Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Most clientele will forgive and overlook a random mistake, but they will remember repeated mistakes and begin to look elsewhere for someone more reliable to meet their needs. Make sure you don’t sabotage your Practice by becoming aware of areas where mistakes frequently occur and educate yourself on how to prevent them.
Are you making these four potentially sabotaging mistakes in your Practice?
Mistake 1: Sacrificing customer service when crazy busy
A busy Practice is a cause for celebration. You are obviously doing something right to have clients lining up for your services. The key is to keep these clients coming back and referring more people. The easiest way to lose a client is with poor customer service. Are you or your staff guilty of any of these customer service slip-ups?
- Taking a telephone call during a consultation
- Taking too long to return a message, or losing messages altogether
- Miss-booking appointments
- Leaving clients standing at the counter waiting and waiting to be served
- Being abrupt because you are stressed
- Getting unduly ruffled and upset by complaining customers
- Consistently running late or behind in your daily schedule
The good news is that customer service is a skill that can be learnt. Good systems and good staff will fix many of these mistakes. Training in conflict resolution, time management, productivity and communication skills will shortcut the steep customer service learning curve, and make your Practice successful faster.
Mistake 2: Patient Privacy
Your practice needs to have strict patient privacy protocols in place. Mistakes around patient privacy can happen without any malicious intent, but that doesn’t reduce the severity of privacy breaches. Even unintentional breaches can lead to hefty fines and consequences. Ways you might be making mistakes include:
- Leaving patient records open on unattended computer screens
- Sending records to unsecure email accounts or third-party apps such as Dropbox
- Having out of date computer software or virus protection that leaves your IT systems vulnerable to data theft or data loss
- Lack of a disaster recovery process
- Inconsistent password procedures
- Unlocked record cabinets
- Being unaware of recent changes to privacy and data laws
There are many resources available to solve patient privacy issues. A reputable IT provider can advise you on the correct ways to protect patient records. Staff training and orientation processes need to include a section on maintaining patient privacy within the Practice.
Mistake 3: Workplace health and safety
You know how important WHS is, yet it is easy to let matters slip over time until you stop noticing them. Workplace health and safety is vital for your clients and staff. Areas that require your diligent attention are:
- Trip hazards such as cables, rugs, and steps
- Sturdy and supportive seating
- Regularly audited and replenished first aid kit
- Adequate lighting
- Up to date electrical appliance testing
- Up to date Essential Services logbooks for heating, cooling, exit signs, fire hydrants, etc
Your Practice should have a designated WHS officer whose has the task of checking your workplace weekly for potential hazards. If in doubt, use the free assessment services provided by WorkCover and other WHS agencies.
Mistake 4: Infection control
Another area to seek expert advice from WorkCover or a WHS specialist is for infection control. Infection control in a Practice aims to prevent pathogens from coming into contact with any person at your workplace. Ensure you consider the following questions and implement solutions to prevent infection control mistakes at your Practice.
- Does your first aid kit have Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) like gloves, gowns, eye goggles and face shields?
- Are there hand washing protocols in place and are all staff training in these?
- Are cuts and abrasions incurred by staff covered and protected?
- Do all rooms in your Practice have gloves, paper towels and access to hot water?
- Are staff rooms and food preparation areas kept separate from treatment areas?
- Are rooms, floors, bathrooms, and surfaces kept clean at all times?
- Is there a known procedure for safely cleaning up and disposing of bodily fluids and infection waste such as blood, saliva, urine, and faeces?
- Do you use needles at your practice and have a process for handling and disposing of sharps?
- Do you have an incident reporting procedure?
Having effective Infection Control procedures for your Practice may seem like a no-brainer, yet when it goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong. Educate yourself and your staff and make sure you don’t get caught out.
Remove unneeded mistakes from your Practice by ensuring your Practice Manager is well-educated and up to date with the latest workplace information and protocols. When hiring a Practice Manager look for one that has completed a Diploma in Practice Management (HLT57715) from a leading Australian provider.