Celebrate Those Magic Moments  

Hopefully in your practice, moments of magic that occur due to outstanding staff or patient actions are more frequent than moments of misery. In my decades of practice management consulting, I have often found that accolades for these moments are typically buried or not celebrated at all.

I say share the love! Accentuating the positive is a great way to use those magic moments in ways that motivate staff and sustain a great patient experience.

  • Let staff hear it for themselves. It's common for patients to share with a doctor in the exam room just how helpful a staff member was. Rather than glossing over the compliment, say to the patient, "Hold that thought!" then go find that employee and bring her or him into the room. Ask the patient to repeat what he or she told you and watch your employee's face light up.
  • Spread the news. Extend the impact of good deeds by sharing magic moments in staff meetings. Recognize individuals and celebrate their accolades to reinforce your expectation of excellent customer service from the team. 
  • Send a thank you note. Your mother wasn't wrong: a thank-you note is one of the most proper and sincere gestures of gratitude. When a patient refers a new patient to your practice, ask your staff to draft thank-you notes for both the existing patient and the new one, then have everyone sign them (including the physician).
These are meaningful exercises, not just for the patients but for your staff members to understand that they and their actions are the most important elements of the practice.

Bottom line: Just as it's imperative to address and correct issues that cause misery in the practice, it's equally as important to recognize the moments of magic. Addressing both, ironically, offers the greatest opportunities to offer stellar service to patients and motivate staff.
See more practice improvement tips from Dr. Baum
Neil H. Baum, MD, is medical advisor to Vanguard Communications and author of two books: "Marketing Your Clinical Practice - Ethically, Effectively, and Economically," now in its 4th edition, and "The Complete Business Guide to a Successful Medical Practice."

Dr. Baum has been dubbed "Dr. Wiz" for his love of magic and his urology specialty practice. 
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