Most practices, when they falter, do so because of a gap in administrative leadership. Corinne Z. Wohl, MHSA, COE, focuses her blog “Tuning Up Your Administrator … Tuning Up Your Practice” on ways to help your entire administrative team take their game to the next level as the ophthalmic business environment is becoming more challenging.

BLOG: Evaluating associate physicians and what owners look for when choosing a partner, part 2

Continuing the list of key points to help guide associate track physicians to become a strong business partner and to help owners determine which associates will be the best partners:

2. Develop strong collegial relationships with internal and referring physicians.

  • Write patient update letters that include acknowledgement and thanks for the referral. If your EHR doesn’t make this easy, write a personal letter occasionally outside of the system to express appreciation. Or better yet, call on the phone to update the physician about an interesting case and include appreciation for other cases.
  • Be sure to communicate with physicians in your practice as you would if they were external referrers. Don’t take internal referrals for granted.
  • As a person interested in being a business builder, offer to speak at local venues such as assisted-living facilities, local optometric meetings and schools.
  • Owners are always thinking about and taking steps to develop new business. Show that you already think this way and walk the talk.

3. Show appreciation.

  • Always show appreciation to employees in all departments, not just to the technicians or opticians you work with and know best.
  • Each person in the office contributes to practice success and wants recognition for that. And smart owners know that paying the highest salaries are often not necessary if the work environment is a happy one, where appreciation and recognition is abundant.
  • Each employee represents you personally, as well as the practice as a whole. Be sure to thank all employees for their efforts, including the patient services and billing departments. These departments are thirsty for physician recognition, and you will stand out as special if you do this.
  • And if the other reasons are not enough — patients do ask your employees about you! Be sure that their honest answers can be representation of fact, such as, “Yes, she’s a great doctor, and your mother will love her,” or “He’s a great doctor, plus a very attentive and kind person.” You don’t want them saying, “Yes, all the doctors are great here, but let’s book your mother with Dr. Other because she smiles more.”

Corinne Z. Wohl, MHSA, COE, is the administrator at Delaware Ophthalmology Consultants and can be reached at czwohl@gmail.com.