New Year Resolutions for Bettering Your Practice

As 2016 rapidly comes to a close, many people are preparing their New Year resolutions. For the next month or so, gym memberships are going to be at an all time high as folks “turn over a new leaf in the New Year.”

Best of luck to all those who are partaking in this annual tradition, but what about medical practices that want to kickstart the New Year by bringing in new patients and increasing productivity? Well, for medical practices, there are a few key things you can do to make sure you have a more successful 2017.

Increasing Patient Engagement

One of the most important things for medical practices is getting patients to take an active role in their healthcare. Building a relationship with your patients is the best way to do that. Building such a relationship builds trust, and that trust leads to a much better level of patient care. This, of course, raises the question: How do we increase patient engagement?

Many physicians are finding that increasing patient interaction outside of the office is one of the best ways to get that all important engagement. Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and even Instagram and Snapchat, can provide medical practices with the opportunity to interact with their patients outside of an office environment.

These interactions are a key method of building a rapport with your patients, and can separate your practice from others that are less available and visible to potential patients.

Implement Anonymous Surveys to Identify Problem Areas

If your patients have a problem, in a lot of cases you won’t hear about it until it’s too late. Implementing a brief, anonymous survey can help you get ahead of problems that could otherwise drive patients away. Often, patients won’t open up about issues like this: they’ll simply find a new practice if they think there’s a problem with their care.

A quick, anonymous survey as part of an office visit can help provide you with solid information on the general impressions your patients have. If they think wait times are too long, or they aren’t receiving enough physician attention, you can use metrics gained from these surveys to make changes that can help you address issues before they cause you to lose patients.

Of course, you can also use these metrics to see if a patient’s complaints stem from a problem you have in the office, or if you just have a problem patient. Either way, it’s nice to know for sure.

Improve Your Online Presence

This goes hand in hand with increasing customer engagement. Improving your online presence makes you more visible and more accessible to your patients, but it also lends an air of professionalism to your practice. These days, the first interaction your practice is likely to have with a potential new patient is going to be your website. This makes a good search ranking and SEO incredibly important, as it ensures you will be a potential client’s first choice, instead of their 50th.

Of course, ensuring that your potential patients can find you is only half the battle. The other half is keeping your customers on your site long enough to decide to make an appointment. If you have an older, outdated site, or just a poorly optimized one that takes an age to load, chances are it doesn’t matter what your search ranking looks like. It’s important to update your site every few years, both for your search potential, and to make sure you’re keeping up with the times and maintaining a professional online presence.

There are also more tangible benefits to a modern website. With an updated web presence, you can schedule appointments and communicate with customers with ease. In some cases, depending on your practice, you can even set up remote video conference office visits.

Virtual visits and consultations can free up time to see more patients, and cuts down on overhead. Granted, not every office visit can be replaced with a video call, nor should it, but replacing the less critical visits with video consults can leave more time for more serious issues.

Changing Office Space With Boulevard

If your practice is feeling cramped, or maybe you feel like downsizing, changing your physical location can be a godsend. Then again, maybe you’re looking to open a second office, or a third, or a 10th. Whatever your reason, if you need to get into a new medical office space, Boulevard Medical Properties is here. We can help get you into a new space that meets your needs, and it will be the perfect way to step into the New Year.

5 Things to Do When Closing Over Christmas

Each medical office will observe Christmas differently based upon the patient demographic, the preferences of the practice owner, and the needs of the employees. As an office policy for mandatory holidays and days that will not be observed as holidays is created, a copy should be shared with all team members as they are hired. If special exclusions are needed due to religious holidays, then team members will need to manage this with the practice owners individually.

Holiday pay will vary depending on each category of employee (salaried, full-time hourly, part time hourly, and temporary). The office policy should clearly outline how each staff will be compensated if they work on a holiday.

It is also important to state what happens when observed holidays fall on a non-work day. These holidays can be observed by closing the office the day before or the day after the holiday. The holiday can also go without a day of observance — it depends on personal preference.

The office policy should also address how time off request will be remunerated, how many employees can be off at the same time, and if too many employees want the time off, how you will determine which time off requests are approved.

In summary, the 5 elements of such a policy for Christmas and other holidays should include:

  1. Mandatory and observed holidays based upon patient makeup, the preferences of the owner(s), and the composition of employees.
  2. A statement describing the rationale for holidays chosen, especially religious holidays. (It is not required to observe special days of every religion, but it is important to address the accommodation, if any, that can be made for a practitioner of a religion whose holidays the office does not observe.
  3. Holiday pay for each category of employee should be addressed. This should include how staff will be compensated if they work on a holiday (i.e. double time, triple time, and time off on another day are all options to consider).
  4. Observed holidays that fall on non-work days. These holidays can be observed by closing the office the day before or the day after the holiday. From some holidays, it may make sense to close the office at noon the day before.
  5. Additional time off around a holiday. Your policy should address how that time will be charged, how many employees can be off at the same time, and how you will determine which time off requests are approved if multiple employees want the time off.

Communicate Christmas Closures to Patients

Once the team and office policy on the holiday closure dates and process is outlined, it is very important to communicate what and when the holiday closures are to all patients.

Medical Practice Holiday Closure notices should be sent out at least a month in advance, and appointments should be confirmed and not scheduled on those dates. You can send them via email, posted mail, social media, and the practice website. Also consider signage in the practice reception area so that visiting patients can see it.

Schedule a Consultation

Considering the space and operations for your medical practice can be challenging, with multiple factors influencing your day-to-day operations and accessibility law requirements. Whether you are starting from scratch or in the early stages of planning your move, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.

Additional reading/resources:

What’s Needed When Moving Medical Properties

Every business – small or large – wants to operate in the most cost-effective manner, even during a relocation or move. It is an exciting prospect, however, the actual move can be very stressful. In fact, most people involved in the process of moving medical properties will experience high stress levels, sleepless nights, and blame if anything goes wrong. To minimize delays and errors, it is essential to understand the best practices.

5 Musts with Moving Medical Properties

Moving your medical practice to a different office location involves managing plenty of small tasks as part of the move. Here are a five key items you need to move to the top of your list.

1. Notify Payers

Notify your payers and third party vendors (Medicare, Medicaid, In Network Providers, etc.) of your new address and billing information. Notify each well in advance to prevent any loss of timely payments. Add your providers of services (payroll service, billing service, medical waste disposal, maintenance, etc.) to the list.

2. Tell Your Patients

You are required to inform patients where to find your new practice and their charts. The notification can take the form of a letter, newspaper announcement, or phone call. Placing a sign in your office 30 days in advance is also recommended so that you can keep your patients aware of your relocation. Some states also require one or more ways of notifying your patients. It is advised to research what your state guidelines for relocating your practice should be.

3. Market Your Move

After you have notified your patients, you want to make sure your new office move is going to attract new patients. If you are in primary care, for example, you may want to consider creating an announcement to your patients you have seen over the past couple years or list your new business in local newspapers and sites.

Be sure to also include a map of your new location and an explanation of why you are relocating. If you depend on referrals, target your referral base to increase patient volume at the new location. Offering your expertise to the local newspaper or media outlet as a guest contributor on a healthcare topic can also benefit your practice and move.

4. Credentialing

If you are moving to a new location, consider if you will need to be credentialed with a new hospital. If so, you need to determine who is going to help with the credentialing process.

5. Select Vendors Carefully

Professional movers experienced in moving a medical practice are required for moving a medical facility and transporting medical equipment. They should have technicians with expertise in disassembling sensitive equipment as needed, packing it, and safely moving without damage. After the move, the technicians should be able to test and re-commission equipment, making it ready for use in the new location.

In addition to expertise in relocating medical and lab equipment, your movers should be experts at moving exam tables, office furniture, filing systems, workstations, and IT equipment. They should also understand your need to minimize downtime to avoid loss of billable patient hours, and be willing to work with you in completing the break down, move, and setup of the project on schedule.

Vendors are essential to office relocation. Select vendors carefully. Office moves and relocation difficulties often occur when companies simply select vendors out of the whim. Thoroughly vet through service providers for a successful office relocation. Every onboarding vendor should be familiar with the best practices for an office move. Look for vendors that have been endorsed by a trusted third party.

Because your move represents a more complicated prospect than the average business move, use these tips to choose the right moving service:

  • Interview movers before you hire them. Ask about their methods, experience and skills
  • Look for medical moving experience. You need movers who know how to move fragile equipment such as an x-ray machine or IT equipment with sensitive information.
  • Ask for references. Try to get references from other physicians.

Schedule a Consultation

Moving medical properties can be a positive experience for you and your patients, provided you take the necessary steps to ensure all processes are executed smoothly. Whether you are starting from scratch or in the early stages of planning your move, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.

References/Further Reading

Medical Practice Lighting: The Best Options

Health and medical professionals strive, every day, to cure ailments and relieve patient symptoms. But success in these areas often depends on environmental elements within the medical practice. Improving medical practice lighting in both color and tone can ease patient anxiety and boost productivity and mood among medical personnel and patients.

How Light Impacts Human Health and Performance

Most medical practices, as well as other healthcare settings, are lit by a combination of natural lighting through windows and skylights, and electric-light sources. It is important to understand how these two types of light sources impact human health and performance. Here are four main mechanisms influenced by lighting:

1. Enables performance of visual tasks

The work environment for nurses and physicians in hospitals is stressful. They are required to perform a range of complex tasks — filling prescriptions, administering medication, and performing other critical patient-care tasks. Inadequate lighting and chaotic environment are likely to compound the burden of stress and lead to errors.

2. Controls the body’s circadian system

When light falls on the retina, it transmits to the hypothalamus controlling the body’s circadian rhythm. If the internal rhythms do not match the workday rhythms, healthcare workers or staff can feel drowsy, tired, and distracted. To help improve productivity and uplift moods in medical personnel and patients, increase the exposure to daylight — preferably through windows and natural lighting.

Exposure to daylight can assist in the following:

  • Reduces depression among patients with seasonal affective disorder and bipolar depression
  • Decreases length of stay in hospitals
  • Improves sleep and circadian rhythms
  • Lessens agitation among dementia patients, eases pain
  • Improves adjustment to night-shift work among staff

3. Affects mood and perception

Different lighting conditions affect people’s moods and behaviors at work. However, mood changes do not remain the same across different people with the same lighting conditions. Rather, an individual’s discomfort, preferences, expectations, and gender impact how mood changes.

Overall, daylight is preferred to artificial lighting and proximity to windows is preferred for several reasons: psychological comfort, office appearance and environment, general health, visual health, work performance, and jobs requiring fine observation. Greater sunlight also improves overall satisfaction.

4. Facilitates direct absorption for critical chemical reactions within the body

Light radiation is absorbed directly by the body through the skin and stimulates chemical reactions in the blood and other tissues. As a result, it helps support vitamin D metabolism and prevents jaundice.

Set the Tone and Environment with Lighting

The lighting mechanics and color palette can set the tone for a healthcare facility, whether it’s the product of renovation, interior design or a new-build project.

Types of Lighting Sources

  • Use energy-efficient natural light where good color rendering and bright, changing visual environments are desirable.
  • Incorporate natural light into lighting design wherever possible in healthcare settings.
  • Provide windows for access to natural daylight in patient rooms, along with provisions for controlling glare and temperature.
  • Orient patient rooms to maximize early-morning sun exposure.
  • Assess adequacy of lighting levels in staff work areas.
  • Provide high lighting levels for complex visual tasks.

Schedule a Consultation

When it comes to medical practice lighting and other patient and productivity-focused design choices, we can help. With a strong history in helping medical professionals secure and set up their medical practices, Boulevard Medical Properties can help you, too. Contact us today.

References and Further Reading