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Emphasizing The Critical Role Of Staff Communication In A Thriving Practice

Surrounding yourself with the right team is essential to running a successful practice. One of the most important factors is constant communication with your team, whether it is one-on-one meetings or meeting with the group as a whole.

I started my business 16 years ago with one employee. I hit the pavement hard to grow my practice. I went door to door, business to business, chamber lunch to chamber lunch to brand myself and get my name out. Every morning, I would talk with my one employee. She would handle the front office and I would handle the back office. We always communicated throughout the day. Back then, I was part of every decision. There was nothing I did not know how to handle and no situation I was not privy to.

That one employee quickly grew to two employees, then three and so on. Now I simply do not have the time to be in constant communication but through appropriate training and discussion, my team knows how to operate. To me, in order to run a successful practice, there is nothing more important than communication and meetings with your staff.

Throughout the week, we have regular meetings in the morning. We start our day with a small office roundup, communicating about the day’s list of patients to discuss room placement, supplies needed, consent forms and any other additional required information. This is imperative to a smoothly functioning day. 

For example, take the patient who comes in for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) follow-up. If the results are not ready, the patient sits in the room expecting the doctor to review the results. After entering the room to evaluate the patient, the doctor ealizes the MRI images are not on the board and there is no report from the radiologist. The doctor must leave the room and request the appropriate information for the consultation. This scenario can set you back 15 to 20 minutes, show office inefficiency to the patient and poor preparation. If these issues occur with multiple patients throughout the day, you run behind schedule and patients are very upset waiting. 

At the end of the day, I meet with my medical assistant as well as my front desk coordinator to do a recap of the day. Were any messages left unattended? Were there any complaints or issues during the day? Were there any loose ends to tie up?

On a weekly basis, I meet with my office manager to discuss the goals of the week as well as employee benefits and employee improvement. We briefly discuss the implementation of any new strategies or policies, office expansion or evaluation of business opportunities.

Although daily and weekly roundups are key to smooth operations, the most important is our monthly meeting. After a hearty breakfast with the staff, we discuss patient correspondence, attention to detail, implementation of new policies and procedures, and highlights of employee performance. We also discuss patient complaints and employee feedback for practice improvement as well as what everybody can do to improve upon their quality of work and the patient experience.

Indeed, maintaining open communication with your staff and team is paramount to facilitating success in patient care.

Dr. Jodi Schoenhaus is a Diplomate of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. She is in private practice in Boca Raton and Boynton Beach, Fla. One can follow Dr. Schoenhaus online at @bocafootandveindoc and

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