21 Jan 10 Must-Haves to Protect Yourself and Your Medical Practice
Running a successful medical practice requires many moving parts, including a knowledgeable and reliable staff. Before you hire new employees, however, you should have these ten crucial components put together to protect you, your medical practice, and your team.
1. A Clear Methodology
If providing the proper skin care regimen for patients based on their skin type is a key aspect of your practice, you will need to have a clear methodology on how to recommend skin care products. As a physician, you likely do not have the time to discuss product recommendations with each patient. Thus, train your staff to make the same recommendations that you would. Otherwise, employees may choose products based upon which reps they like the most. Your patients will not have the best outcomes if the regimens and products are not chosen carefully, and if the patient is not properly educated about how to adhere to the regimen. Using a software such as the Skin Type Solutions system will solve this for you.
2. An Employee Handbook
Every practice should have an employee handbook that clearly states all of the rules, days off, whether or not they get paid for a hurricane day (I’m in Miami!), what discount they and their family members get when they get cosmetic procedures, how product samples such as Botox are handled, policies about skin care samples and prescription drug samples (it is illegal for them to take Rx samples without a physician’s prescription). You need this in case of a dispute with a former employee.
3. New Employee Training Materials
I like to use video to train my staff because it is easier than repeating myself a hundred times. I just video myself talking to my phone camera. It’s easy to do, and you will be thrilled that you don’t have to explain the same things to new employees over and over again. You just show them the training video.
4. Staff Education Plan
Staff education is crucial to the success of your practice. Use fun learning tools such as spelling bee or other games to practice spelling medical words so your notes will be better (i.e. words like keratosis, keloid, purpura, and erythema).
It is also helpful to invest in consistent staff training so you know that everyone is on the same page. This is something that Skin Type Solutions can help you with as well.
5. A Release for the Employee to Sign in Exchange for Severance Payment
Talk to your lawyer. This is always a good idea, because employees will sometimes come back to accuse you of things that you did not do. It’s a crazy world we live in.
6. Standard Operating Procedures
All staff should know exactly where to find standard procedures for your practice, including things like how to mix the Botox, what to do if a patient faints, and what to do in case of anaphylaxis. Even if your employees do not memorize these protocols, they are a basis you can use for training, and they should know where or whom to go to for help in these areas. Plus, writing these operating procedures forces you to think through the situations and make sure that you have everything in its place, the supplies needed, etc.
7. Periodic Competency Exam
This can be used to to ask your staff important questions such as, “What do you do if a patient calls and says their skin looks grey and hurts after a filler injection?” You can gauge his or her competence in these areas, and this gives your staff a chance to discuss important issues like these with you so they can be better prepared.
8. Annual Performance Appraisal
This allows you to review staff performance and set goals for them. It can be time consuming, but it will keep everyone on the same page and ensure your employees are meeting their goals.
9. Plan for Needle Stick
Of course, employees should all be trained on OSHA requirements, but accidents do happen. You need a write policy outlining how to handle a needle stick, including what to do immediately after it happens, who to contact, and whether or not they are covered by worker’s compensation.
10. Have a Clear Route of Communication with Your Staff
When everyone is on the same page, your practice can run smoothly and efficiently. In my office, we do a weekly staff meeting on Mondays, since we have a 30% to 40% no-show rate on Mondays. So I made it an admin day and am open on Saturday mornings instead.
A little planning and preparedness can go a long way when it comes to keeping you and your medical practice protected against lawsuits from former employees and other concerns. Emphasizing staff education is also imperative for improving patient compliance, satisfaction, and referrals.
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