Saturday, February 20, 2010

Physician Business Ideas : Canaries in Your Office Coal Mine

In recent years, I have had frequent conservations with Neil Baum, MD, a New Orleans urologist. Neil is a pragmatic, no-nonsense person. He believes independent physicians can thrive by paying rapt attention to practice details.

These details include calling patients after surgery or procedures to see how they are doing, cultivating referral sources and alternative practitioners, techniques for identifying those patients likely to be malpractice risks, how to prepare for natural disasters like Katrina, and developing and applying office market strategies. He has written a book Marketing Your Clinical Practice, now it its third edition.

Yesterday he send me an article “ Have You Checked The Canary in Your Coal Mine?” He was sending it for submission into Physician Practice Options, of which I am editor-in-chief. The article comments on those little details that turn off and turn away patients. The big canary in his office coalmine is the restroom. If the restroom has towels or tissues on the floor, overflowing wastebaskets, of lacks sterile containers for collecting urine, he knows the canaries are crying for more oxygen.

He says you can seek out and find other canaries by asking these questions.

• Are staff members chewing gum?

• Are their uniforms neat and clean?

• Are all staff members wearing name tags?

• Are the computers turned on before placing patients in the exam rooms?

• Has the coffee been brewed for the doctor?

Doctor Baum concludes,

“Bottom line: Just like the blood pressure, pulse, and respiration are indicators of the overall health of your practice, so too are the small details of your staff’s preparation for your patient. So listen to the canaries. If they tweet, you are ready and prepared.

No comments: