Blog Post

4 ways to leverage practice managers to lead patient experience efforts

September 19, 2018

    With health plan deductibles on the rise and more retail clinics entering the market, medical groups are placing an increased emphasis on meeting consumer demands. Among the most important of these consumer demands is meeting patient experience expectations.

    However, as groups develop strategies to improve the patient experience, they often run into challenges engaging staff at local ambulatory practices in these initiatives. But groups have an important resource within these sites of care that they can leverage to spearhead these initiatives: the practice manager.

    Practice managers have a greater ability to drive change at their practices than group leaders because of their physical presence at the practice, their understanding of the practice's specific needs, and their relationships with physicians and staff.

    How to empower practice managers to lead patient experience efforts

    Our research briefing, The Medical Group Executive's Guide to Boosting the Patient Experience, highlights four steps groups should take to engage local practice managers in patient experience initiatives:

    1. Tailor level of support provided to individual practices

      No two ambulatory practices face the same challenges when it comes to patient experience—which is why groups must ensure that they're giving the right level of support to each practice. Groups approach this in two ways. Some rely on patient experience scores to guide the amount of support they give individual practices. Others dig in deeper to the individual drivers of patient experience and how groups are performing on specific questions of patient experience surveys to offer tailored support to improve those areas.

    2. Overinvest in staff service training and tools

      Staff training on patient experience is critical to broader patient experience efforts. At a baseline, groups should incorporate service training into their staff onboarding programs. Many groups supplement this training with training focused on individual practices. Some of the more successful initiatives we have seen have practice managers round at other sites and train practice managers to provide site-level training to their staff.

    3. Use practice-level data to sustain improvement

      To get the most value out of patient experience surveys, groups segment this data not only by physician but also by individual practice. This helps practice managers understand their unique opportunities for improvement. Taking this a step further, groups can hold practice managers accountable for that practice-level performance.

    4. Implement staff incentives based on practice performance

    5. Finally, developing incentives for staff based on practice performance on patient experience surveys can motivate staff to make improvements. Even relatively inexpensive incentives, like trophies and luncheons for top-performing sites, can be enough to move the dial for staff. Some groups have even experimented with tying a portion of staff compensation to performance on patient experience surveys.

    Want to learn more? To help groups implement each of these four steps, we created The Medical Group Executive's Patient Experience Toolkit, which includes resources to help engage practice managers in these initiatives.

    Next, access the medical group executive's guide to boosting patient experience


    Learn four steps medical groups should take to empower local practice managers to own local patient experience initiatives and support their frontline staff in meeting patient demands for improved customer service.

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