Practice Management: Handling Change

Change happens frequently in the healthcare industry, thanks to new medical research and the advancement of treatment options. Keeping up with constant procedural changes and advances in technology can be a challenge for even the most progressive practice, but it is crucial for providing the best possible care for your patients and appealing to new clients.

As plastic surgeons, how can we ensure a smooth transition when dealing with a change in policy, technology, or treatment methods?

Recognize that change is routine and, in some cases, necessary

Changing day-to-day operations in your practice can be a hassle, so the first step is accepting change as a natural part of life. In the medical industry, it may help to remember that technical changes are generally beneficial to your patients. When implementing a new procedure or changing an outdated technique, you are working in your patients’ best interests and giving them the best possible outcome. Furthermore, some changes may be necessary as new science reveals a risk or health concern associated to a treatment.

Remember that technology is here to help

In just about every industry, technology is rapidly changing the game. New accounting systems, computers, data entry systems, medical equipment – and the list goes on. It may seem daunting to change your existing functioning system, but technical advancements usually simplify or speed up processes in the long run. As a result, adopting new technology helps ensure your practice stays relevant to customers. When faced with introducing a new technology into your practice, remember that technology is intended to make life easier, for you and/or your patients. 

Support your team

Teamwork is key to having the day-to-day run smoothly in your practice. When presenting changes to your team, support them through the transition. Clearly explain what is happening and identify the problem this change addresses (for instance, don’t just announce a new billing system, explain how the new system will be more efficient). Explicitly lay out each person’s role in the process and acknowledge that the changeover may be cumbersome while emphasizing the positive outcome. Finally, make sure you keep your patients informed of what is happening, where necessary.

Don’t go overboard

With technology and medicine progressing at a rapid rate, you can easily get caught up in new products and ideas. Before starting something new, do your research – evaluate and consider the pros and cons of implementing a change in your practice. Just because there is a new technique or hot app going around, does not mean it is necessary for your practice in the long run. Use data, research, and input from other relevant sources to decide whether a certain process is needed.

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