Responses provided by our columnists Helen M. Torok, MD; Heather L. Funk, MBA; and Aaron M. Funk
All from Trillium Creek Dermatology and Aesthetic Center, Medina, Ohio. Dr. Torok also is from Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine, Rootstown.
Q: We have recently added cosmetics to our practice (eg, botulinum toxin, fillers, sclerotherapy, laser hair removal). Our staff is requesting some/all of these services. I would like the staff to be able to try the procedures, as that will make them better informed to discuss the procedures with the patients, but at the same time, I want to motivate them to sell. Do I give the services to the staff for free or can I implement some sort of rewards program?
A: Dependent on the staff members that you have, you could have 2 approaches. For a medical provider or an employee working directly with your potential patients, I would offer these treatments complimentary. For your medical assistants, receptionists, and other similar employees who are asking for the treatments for free, you could do any of the following: offer a percentage off your normal pricing to all employees; reward employees who have shown loyalty and are key members within your practice (eg, employee of the month or year, so many years of service); or once a month have a drawing in which 1 employee can select a treatment for free.
Q: How can I educate my staff thoroughly but cost-efficiently about coding errors?
A: Dependent on who does your billing, most companies should offer a monthly chart audit that will monitor any mistakes but also alert the provider of the errors. The medical director/coding specialist also should review patient charts with the medical provider(s) individually to ensure proper documentation and coding. MDsConnect.net launched an entire module dedicated to billing and coding.
Q: How do you use social media to communicate with patients? What must appear on your Web site?
A: Search engine optimization is essential. Keywords that you use within your Web site and the “About Us” page are what appear within Google searches. Your practice must have its own Facebook page. Create videos that your clients/patients can watch on YouTube. They can be any of the following: an overview on a new procedure; an upcoming promotion; or an upcoming event. It is important that you, the physician, are in the video. Your patients are more likely to watch and listen if it is a video/message from their doctor. Once a video is created and uploaded onto YouTube, you can simply e-mail your patient database with the link to the video. MDsConnect.net has a module MD Social Media that will help a physician create and learn about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Myspace, and LinkedIn.
Q: What equipment purchases are a must for a new practice?
A: Electronic medical records, iPad/portable computers, photodynamic equipment, telephone system that calls your patients with appointment reminders, intense pulsed light, and hair laser.
Q: What marketing tools result in the most return?
A: Facebook is free and chances are a large percentage of your patients are on it. Preventive skin cancer screenings, either at your practice or at local businesses; conducting screenings for their employees can help get your name out. Utilizing a physician extender to conduct these screenings can help grow your practice. Social media and utilizing the Internet also are important.
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Disclaimer: Answers to questions herein have not been reviewed by the Cosmetic Dermatology® Editorial Board for their accuracy or reliability. Answers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Cosmetic Dermatology or Quadrant HealthCom Inc. Any reference made to a specific commercial product, service, or other information does not indicate or imply that Cosmetic Dermatology or Quadrant HealthCom Inc endorses, recommends, or favors the product mentioned. Always consult your local medical board requirements and legal services.