Have You Adequately Prepared Your Staff For Your Practice’s Success?
Good help is hard to find; right? It’s difficult to find people that will make decisions during their day that are best not for themselves, but for the business that you have worked so hard to build. But do they even have the information that they need in order to make the right decisions? When it comes to the non-medical staff in your office, can they really see the difference in the types of patients that are coming through your door – not the differences in how they behave, how often they are missing appointments, what kinds of things they are doing to help themselves – but the kind of differences in their value to your office, in the reasons behind why that they might behave differently?
These are not things that you can expect your staff to know, nor are they things that they will learn just by experience in your front office. They are tools that must be supplied, trained, engrained, and reminded of constantly – because many of them go against our natural inclination to make our lives easier or to separate the patients that come into your office into an “us vs. them” war. Below are a few things that we have found non-medical office staff are often doing as a result of inadequate preparation:
Being unaware of the value of one patient over another:
In a perfect world, every patient that comes into your office has the exact same value and everyone can be helped in the exact same way. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes we have to make decisions that benefit one patient over another. When these decisions come about, it’s important to remember that the decision should be based on what is best for the practice, rather than what is best for the person we like better.
In this hierarchy, Personal Injury patients should always remain at the top of your list, right? Does your team know that? Are they turning away PI patients after they no-show for an appointment, when they are double booked with a Wellness patient, because they don’t understand their auto insurance, or for any other reason at all? I am sure you have seen your team bend over backward for a patient before, but I bet it wasn’t for a personal injury patient.
Being unaware of the demographic and/or common behavior of one patient over the other:
Keeping in mind that your Personal Injury patients have the most value, you must also take into account the reasoning behind why they are often more difficult than your Wellness Patients so that you can make the conscious decision to put them first.
Your PI patients have probably never been to a Chiropractor before. They don’t know the proper procedure when it comes to getting care at your office. They have been trained to think that a pill is all they need to feel better, and they don’t understand why they are not getting treatment at their first visit. They are in an unfamiliar place and are likely nervous or agitated by it.
Your PI patients cannot afford the treatment you are suggesting out of pocket. The most common demographic for PI patients are in a lower socioeconomic standing than your wellness patients are. They are scared that their auto insurance, something they have no idea about, is going to deny payment on the care you want them to begin, and then they are going to be stuck with a bill for thousands of dollars that they simply cannot afford. They are going to have questions your team thinks are unnecessary, they are going to take up more time than a wellness patient will, they will be unhappy with vague responses, and will likely be more combative than your standard patient about what care is actually necessary.
Your PI patients are in pain. Your wellness patients are probably in pain too, but their pain is not usually amplified by all of the other unknowns that your PI patient is also being bombarded with. Remember that stress amplifies pain, and there is so much to be stressed about after an auto accident. These patients are not always going to be pleasant to interact with.
Your PI patients might have just lost their only form of reliable transportation. Most of the patients that you are going to see for auto accident injuries do not have more than a single vehicle, and you are asking them to get to your office multiple times per week on top of not having a way to get to work, to get the kids to school or daycare, to get groceries and run errands…they are not going to be easy to schedule. They are probably going to miss appointments or show up late or need to reschedule often.
The simple truth of it is that Personal Injury patients are hard work. They are hard work for you and they are even harder work for your team. The natural inclination of most people is to try to get rid of any and all sources for this extra hard work – even to the detriment of their employer. But if you prepare your team for this ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of lost dollars and help the people who need it most in the process. Or, you can let your team make that decision for you and send all of the Personal Injury patients that walk through your door directly to your competition.
Remember, the best apples are not the ones that have already fallen off of the tree, even though they are the easiest to get. The best ones are those that require the most effort to obtain.