon a solid communication foundation. They provide employees with well-structured feedback and ongoing training and support. They ensure their management team is committed and tuned in to the diverse needs of the team and provides management training so they can do their very best.
- Not Addressing Staff Issues
One of the fastest ways to doom a medical practice is to ignore staffing issues. Bad staff happens to the very best of doctors and must be addressed promptly. Even the best doctor in the world can have a hard time keeping patients when they have staff that treats them poorly.
Great doctors clearly communicate the goals and standards expected of their employees. They are in tune to the goings on within the practice and address any issues promptly.
- Not Surveying Patients
While patient surveys may be perceived by some as a waste of time, they are invaluable to the great doctor. The majority of negative reviews are about the management of the practice and NOT the doctor!
Great doctors want to know about the patient experience their patients have when visiting. They create simple patient surveys that take less than a minute for the patient to complete. They then compile the feedback gained from surveys and use it to make positive changes within the practice.
- Not Curating Content
In this day in age, if you are not sharing information about the services you offer, a competitor will. The abundance of misinformation available online is alarming. It is up to the healthcare provider to cut to the chase and provide accurate medical information that is relevant to their specialty and of interest to their patients.
Great doctors keep a pulse on hot healthcare topics as well as frequently asked questions of their patients. They then create blogs, videos and podcasts separating fact from fiction. They share this information on their website, social media pages as well as on content sharing such as Medium and Digg.
- Not Knowing Your Target Audience
Your target audience is the audience whom your products, procedures and services best serve. Not knowing your target audience can result in wasted marketing dollars, because quite frankly, no service can meet the needs of all the people. Plastic surgeons wouldn’t want to send facelift marketing messages to twenty somethings. That is why market definition is important.
Instead of marketing to everyone, great doctors define their target audience by segmenting their patients into groups such as age, gender, geographic location and interests. They then send targeted messages to these segmented groups on topics that are relevant to them. The result is a higher open rate, higher booking rate and less unsubscribes.