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COMPLIANCE

What does the Americans with Disabilities Act require of your medical office?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires medical offices to make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices, and procedures to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would create an undue burden or fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided. This includes ensuring that the facility is physically accessible to individuals with disabilities, as well as providing appropriate communication accommodations and assistive technology. Specifically, medical offices must take the following steps to comply with the ADA: Physical accessibility: Medical offices must ensure that their facilities are physically accessible to individuals with disabilities. This includes installing ramps or chair lifts for individuals who use wheelchairs or mobility devices, providing designated parking spaces for individuals with disabilities, and ensuring that doorways and hallways are wide enough for individuals… . . . read more.

INCREASING PROFITS

Track these 5 metrics for practice profitability

By Mike Rigert “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … , ” wrote author Charles Dickens in his classic novel, “A Tale of Two Cities.” While it’s certainly not the worst of times for most healthcare practices (that honor likely went to 2020-2021), things could always be better, right? You’re likely still dealing with the impacts of rampant inflation and ongoing short staffing, among other things. Despite these setbacks, there’s clear opportunities to move your practice forward to improve both production and productivity to help you reach your financial goals. It all goes back to numbers—the key performance indicators (KPIs) that determine whether your practice sinks or swims. Some metrics are more important and vital to the success of your practice than others. We’ve outlined five… . . . read more.

TOOL

Sample policy on domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is a serious issue that affects individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It can take many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and psychological abuse. Medical offices have a unique role in addressing and preventing domestic abuse, as patients may disclose abuse during a medical appointment or seek medical attention as a result of abuse. If a patient discloses domestic abuse to a medical professional, it is important for the medical office to have a clear policy in place for how to respond. This policy should prioritize the safety and well-being of the patient and provide them with the necessary support and resources. There are several steps that medical offices can take to address and prevent domestic abuse: Provide a safe and welcoming environment: Medical offices should… . . . read more.

YOUR CAREER

Do you just open your mouth and let the words fly?

By Lynne Curry When you’re upset with another person, do you open your mouth and let your emotions erupt and words fly? If you want to resolve an interpersonal conflict, you can’t afford to blast the other person. While you may feel vindicated, you risk the other person attacking back, getting defensive or shutting down If you want things to become better and not worse between you and the other person, learn to tackle yourself first, open the conversational door to the other person, remain results-focused, word your thoughts so they can be heard, and admit your part in the problem. Tackle yourself before you slam the other person When you’re upset, adrenaline can hit you like a wave. Don’t let it swamp you and torpedo your chances of attaining… . . . read more.

COMMUNICATION

Interpreters improve patient care

Do you have interpreters on staff or on call for your medical practice? Interpreters are essential for medical care when language is a barrier. Consider the results of a study reported in this article from Boston Children’s Hospital:  By Veronica Giarla Sharing medical concerns with clinicians can be hard for anyone—a challenge that’s amplified in patients when English isn’t their first language. The results are troubling: One recent study by Boston Children’s pediatric hospitalist and researcher Alisa Khan, MD, MPH, found that patients and families who have limited English proficiency are three to five times less likely to speak up and ask questions of their care team. “There are many ways patients who don’t speak English experience health care differently from those who do,” she says. It’s a challenge that Esterlina… . . . read more.

PATIENT EXPERIENCE

14 good ways to cut your appointment wait times

Long patient wait times cause frustration for patients, stress for reception desk staff, loss of confidence in the practice—and, ultimately, loss of revenue. Here are 14 things you can do to reduce patient wait times, courtesy of Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, a team of specialists who partner with healthcare clients to profitably deliver results through data-driven marketing. 1. Offer digital check-in services that allow patients to submit medical forms before their appointment. 2. Offer hassle-free online appointment scheduling and rescheduling. 3. Integrate virtual care services like telehealth/telemedicine. 4. Stay on schedule by leveraging physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) for routine or non-urgent visits. 5. Develop better new patient lead workflows to improve efficiencies and productivity. 6. Conduct patient surveys. 7. Send patient appointment reminders to lower your risk of no-shows (which… . . . read more.

MARKETING

Take the sting out of bad reviews from patients

It is important to address every online review—good or bad—publicly so that others reading the review will know you are responsive to patient communication and concerns. Here are some simple steps to addressing a bad review, potentially resolving the patient’s complaint and showing possible future patients how you deal with patient concerns. Keep your cool As much as we want to think that we do the best we can for every patient, we do make mistakes, said Mary Pat Whaley, founder and president of Manage My Practice. “I spoke with a patient recently and told her the practice had failed to send her prescription in and she was dumbfounded,” she said. The patient was surprised and pleased the practice owned up to the error. Read it again “First blush reads… . . . read more.

MANAGING PATIENTS

Make your patients happier with these communication tips

By Mike Rigert Even though modern patients appreciate the ease and convenience of digital communication with your practice through automated text reminders and real-time communication, we can’t lose sight of the importance that personal interaction has in keeping those relationships strong. A HealthGrades study showed that patients’ communication with front office staff are primary factors in online reviews—both positive and negative. The research found that of nearly 7 million patient reviews, the most frequently used phrases in negative comments were related to front office staff interaction. In the busy and chaotic environment your front office staff operate in, it’s easy to forget that patients still expect human connections and quality customer service during a visit. This includes everything from how to greet a patient to individual personal connections that lets each and… . . . read more.

TECHNOLOGY

3 tips for better patient education

The link between patient education and outcomes is clear: When patients understand their diagnosis and treatment plan, they’re more likely to become and remain healthy. In fact, health literacy—the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions—should be a top priority for medical practices seeking to move the needle on value-based care. This social determinant of health is a critical component of value-based care, and addressing it ultimately helps patients take better control over their own health. Why patient education is important Patient education is critical for many reasons, most importantly because it helps patients make informed decisions. This is one of the tenets of patient-centered medical care—to engage patients in the decision-making process. When patients understand their diagnosis and… . . . read more.

WORKING WITH PATIENTS

How to fix failing patient engagement initiatives

Patient engagement initiatives are a dime a dozen across healthcare organizations. From patient advisory groups and patient-centered portals to social media outlets and secure messaging, healthcare organizations understand that it’s important to get patients involved in their care. Studies prove that engaged patients result in better outcomes, lower costs, and a higher quality of life. But a survey indicates that while most healthcare organizations have patient engagement programs, nearly 50% felt they were only moderately or not at all mature. Perhaps many patient engagement programs fail because they neglect to connect with patients in a way that is meaningful to them. Sure, your practice is checking off the patient engagement boxes. But, are your patient engagement strategies actionable and relevant to the people you are dedicated to caring for? Traditional… . . . read more.


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