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6 Ways to Build a Practice Culture that Maximizes the Patient Experience

Employees on the front lines with clients are your greatest asset. Treat them well.

Medical practices can’t afford to have a bad culture. Negativity, lack of engagement, and dissatisfaction at work can permeate throughout the workplace. When toxicity then spills over into interactions with prospective and current patients, that can hurt your business.

A lot of the OptiCall blog posts and webinars focus on maximizing every patient experience. But by far, one the of the most powerful ways to deliver the best care for your patients is by taking care of your staff. After all, every patient goes through them to get to you. With that in mind, here are ways making employees a priority can ultimately create a patient-centric culture:


1. Management Sets the Bar

People leave bosses, not companies. Gallup reports the #1 reason employees leave a job is because of a poor relationship with their manager or supervisor. Your practice morale lies in the hands of the leaders and managers who run it. Those in higher positions not only serve as the example of how to interact with patients, but also employees — setting the standard for acceptable behaviors and values. This in turn, lays the foundation of the office culture.

As such, if you find your employee morale or performance is dwindling, look first at your management team.


2. Recognize Success

A survey showed 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers not only improved their relationship, but also built trust with their higher-ups. Simple recognition, gratitude and appreciation can go a long way, and it costs nothing. Communicating positive feedback does not have to be left for a formal review. Making recognition part of your regular office communication is key.

Peer recognition can also be a powerful way to boost morale. In fact, 41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen positive increases in customer satisfaction. OptiCall employees created a Kudos system that allows staff to recognize each other throughout the month with the added bonus of regular raffle prizes for recipients.

This has been highly-effective in not only making employees feel recognized, it has given the staff as a whole flexibility in creating morale-building programs within the company that matter to them. Rather than having management push programs, it allows our employees to help create their own culture.


3. Align Towards Common Goals

One of the best ways to get everyone on board with growing the practice, is by setting goals and aligning everyone accordingly. For example, if the practice wants to boost its reputation, set a goal for reaching a certain amount of positive reviews on Facebook or Yelp. Communicate everyone’s role and responsibility in helping to gain more positive reviews – from the front office staff, to assistants, to even billing. Reward staff with something that is meaningful to them such as time off, an office party, or gift cards. Aligning team goals with incentives encourages team work, accountability and ownership that results in boosted morale and practice success.


4. Provide Feedback

Recognition goes well with frequent, constructive feedback. Good employees of course want to hear positive feedback, but they also want to know of areas they can improve. Take the time to point out development areas. An example:

“Ashley, you’ve become such an expert on our practice and are doing a great job handling calls. I think it would be great for you to get some training on some of our newer procedures so you’re prepared to answer more technical questions from prospective patients. This will also be good training for when you’d like to be promoted to a higher position.”

Something that simple included recognition and pointed out areas where Ashley may need to develop further and support with training that will help her get there. She also has an incentive to improve with an opportunity to eventually get promoted.


5. Find the Greater Purpose

Day to day office tasks can become mundane and can take a toll on your staff. While some people are ok with having “just a job”, the most engaged employees find greater meaning in what they do. They feel they are contributing to something meaningful, which makes them happier and motivates them to go above and beyond in their work.

Your medical practice can simply perform surgeries. OR it can provide people with procedures that drastically improve their quality of life. Which sounds better to you?

Practices can get so caught up in day-to-day management, they miss the opportunity to build a strong practice culture around a greater purpose that employees value being a part of. Connect people to something greater, and you’ll no doubt see them care about their work.


6. Be Competitive

The elective medical industry is pretty competitive when it comes to getting new patients. However, practices shouldn’t ignore competition for good employees. Your staff is your best asset when it comes to running your business, and if they are good at what they do, they may have other opportunities. In fact, earlier this year, the number of people who believe now is a good time to find a quality job surged to the highest level it has been in over 15 years.

Don’t be surprised if your employees have an eye on a better position or are approached with new opportunity. Turnover is never a good thing for a practice and can be costly for a practice to hire and train new people.

Pay them competitive salaries, ensure they know they are valued, and maximize their experience in working for you.

At the end of the day, these areas have been key in keeping OptiCall employees happy, which results in positive interactions with our clients and their patients.