Effective communication is key for any business, but is especially critical in the therapy industry. One small breakdown in communication can have lasting negative effects on your therapy clinic’s billing, scheduling, and treatment processes.
There are different types of communication, all of which must come together in seamless synergy to result in increased efficiency. Read below for the most stress-inducing categories of communication and the associated hacks we’ve learned over decades of working with therapy clinics.
Improve Your Clinic’s Communication with Patients
Since patients are the ones you are serving, they come first on our list.
It is probably no surprise that the communication you have most often with patients involves appointment scheduling. We live in a busy world, and when the success of your business depends on people remembering their visits, it is beyond helpful to assist them in doing so.
The best modern hack for avoiding high cancellation rates and minimizing patient frustration is to implement text message reminders. That’s why we’ve built them into TheraPlan.
A related factor many clinic owners fail to focus on is customer service training for therapists. Even when things go wrong, patients are more likely to be understanding if they feel they are heard and important to you. Your therapists are on the front lines of interaction with your community, so we say getting back to the basics of human decency by providing superior customer service is paramount.
Read this post from Clinic Connection for even more about healthy communication with patients.
Maintain Strict Procedures for Communicating with Primary Care Providers
One of the most common challenges we see clinics facing involves reaching out to Primary Care Providers (PCPs).
Remember that even if your clinic has it together, there is no guarantee that other clinics will. No doubt you’ve encountered difficulties with receiving timely responses from a doctor’s office regarding things like getting Plans of Care signed. It can feel like an endless frustration and take a lot of time away from other critical administrative tasks.
The solution is to control what you can control, which in this case is timing! We cannot stress enough the importance of requiring therapists to complete plans of care as early as possible. This begins with scheduling evaluations about 30 days prior to the end of an existing plan of care, which means your therapists need to be trained to pay attention to critical expiration dates.
To make things like plan-of-care tracking even more painless for your clinic, we have integrated quick communication right into our EMR with features like TheraFax. Send critical documents to doctors and insurance companies directly from our web-based application.
Ease the Frustration of Communicating with Insurance Companies
We would echo the great time-saving (and sanity-saving!) hacks in this post by our credentialing partners for the dreaded necessity of working with insurance companies.
Ensure Sound Internal Communication in Your Therapy Clinic
None of the above tips will have a sizable effect if you are not closely managing how well your employees tell each other important details. Standardization is the answer.
For everything from hiring to scheduling to credentialing, your therapists and admins should have no doubt about who to contact, or when and how to do so. This begins with establishing easily understandable procedures from the moment you welcome a new hire onto the team.
Our quick tip for making sure procedures are implemented? A good old-fashioned Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The twenty-first century hack version of this is digital! Online document storage systems make it so easy to keep live documents, which track all edits and contributing authors. Keep one document that houses all pertinent rules pertaining to communication. Assign one person to update it regularly, ensure that therapists are notified of any changes immediately, and keep a record of their agreement to said changes.
As the clinic owner, it’s important to remove yourself from the small tasks of day-to-day operations so you can focus on growth. Having an SOP in an easy format, and using an internal messaging system that is not as cumbersome as email, means you don’t need to feel pressured to mediate every small misunderstanding that takes place. Delegation can be scary, but it’s absolutely critical to positive communication.
Ultimately, whether you choose to use a digital document or not, failing to pay attention to how well your employees are talking to one another could result in unnecessary conflict and even significant revenue loss.
TheraPlan Can Help You Audit Your Clinic’s Communication Protocol
We may be a software company, but we consider ourselves communication experts, at least when it comes to our clients. After all, an EMR is built to support the accurate and regular exchange of information. If anyone knows how important clear communication is, it’s our development and support teams!
Not only do we have 25+ years of working intimately with clinic owners under our belts, but we have built an entire network of Florida therapy experts for you to consult about things like internal and therapist-patient communication.
If you think your clinic could use some obligation-free advice, reach out today!