By: Susan Hoy
Eight-thirty and another day at the office begins. As you open the door to your clinic and enter through your reception area, you look around with pride at the appearance of a professional, organized Chiropractic office. You wonder what the patients think as they enter.
“Good morning,” comes the greeting from Sandy, your front desk CA, who is already at work taking messages, pulling files and travel cards, and getting ready for a busy day. Your therapy assistant, Susie, is also hard at work turning the equipment on and making sure the adjustment rooms are ready for you and the patients, and Jenny is making early morning calls to insurance companies.
As you enter your inner office, your desk is clean and neat, except for today’s schedule that has been placed there, so you can be ready for your patients and plan for any special treatment. After reading through the schedule, you notice that you still have a few minutes before patients arrive. You reach into your tickler file and look through the reports that need to be completed before the end of the day. May as well get one out of the way now.
A few minutes later Sandy alerts you that the morning huddle is about to begin. You pick up your schedule and head out to begin your day. “Sandy, I noticed that Sue Adams is scheduled for 11:00. I want to spend a little more time with her today. Can you call her and ask if she can come at 2:30?” “Sure, Doc,” Sandy returns. “Looks like our first two hours are going to be very busy, so I promise to stay focused if you do!”
You know that once patients begin arriving, you will not have a chance to communicate with your team until the lunch break. Thanks to your patient communication slip, everything will be checked off, and no one will interrupt you unless there is an emergency.
“OK everyone,” you announce, “this is when you get to boss me around. I’m going into my focus mode, so tell me where to be and I’m there! Let’s have a great day, and remember that our patients have entrusted us with their most valuable possession: their health! Let’s not abuse the privilege.”
At this point, your team takes over. They are acutely aware that their job is to keep you focused on adjusting. They will handle the rest. It has taken a lot of work, but each member of your team knows their individual responsibility. You no longer have to worry about what’s going on outside your adjusting area. At this point the game begins and everyone knows their position. You let them do their job, and you do yours. They have earned your trust.
Today one of your patients, Sara, wants to discuss financial issues. “Sara, I want you to discuss this with Jenny at the front office. My job is to take care of your health; Jenny will help you with your financial situation.” And you are confident Sara will be taken care of professionally and properly, because you have empowered your team and trained them to handle patient problems.
Lunchtime, and before you leave you huddle with your team again. “How did we do, Sandy?” “Most of the morning went well, Doc. We got a little behind around 10:30 because you had to spend a little more time with Tom Hanson. But you stayed focused and we caught up by 11:00. Thank you for keeping the chatter down. We really needed that today!”
“Well, all of you stayed right with me,” you reply. “Thank you! I’m not sure our new patient procedures are exactly right, though. The new patient waited a little too long in the exam room. On Wednesday during the staff meeting, let’s see if we can iron out the bugs. Now, let’s take a break. See you at 2:30.”
Your afternoon begins the same as the morning—with a short huddle. You have learned the hard way to be proactive about the schedule; not reactive. Why not solve problems before they happen! Sandy knows how to schedule efficiently, so there are preplanned gaps for new patients or even time to get a report written if possible. If the afternoon schedule is light, you can get your paperwork completed or work on your patient notes. You know that your staff can’t complete their jobs until you complete yours. They certainly let you know that loud and clear at the last staff meeting. But they were right, and you worked out a system together.
Your day ends with a flourish. As you finish up with patients, Sandy and Jenny are busy finishing the day end routines. Sandy hands you the daily statistic sheet and a list of the patients you need to call. She also informs you that the monthly goal is right on target. Susie is filing X-rays and Jenny wants a few minutes of your time to discuss some insurance issues.
Finally, everyone is ready to leave, but not before you have time to gather again at the front desk. “I had a great day! Diane Smith is much improved, and George Daniels’ headaches are totally gone.”
“Doc,” Sandy adds, “Jerry Hastings was telling me how much he appreciates what we’ve done for him, and Betsy brought us flowers again.” “And Tony Reynolds’ insurance company paid his bill,” Jenny chimes in.
“What about you, Susie?” “Well, I set a goal this month to ask two patients for referrals every day, and I think it’s working. Mary Donald referred her sister!”
“Great job everybody, see you all tomorrow.”
Is this scenario a dream or a reality in your office? If it is not a reality, my question to you is, why not? Would you like it to be? Do you think it’s unrealistic? Trust me…it’s not!
On a daily basis I hear complaints from Chiropractors that their team is not performing well. At seminars, I hear from CAs that their Chiropractors do not train them or communicate with them, or ever say “thank you!” Remember, the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your patients.
On a Dream Team everyone knows their job and does it. Everyone works together and helps each other. There is open communication to help eliminate frustration. Chiropractors show up on time and get their reports done. At times the Chiropractor works for the team and at times the team works for the Chiropractor. The team is acutely aware that it is the Chiropractor that makes the money and the rest of the team helps him or her stay productive.
If you want a Dream Team you have to be willing to work for it, and it is always a work-in-progress. But it will be incredibly rewarding. So why not make a decision right now to transform your staff into a Dream Team? “Some practices dream of success…others wake up and work for it.”
About the Author
Susan Hoy has been the office manager in a thriving Chiropractic practice since 1989. She speaks to Chiropractic assistants throughout the country. Her seminars are both uplifting and motivational. Susan specializes in creating a power team that makes a difference in practice growth and patient care.
The recipient of several awards, Susan has had her practice management articles published in several Chiropractic magazines and has received awards for her writing. Presently, she is a columnist for Success Express (“CA Viewpoint”) and Chiropractic Economics (“Susan Hoy’s Team Tips”)
Susan is the author of The Chiropractic Team Training and Practice Management Manual for Chiropractic offices and produces a team training newsletter called “TEAM WORK” specifically for the Chiropractic staff. “TEAM WORK” is a monthly insert to the Team Training Manual and is distributed to Chiropractic offices throughout the United States and Canada. This newsletter shares ideas on practice management, marketing professionally, and enhancing patient care and follow through. If you are interested in receiving this newsletter and book, log on to her website: www.beefitup.net.