How Training Helps Your Practice Adapt to Change

By Scott Zeitzer, President, P3 Practice Marketing
Twitter: @p3practicemktg

The way we approach healthcare is shifting, perhaps now more rapidly than ever before. Leadership and staff have to evolve along with the practice, or the practice as a whole may not adapt to change as smoothly.

Training can help your practice adapt more quickly to change as it happens. Training can help your leadership team all the way down to your front desk staff. This is a topic we have discussed at length on our Paradigm Shift of Healthcare podcast, and even featured it on Episode 23. Here are just a few situations where training can help your practice adapt more easily.

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1. Reputation Development & the Consumerization of Healthcare
Healthcare is becoming more and more like other consumer-focused businesses. Gone are the days when patients stuck with their providers no matter what. More patients have health insurance, which gives them more options on who they are able to see. The internet has also made it a lot easier for patients to see what options are out there. In the past, practices could get away with neglecting the patient experience, but that isn’t the case anymore. You could have the most technical knowledge of anyone in your area, but if patients feel you or your staff are difficult to deal with, it’s likely that they will move on to another practice.

Online review sites have only furthered the consumerization of healthcare. Now, it’s easy for patients to see what others think of your practice and compare it to competitors in your area. If patients don’t feel they are getting a good experience at your practice, your online reviews are sure to reflect that.

This is certainly a big shift from how practices used to operate, but training can help shift the mindset of your staff. Now, it’s important to focus on patient experience and customer service-like measures in training as much as it is to focus on clinical knowledge. Your staff could have all of the technical knowledge necessary to help your patients, but if they do not provide a friendly, welcoming experience, patients may move on to another practice that can provide both.

2. Building Stronger Leadership Teams
Now more than ever, practices need strong leadership to adapt to all of the changes that are occurring in healthcare. COVID-19 has forced a lot of changes upon practices rather rapidly, and it is safe to assume that there are many more changes to come as a result of this pandemic. Leadership training can help you take on that role as head of the practice so that you can provide the support and guidance your staff needs.

We’ve previously discussed the benefits of healthcare coaching on this blog, and have had Darelyn “DJ” Mitsch of the Healthcare Coaching Institute as a guest on our podcast. DJ and her company focus on helping physicians develop leadership skills to reach career goals and develop problem-solving skills. As changes occur in healthcare, the leadership mindset will help you guide your practice to the right solution and motivate your team for success.

An effective leader is critical at a time when things are so uncertain. Practices without strong leadership will likely not fare as well when adapting quickly is necessary for the business to survive. If you do not feel your leadership currently has the tools and skills needed to effectively lead, leadership coaching can help.

3. Finding the Balance Between Business Need & Patient Care
Another great example of training is coaching for your office managers. Often, your office managers are tasked with helping the practice run smoothly as a business, but they also manage many of the public-facing aspects of the practice, like patient satisfaction. Balancing the two can often be a challenge, especially if your office manager has stronger skills in only one of those areas.

In Episode 24 of the podcast, we interviewed Cheryl Toth of Medical Office Learning Lab. Cheryl explained how the right training can teach your office manager the skills needed to lead your staff and set the right tone and expectations at your practice. Office managers often have to wear a lot of different hats, and it can be difficult to prioritize all of their responsibilities. The right training can ensure that your business stays on track, and that your patients also have a great experience at your office. This also goes hand-in-hand with the online reviews we mentioned earlier–often, you’ll find that negative reviews mention bad experiences with your office staff. Training can help to squash those behaviors and have your office manager step into a leadership role with the rest of your staff.

Keeping your staff engaged is just as important as keeping your patients engaged. In Episode 28, Britt Berrett, author of the New York Times bestselling book Patients Come Second, explained how the right training gives your staff the support they need to adapt to change. Office managers and physicians can’t handle it all themselves; they have to be able to delegate. However, you also have to make sure that your staff has the training and support needed to own those processes.

Healthcare has changed a lot over the years, and change is happening even more rapidly with the pandemic. It’s fair to assume that more change is coming. Practices that haven’t been forward-thinking are having a harder time adapting to change, and may have a harder time keeping their door open in the future. It’s important to invest in training now to support your practice and staff so that you can continue to help your patients in the future.

This article was originally published on P3 Practice Marketing and is republished here with permission.