By Rose Holdsworth and Kelli Dearlove, People In Practice
We live in a savvy world
As consumers become more aware about what they want and how they allocate their money they also demand that their provider be recognized as a star performer and worthy of those precious dollars. They take their choices seriously and will use what is often their discretionary investment in a considered and informed way. Long gone are the days that consumers see their medical and dental professionals as undisputed. They demand value for money from all walks of life.
Correlation between savviness and quality
Quality has long become an overused word. Its quality this and quality that. Someone is making millions out of that single – subjectively ambiguous word.
So what does it mean for your patients?
This is something that you should be assessing on a continuous basis. How to assess? Ask them – because people love to tell you what you could do better especially if what you do is costing them money. Some of the easy and effective ways to do this are through Patient Feedback Forms for your older and less technically inclined patients or a click on your website for the more advanced Gen X through to millennials who are much more likely to go straight to media. The problem lies in what to do once they have pointed out something that might need improvement?
By the way – the above paragraph is somewhat of a generalization – I am a baby boomer and quite happy to click and tick as opposed to continue using my handwriting skills honed into me by the Sisters of the well shod daughters. But I digress.
Be the practice of first choice
A more strategically viable way of defining what is quality and using that patient feedback is to go through the Accreditation Process and reassess your current practices and service standards.
You have heard about Dental Industry Accreditation. You registered in your mind that perhaps you better look into it when you get some time. How are we doing so far? Don’t worry you are more focused on your art of Dentistry. This paperwork stuff is a diversion right?
Your patients will love being able to say that they go to an accredited dental practice and you will as a practice reap the benefits of market share improvement in what has become a hugely competitive market sector. Accreditation gives you a point of difference compared to the 10 other practices in your 2 km radius.
What is Accreditation?
The Dental Practice Accreditation is currently voluntary at present. So you can go through the process in a manner where you can take your time and make haste slowly or wait until legislation makes it mandatory. In the latter case things get hectic as you try to run your practice and move through the process at someone else’s pace. As a practice owner the ideal is to maintain control of what gets done and more importantly when it gets done.
It involves in general terms making sure that your practice essentials are up-to-date, legal and efficient. The standards cover employee relations and benefits, health and safety, immunisation records, patient care, recording and storage of key information and management of policies and procedures. A key criteria for success is that not only do you end up with quality paperwork and processes but that you can actually prove that you are doing what you say you are doing. That all takes time and effort that practices do not necessarily have at their disposal in a busy environment.
As I have stated above, accreditation is not yet legislated but it will be in the near future. It has been a pattern in all professional and commercial sectors where they are going through their own enforced accreditation processes.
As government starts to provide stricter rules and regulations about work practices and service delivery standards these processes will graduate from voluntary involvement to ` must do’ in order to operate in your chosen market.
Like other sectors, Professional Indemnity, Professional Memberships and consumer awareness will all want to see the Practice accredited as a high quality, high standard and compliant operation before they decide to cover your liabilities or bring their families to your doorstep.
An added benefit for those of you who might be thinking of selling your Practice in the future and retiring to live out your life dreams. Being an ‘Accredited Practice’ will make your business more valuable to potential buyers when negotiating that end price.
People in Practice was founded specifically to service the increasing demand from dental practice owners for assistance with one of their biggest challenges — their people. Alongside that, the growing demand from government to push through Accreditation across the dental industry will mean that Practices will need to have their systems and processes up to date and compliant.
We provide dynamic solutions, through our performance strategies, “accreditation ready” programs, employment contract / pay rate reviews, cost reduction for maximising asset value, and Fair Work employer representation services.
People in Practice is a one stop human resource management service to the dental industry that provides the essential backup to support our Practice Principals and dental business owners to increase “gross revenue and business value through smart people strategies that are realistic, achievable and cost effective”.
Together we bring a range of skills to partner with you, your Practice Manager and staff.
Please call us for a conversation at no cost to you.