Organization is a large word that can have a great impact on the success of your practice. Without a systematic way of organizing your practice, chaos and havoc will rule with no guidelines to help sort out the confusion. In a chiropractic practice there are three components to building a successful organization: Policies, procedures and systems.
Policies, procedures and systems add the structure that is necessary to run a successful practice. It is helpful to understand the difference between these components and why each is important for your success.
Policies are the rules and regulations of running your practice relative to your staff and your patients. Policies are written in order to help your practice run smoothly. Each and every chiropractic office should have a General Policy Manual that is followed by all staff members (regardless of position or seniority.)
A General Policy Manual will minimize and eventually eliminate staffing problems. When all staff members are following the written policies, there are fewer issues for staff members to discuss or dispute. Once the rules and regulations are in place, correcting a staff member also becomes easier. Most staff or practice problems are in equal proportion to the doctor’s willingness to confront the staff member. Having a well-written and proven set of policies supports the discussion and resolution of the problem.
When a new staff member is hired, it is imperative that you introduce them to the General Policy Manual and make sure they understand and agree with your policies. Have them complete a “Check-Off Form” to ensure they do not miss any important policies. Also, have them write several essays during their probation period on their understanding of your policies. This will eliminate any misunderstandings and potential staffing problems down the road.
You can change the way your practice operates by following these few simple suggestions. Policies allow you exponential growth in your practice, regardless if you have one, five, fifteen or thirty staff members. Policies are critical.
A procedure is a specific course of action that can be repeated in order to achieve a certain response. Procedures are the step-by-step processes that you utilize in your practice. Your procedures take place from the moment a patient walks through your front door, until the time they are released onto maintenance care.
Procedures are critical for a chiropractic practice to continue to expand. Once you have developed your procedures, you should write them down or put them on audio or videotapes. By doing so, you are making them available to everyone to learn from and incorporate into your daily operation. The more specifically your procedures are defined, the smoother your practice will operate.
The anxiety level over hiring new staff members will significantly diminish when you have proper procedures in place. It will be easier for a staff to duplicate a position when the procedures are already defined for that position. You will find that you will have more compliant staff members and a greater willingness to replace non-compliant staff members with the appropriate procedures in place. Procedures are vital.
A system is a functionally related group of elements that interact harmoniously. Systems need to be put into place in order to have your practice function overall. A system incorporates your policies and procedures into a workable and consistent structure that will succeed regardless of the personalities involved.
For example, you would have a “new patient” system that would handle all aspects of serving a new patient, from the time they walk in the door until they are put on a maintenance program. The system would specify the exact way to handle setting up the first appointment, how to greet the patient upon arrival, paperwork procedures to follow, etc. With a system, nothing is left to chance.
Systems are incorporated into a practice for a number of different reasons. Regardless of the specific end result of the system, it is only considered effective if it will work for anyone, in any town, in any practice, at any time of year. A system is bulletproof, and put into place in order to help your practice function more effectively. Increase your systems, increase your productivity and increase your opportunity for growth. Systems are essential.
Organize your practice for success. Eliminate chaos and embrace control. Write your policies and procedures and put your systems in place. You will be setting the stage for success in an organized and expanding practice! TAC
Dr. Maurice A. Pisciottano, CEO and founder of Pro-Solutions for Chiropractic, is a practicing chiropractor, noted lecturer, author, producer and research and development technologist. He is well known for his practice management expertise, as well as new patient development programs. He has devoted the past twelve years to the development of the instrumentation and the computerization of chiropractic treatment and documentation. Dr. Pisciottano regularly lectures at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA, and at Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, MO. He can be reached at Pro-Solutions for Chiropractic in Pittsburgh, PA, at 1-877-942-4284.