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Posts for: May, 2012

Apparently, a foot massage is a very “touchy” subject so I thought I’d throw it out there for discussion and get your thoughts on the topic.  I recently posted on Facebook about my dental appointment where they offered a paraffin treatment for my hands and… a foot massage while they cleaned my teeth! As a patient, I was blown away by their customer service and quite frankly, it did just what good marketing is supposed to do. I told 10 people who told 10 people...etc. My post was quickly challenged by one of my DPM readers, “we shouldn’t lower ourselves to providing foot massages. It sends a negative message to the public that the podiatrist is no different than the pedicurist. Things like this are why our profession is “oppressed”; constantly fighting for status.” 

I’ve worked in and with MANY successful practices and never thought our profession was oppressed. In my thirty-some years of giving foot massages to very appreciative patients, there was never one who came to our office because they confused us with the pedicurist.  We were very secure in the fact that we had a highly successful, busy practice because of the medical and surgical podiatric services we provided. We used this time to treat AND educate our patients, simply because awareness leads to better outcomes. This is critical in growing and influencing the type of practice you want. We also understood that educating patients helps build the reputation of our practices, the DPM, and the role of podiatric medicine.

Giving foot massages is not the way some podiatrists want to go; I get it! Customer service can be achieved in many ways. When I get the oil changed, I’m offered the USA Today; I don’t mistake them for a news stand. Coffee shops include Wi-Fi; I’m aware they specialize in lattes, not internet technology.  Is podiatry’s identity challenged just because the staff offers a foot massage? Do we have to choose between providing quality medical/surgical care and/or quality customer service? My experiences tell me that both can be delivered simultaneously.  If defining our profession depends upon whether or not we choose a foot massage as an added customer service, then we are in trouble.  It makes our patients happy and the smiles on their faces mean we've not only touched their soles....but also their souls. In the end, isn't that what patient care is all about? My view is there’s nothing bad about feeling good during an office visit. Just my opinion. Your thoughts? 

By lynn
May 14, 2012
Category: Staff Management
Tags: training   tasks   delegation  

Start by asking yourself...What tasks can I delegate? Not everything can (or should) be delegated. Carefully select those jobs that can be quickly taught and which you are personally comfortable letting go of. Once staff has become more confident and can prove to you that they are able to handle lesser tasks, move on to bigger ones. Eventually, based on their level of proficiency, you'll want to delegate specific tasks that allow you both to generate revenue simultaneously, e.g. while you are giving an injection, they can be taking an orthotic foot impression or apply and instruct a patient in night splint wear. Proper delegation is more than just assigning work to someone else. It's not only letting go of a task; it's also transferring the decision-making responsibilities along with it. It's about empowering and trusting people..Delegation is NOT passing things on because you don't want to do them, they are too difficult or too boring! Are there concerns about delegating tasks in your practice? 

By lynn
May 14, 2012
Category: I think it's funny
Tags: stress   fun   job  

We deal with stress every day - some good some bad. Even in the most difficult of times, things get SO absurd that they are actually funny. I can think of a time when my SOS partner and I were under the gun to get copies made for a presentation we were giving. Naturally, it was last minute, so the pressure was on. It was late. We were tired and so we went to the nearest copy center to see about getting our handouts made. Luckily they had a new copy machine that collated many pages together and its purpose was to make things simpler for us. Well, we were getting the job done when all of a sudden, it started speeding up and before we could say Kinko....paper was flying all over the place. It was like a page out of I Love Lucy. We laughed so hard we cried. We got it together and got our copies made...but it's those kinds of things that help release endorphins and make you think...are things REALLY that bad? Have you ever found yourself in a situation that was so stressful....it made you laugh? 

By lynn
May 14, 2012
Tags: efficiency   staff   training   opportunities  

Is this a concept you've considered in this time of economic frailty? Is cutting staff your first knee-jerk answer to reducing your overhead? If you want to work SMART...that is, reduce doctor's time with patients, so that the practice can see more patients and increase practice revenue without compromising comprehensiveness....and do these without burning out or spending every waking hour at the office...consider an alternative option! Taking the time to train, develop and integrate your staff more effectively into your treatment protocols can result in improved efficiency and financial rewards. Increasing their role and utilizing them in the most productive way possible is a plus for everyone - the practice, the doctor, the patient and your staff. What are you waiting for? For training opportunities available to you...see our Staff Training and Office Productivity Workshop

By lynn
May 14, 2012
Tags: training   protocol   emergency   safety  

If there's never been a time in your office where you've had to deal with a medical emergency, you are lucky. But what if that changes tomorrow? Will you be prepared? Whether you face a case of syncope, a Diabetic insulin reaction, anaphylaxis, seizures or cardiac arrest, your team should develop an emergency plan describing how to handle each situation. Here are some basic drills:

  1. List and have handy some important phone numbers so all personnel can get them quickly
  2. In the event of an emergency, each staff person should be assigned specific duties. No one should have to ask, "what should I do?"
  3. All emergency supplies should be kept in the same area. This is so no lost time occurs during a crisis.
  4. Certify yourself in CPR. All office staff should work towards certification and this should be encouraged and supported by the doctor.
  5. Frequent drill enactments of all types of medical office emergencies should be practiced. 

Have you ever had to deal with a medical emergency in your practice? Share what happened, how it was handled and what was the outcome of your teams actions. What kind of emergency protocol do you have put in place?