Patient and employee satisfaction hinge on a company's service culture.
In her MGMA presentation "The total service medical practice," Vicky Bradford, president of the Denver-based training and consulting group the Bradford Co., will discuss a medical practice model that identifies four key components of quality service: patients and other customers, practice personnel, systems and cycles, and promises and commitments. Her presentation, based on her 1997 book of the same title, will be given in two parts, the first set for 10: 45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, and the second for 3: 15 p.m. the same day.
Bradford will focus on the nonclinical side of a patient's experience.
To serve patients, physicians must identify the factors that are important to their customers and then identify how or even if the practice is meeting those needs. Bradford will discuss criteria that are important to patients, including wait time and the procedure for scheduling appointments. Conducting patient surveys and focus groups will help physicians analyze their standing in these areas.
"If a practice is going to provide quality service to people outside the practice, (it has) to work together effectively inside the office," she says.
Bradford offers many suggestions for creating a team environment, including ongoing education and training, empowering employees to get involved in problem-solving, and celebrating successes.
In the afternoon session, Bradford will delve into systems and cycles, as well as promises and commitments.
Physician groups should be able to answer three questions to determine the effectiveness of organizational systems such as computer databases and telephone services: Do your systems make it easy for customers to do business with your practice? Do your systems make it easy for employees to put customers first? Why do you operate your systems the way you do?
Key points of interaction with patients form a "cycle of service," which is made up of "moments of truth," the critical encounters when patients begin to form an impression of the organization. For example, during interactions with the receptionist, patients form impressions about the practice and the care they will receive, Bradford says.
She identifies moments of truth that most practices will face. The most important moments include wait time, discussions about payment and provider-patient interaction.
Finally, a practice must make commitments and follow through on them, Bradford says.