Time to address a trope in medical care (and business in general):
This idea that “The customer is always right” or “The customer always comes first.” (Or in your case, the patient)
Of course we focus on our patients. Of course they are a priority. No one is claiming otherwise, so don’t get triggered.
But here’s where challenges arise:
When you put patients first at the expense of your team. Over time, this destroys your culture, ruins morale and kills your excellent patient care.
Think back to a time you were a patient, or even a customer in a business. You’ve probably been in this type of situation, which happened to me a couple weeks ago:
I’m in the waiting area. I see the team at the front desk bickering, one of them scolding another. It wasn’t loud or intense, but it was apparent. And I could feel the negative energy.
Then one of them walks out, puts on a fake-ish smile, and says “Yes, Mr. Cole, please follow me right this way…”
It was clear to me that this team probably doesn’t get along. There’s tension. Likely drama. And the fact that she’s “smiling and being kind” to me doesn’t override what I just observed.
Humans generally don’t like seeing people dump on other people. It puts off a negative vibe that repels us. Certainly was the case for me at this office.
AND SO, what am I saying?
The patient doesn’t come first. Your team comes first.
It has to. And here’s why:
When your team comes first…
When you focus on building a thriving and positive team culture…
When everyone on your team is supporting and encouraging and assisting each other…
The natural result of this behavior is excellent patient care.
In my example above (and based on other observations I made at that practice), they clearly don’t have this positive team culture. And for that reason, their claims of “patient-focused care” and fake smiles simply ring hollow.
Strong practice culture is like ripples in the water:
1. Starts with each individual caring for themselves, then
2. It moves out to the team taking care of each other, and
3. That ripples out to the patients.
For those practices that overlook Step 1 and try to shortcut Step 2 because they’re overly concerned about what happens Step 3, that’s simply backwards thinking. Reverse it, and you’re good to go.
Moving into a new year, it’s a great time to assess and re-focus on your team.
Are you doing team meetings? One-on-ones? Celebrating wins? Do you know what drives and motivates your people? These are all essential to building a thriving team.
You or your admin or someone take charge and build the culture you want.
Because if you want to maximize your patient experience…
Your team comes first.
– Troy “Team Work Makes the Dream Work” Cole
PS – Generally the better your practice culture, the longer good people will stick around. Good people are *really* hard to find right now, and you want to keep them!
BONUS of a strong culture – If you do accidentally hire a bad egg, they will often fire themselves because they know they don’t belong and their cancerous attitude is not welcome.