More do’s and don’ts for the new doctor

dos and donts

There is a wealth of know-how one acquires over the course of running a practice.

Yet the lessons learned from experience can be expensive. Here are some hard- won tips that will save you time and money as you launch your career.

Interviewing applicants

The purpose of a job interview is to obtain job-related information about an applicant who is being considered for a particular job. It is unlawful to ask questions that can be interpreted as discriminatory against a person’s age, race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, marital status, sexual preference, veteran status, disability/handicap, medical condition, or any other legally protected classification.

Remember three basic assumptions when planning for an upcoming interview:

A. Interviews test how well someone interviews. The most qualified candidate doesn’t always get the job. Many times, it’s the person who interviews the best who gets the job.

B. A good con artist can fool you every time.

C. Interviews in which you induce stress seldom work. Putting a candidate on the defensive will only demonstrate his or her style of defensive behavior.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If a person was great with people but weak with details in his or her last three jobs, you can predict their future behavior accordingly.

Hiring your staff

Should you choose independent contractors or regular employees? You need to file a 1099 tax form for all independent contractors. All employees receive a W-2 at the end of the year. If you are audited, the IRS will demand proof that you have consistently treated your workers in question as independent contractors or employees in all your tax dealings. So keep good records.

Projecting success

Building a better image begins with the type of stationery and business cards you select. Use the highest quality paper and card stock that you can afford. Have on hand an assortment of brochures describing the major conditions that you treat in your practice, and locate them where patients can see them, especially in the reception room.

Your diplomas and awards should also be strategically placed in full view of your patients. Make sure all of your equipment is well maintained and in good working order. You are a doctor, so dress like one. Your clothing and grooming should be clean and tidy.

Telephone procedures

This is one of the most important areas of a new practice that must be handled effectively and professionally. Phone scripts and voice quality must be mastered. Keep in mind, the front desk assistant is the new patient’s first contact with your practice. Therefore, the tone and quality of your assistant’s voice will create that all-important first impression.

Find a professional organization that will train your office staff on

  • Phone scripts and voice quality
  • The new patient call
  • Scheduling patients over the phone
  • Handling canceled appointments
  • Re-schedules
  • Missed appointments
  • Confirmation calls

Scheduling software

Think of the appointment book as the “steering wheel” of your practice. It really controls many things that will take place throughout the workday. The appointment book can handle things like coding, registering new patients, seeing maintenance patients, cluster booking, rescheduling missed appointments, patient recall, and other aspects of patient control. In addition, it’s your central hub of patient communication, management, and statistical analysis. It is vital you find the best software system to coordinate the intricacies of a modern practice.

Treatment and communication

When providing the initial treatment, prepare your patients by explaining to them what you plan on doing. Most patients will be somewhat apprehensive about their initial care because this is likely their first encounter with you.

Financial procedures

You need to determine what fees you will charge in your practice. These fees will be collected at the front desk and also through insurance billing and mail collections.

A major problem for many practices is a lack of communication between the office and the patient regarding payments and how and when they should be made. There should be a complete and thorough explanation of charges so your patients understand each charge. Therefore, the financial consultation is a must and should be done by someone familiar with insurance and financial matters. Ensure that the financial agreement is signed and is in the patient’s file.

You will need to have a qualified assistant handling the following activities:

  • Fees
  • Collections at the front desk
  • Insurance verification
  • Payment arrangements
  • Mail collections
  • Insurance billing

Remember to get the necessary training of your staff. It will be the best investment in your practice that you will ever make!

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