10 Reasons Doctors Need Strong Communications Skills

10 Reasons Independent Doctors Should Polish up Their Communications Skills

 

Polish up Their Communications Skills
Polish up Their Communications Skills

Doctors in independent practice interact with many kinds of patients. This may create communication challenges that impact the quality of service they provide. Such professionals should be aware of ten areas where improving their proficiency is a key to relating to, and communicating with their clientele:

1) Stress-control dialogue

Anyone can work with an ‘easy’ going subject, who has a pleasant personality and normal intelligence. But a doctor must also be able to handle interacting with the “difficult” client as well. Such a patient may be argumentative, “nasty,” or even hysterical, and sometimes lacking enough IQ to understand certain instructions. A medical professional must develop skills to reach the harder-to-engage patient, and deescalate possible confrontations or conflicts.

 

language issues
language issues

2) Overcoming language issues

Many patients speak a different language, or communicate with a thick accent or colloquial manner. A doctor should have enough dexterity to use visual cues, written aids in several languages, or other tools to work with a wide range of subjects in his or her locality.

3) Presentation clarity

Patients have a fundamental expectation they will clearly know what medical issue they may have upon being examined. Doctors are trained to diagnose and identify problems accurately, but they should be able to plainly explain them to the patient. Clarity in presenting the diagnosis and treatment goes a long way towards giving patients peace of mind about their condition.

 

Creating a positive atmosphere
Creating a positive atmosphere

4) Creating a positive atmosphere

Patients tend to be much more receptive to instructions and dialogue when they perceive the experience with a medical facility to be supportive of their needs. The physician can more freely discuss sensitive information if the subject is happy with the setting and circumstances of the visit. Many clinic offices are therefore specially designed to support their comfort, available time, and privacy concerns to the maximum extent. The positive impression this gives patients makes communicating with them much easier.

5) Cooperation with treatment and medication

Patients can be successfully persuaded to comply with a recommended drug prescription or treatment procedure. They will do so if the rationale for the protocol is presented to them in a reasonable and inclusive manner. It is especially likely if the healthy lifestyle choices the patient is already making (e.g., exercise, organic diet, supplementing, etc.) is accepted and encouraged by the doctor.

 

Caring about the patient
Caring about the patient

6) Caring about the patient

A doctor who expresses compassion and empathy for the patient will usually find them more open to dialog about their situation. An empathetic display allows the subject to better accept the medical intervention and care being recommended for them.

7) Feedback from the patient

Patient needs or desires will often be communicated by the patient to the doctor. Depending on whether the patient perceives the doctor is acknowledging or understanding this feedback, this may affect the medical professional’s ability to communicate to them. If the patient does not feel he is being heard, this can lead to him feeling disrespected. If that happens, he may lose confidence in the doctor and in turn ignore the recommendations and instructions the doctor offers. It is important for doctors to listen carefully to the patient, as part of the communication process.

 

Improving health routines
Improving health routines

8) Improving lifestyle routines

Good communication is vital for the doctor to motivate the patient to consider adopting healthier lifestyle choices. Patients are not likely to make those changes if they do not understand the information the doctor provided, or were not impressed by the case doctor made for the changes.

9) Gaining trust with patients

Trust and loyalty is built with patients in large part due to the clarity of the explanations provided by a doctor who is trying to connect with each client. Trust in a relationship not only makes the parties involved more open to communication, but speeds up the degree and amount of dialogue. Doctors interested in long term relations with patients will seek to instill a lasting bond with each person in their care.

Cultural Awareness
Cultural Awareness

 

10) Cultural Awareness

Beyond personality and language factors, doctors working with a specific demographic group or range of ethnic communities should be aware of cultural dynamics. The attitudes and habits of a particular group may advance, or hinder patient relations. Members of some groups may be combative or present with more attitude, based on their general history. Others may have different ideas about proper medical follow-up, due to what they experienced in the “old country.” A doctor must discern how to engage these dynamics and distinctions in order to communicate to each group positively and effectively.

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Content courtesy of Neches FCU, an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

Neches FCU is one of the top Texas credit unions and has an attentive team of professionals ready to service all members. When their doors open at any of the 9 locations, the core objective of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the sole focus for every representative. They are well-respected for a personal, dynamic and enthusiastic work atmosphere, providing a memorable service experience, and where all members are known by name. Neches FCU has approx. $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches is acknowledged by members and the business community as one of the top credit unions in Texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!

 

How to Promote Your Practice Using Local Media

Use Local Media to Promote Your Practice

 

Promote your business
Promote your business

 

Why Promote Your Practice?

There is a lot of competition in the healthcare industry. This means that your practice is no different from any other business in that you need to promote it to attract customers. Because there is competition, customers need to be informed and convinced that your practice is the best choice. This can be done through local media.

What is Local Media?

 

Local Media
Local Media

 

Local media pertains to your local community, not popular TV shows. Local media is an important way to establish credibility and raise awareness in your community of your practice. According to media expert Tony Taglavore, who has 25 years of experience, there are many advantages of using local media.

Be Confident

Most people are intimidated by using the media because they do not understand what or how it works. People also often seen reporters and other media personalities being very critical of the person they interview. Therefore, most people worry that the reporter will focus on negative things. However, most local reporters are usually happy just to have a story to report so just call a local TV station or newspaper and ask to speak to the health reporter. The worst that could happen is that they say no.

Explain Medical Terms

Keep in mind that you must translate the medical terminology during the interview with the health reporter. Most people, including reporters, do not know the meaning of cataract or catamaran. This means that you will need to explain it in layman’s terms by using simple and concise words. Do not assume that they know the meaning of a medical term. Think of yourself as a language translator speaking a foreign language.

Shorter is Better

 

The power of Brevity
The power of Brevity

 

Keep in mind that while interviews may last a half hour, the final result will probably be only a few minutes. All media goes through multiple edits in order to make the story as concise and lean as possible. People are busy and they do not have time to listen to an optometrist explain the details of cataract surgery. Instead, they need a story that is short and to the point. Keep this in mind when answering all questions: what is it and why should I care?

Reporters are Not Patients

Media expert Tony Taglavore offers a friendly warning and reminder: reporters are not patients – don’t make them wait. Doctors are notoriously late and often make patients continually wait. One time Mr. Taglavore was invited to a doctor’s office to cover a story for local media. Mr. Tagloavore and his photographer had to wait 20 minutes outside before being called into wait another 20 minutes inside the doctor’s office. Once the doctor arrived he was annoyed and used a lot of medical terminology. Obviously, this is opposite of what should happen.

Tips for Inviting the Media

 

Media Events
Media Events

 

Be prepared by having everything ready to go. Media stories need a photograph, so have a patient ready to be interviewed and photographed (make sure they have already given written permission). Prepare some things to talk about and think about how you will answer potential questions. Keep in mind that reporters have deadlines and different projects to complete, so their time is also valuable. At the end of the interview, give the reporter your notes with terminology definitions. Finally, be helpful, flexible and cooperate.

Be Thankful

A story in local media is free publicity. They are doing you a favor by stopping by to interview you. Therefore, be courteous and cooperative during the interview. Make sure to call, thank the reporter and offer to clarify anything. In addition to this, send a handwritten known and let them know how much you appreciated their help. If you really want to thank them, send a fruit or cookie basket to their office.

 

Gratitude in Business
Gratitude in Business

 

Final Words

Never underestimate the power of the media. Local media stories are very influential in the community. If a news report reflects positively on your practice, it will encourage and motivate people to use your services. A patient in your waiting room is one less patient in your competitor’s waiting room. Help yourself by helping the reporter and photography smoothly cover your story. You can do this through being confident, explaining medical terminology, being concise, being on time and expressing gratitude.

Many thanks for skimming our post. Your thoughts are welcome. If you need cms 1500 02/12 forms to file insurance claims, head over to Justcms1500forms.com. They don’t resell these cms 1500 version 02/12 docs, like competitors. They actually print them at their facility. If you staff prefers software filing for claims, they provide software for this too. Take care, and look out for my next post.

 

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Avoid Sales Tax Problems with 5 Quick Tips for Choosing Your Tax Software

Avoid Sales Tax Hassles with 5 Tips for Selecting Tax Software

 

Business Sales Tax
Business Sales Tax

Most business owners don’t go into business with the dream of tracking their bookkeeping and sales taxes. However, these are essential duties for any business. Modern technologies can help business owners manage their sales taxes and bookkeeping practices more effectively. If you’re still using spreadsheets, manual accounting logs, or keeping your sales receipts in a pile for accounting at the end of the month, it’s time to upgrade to a modern system.

Tax Returns
Tax Returns

 

Completing Tax Returns

If you don’t start tracking your taxes now, it can take you much more time when you need to complete your tax return. Poor organization and using antiquated methods can turn what should be a couple of hours each year filling out forms into a marathon tax event. As a business owner, nobody expects you to be a tax expert. Learn to use technology effectively, so that you don’t have to waste valuable time trying to understand tax codes.

Pay Correct Tax
Pay Correct Tax

 

Determining the Correct Tax Rates

One surprising find is that business owners underestimate how many tax jurisdictions there are in the United States. When you sell products or services, you have to charge sales tax appropriately based on the laws in the taxed jurisdiction. With over 17,000 different tax jurisdictions, it’s simply impractical to expect any small business owner to be able to keep track of all the laws and tax codes.

Using a Fully Automated System

If you can’t afford to hire a full-time accountant, you need to take advantage of a complete system that helps business owners manage their taxes through the year. A few moments each day can save time, and prevent the possibility that the IRS will impose penalties for incorrectly filing taxes. Businesses need to send timely payments several times per year, and missing these deadlines can cause additional interest and penalties. A fully-automated tax system can help with these issues.

Automatically calculate taxes
Automatically calculate taxes

 

Automatically Detect and Input Tax Rates

Many of these systems can automatically detect and update tax tables for customers in every state, city, country and special district. This can greatly reduce the hassle when it comes time to pay taxes. It also ensures that you aren’t paying and charging taxes in districts where you don’t have to. Just because a state charges tax, doesn’t mean that your business has to charge tax in every state and locality. The rules change depending on where you live, and where the customer has their orders shipped.

five features
five features

 

Five Common Features to Look For in a Tax Package

 

1)    Tax Calculation Service:

The first feature to look for in any automated package is whether or not the software can handle multiple tax jurisdictions. Tax tables should be updated automatically, and preferably integrate with your e-commerce system. In this way, when you take an order, the appropriate taxes are automatically applied. The system should also keep clear records in case the IRS decides to audit your company.

2)    Keep Up With Developments:

Look for a package that has a high level of support. This can make it easier to keep up to date with changes. If you choose a software package that doesn’t provide regular updates, then the tax codes and other laws won’t stay up-to-date either. The system you choose should automatically backup and update your system.

3)    Simple Interface:

Tax software can be overly cumbersome making it difficult to use. If the system doesn’t have a setup wizard, or it takes several hours to set up, then move on and look for a more effective system. Any software package that doesn’t take you through the setup process in less than an hour is likely going to cause you more pain that it’s worth.

4)    Files Tax Forms:

There are several tax forms that need to be filed. Many programs simply file the main tax form, and won’t allow you to easily attach supporting documentation or explanations. Providing the IRS with the necessary forms is a good way to stay on their good side, and it may even reduce your chance of an audit. A fully automated solution should calculate the taxes, complete invoices and integrate with your shopping cart in addition to filing your returns.

5)    Support for Audits:

In the event of an audit, you’re going to need some professional help. A good system provides a guarantee that if you get audited, they will provide support or even represent you. Without audit protection, look elsewhere for another product or service.

Efficiently
Efficiently

 

Run Your Business More Efficiently and Effectively

Tax time doesn’t have to be a confusing or frustrating experience. As a business owner, you should be able to file your taxes in a single afternoon provided you kept up with your records and maintained accurate data. Spend more time focusing on your business and less time worrying about taxes by choosing the right software package for your needs.

Hopefully, this article got you thinking about how to advise clients properly on the topic of sales tax simplification. With all this in mind, if you’re not already doing electronic tax filing, you should think about it. If you efile 1099 and W-2 tax forms, you’ll notice results faster than using the paper format.

When running a CPA practice, or just helping a few clients, this season should be about time management. Like most tax pros, your clients have a few employees and outsourced staff helping them.

I strongly recommend you follow my lead if you’re spending lots of time printing and mailing tax docs. I use eFile4Biz.com to file 1099 online (as well as W-2 and other tax docs), and focus on generating clients, instead of mailing tax forms. This industry leader connects to the major accounting software brands, on top of printing and delivering the tax forms for me. The video above will tell you more.

Stop by our Tumblr page, and post your comments or resource links to debate this matter further.