This week on the DrMarketingTips podcast, Jennifer and Corey discuss how automation could be used by medical practices to enhance patient care, cut down on admin costs, and increase patient satisfaction. They’ll also share how you can use technology to make your employees happy, keep your practice running smoothly, and satisfy the evolving needs and expectations of your patients.

Automation is reshaping entry-level jobs in the global economy, and your medical practice needs to have a plan in place to develop soft skills among your employees (and physicians!). By 2030, 14.7 million workers under 30 will face job displacement, especially in the service and food industries. Understanding how this shift will impact your medical practice is critical to your long-term success.

Tune in to discover:

  • What soft skills are and how you can help your staff cultivate them
  • Strategies to help your employees communicate across generations
  • How your level of technology may be preventing you from attracting and retaining the best and the brightest employees
  • How you can use automation to streamline your workplace
  • What level of automation patients will start to expect from medical offices in the not too distant future

References:

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Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2020 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

Download Now

Get Your Free 2020 Marketing Strategy Template & How-to Guide

Take the first step to successfully attract and retain patients in 2020 with a detailed plan for getting your practice in front of the right patient, in the right place at exactly the moment they are looking for you.

Download Now

Transcript Notes

Speaker 1: Dr. Marketing Tips. Paging Dr. Marketing Tips. Dr. Marketing Tips, you’re needed in the marketing department.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast, your prescription to the answers you seek to grow your medical practice easier, better, and faster. This show is all about connecting practice administrators and medical marketing professionals with peers working in practices, learning from experiences, making mistakes, and sharing successes. Let’s get started.

Corey: Hey, guys. Welcome to another episode of the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast. I’m Corey.

Jennifer: And I’m Jennifer.

Corey: And today we wanted to take a few minutes and discuss something that not necessarily relates specific to medical practices, but something that we’re seeing a lot of as it comes to employment and entry level jobs specifically.

Jennifer: Yeah. So, there’s this massive report that McKinsey Global Institute put out. Basically, it’s saying that as a growing share of industries are starting to embrace automation, that some 14.7 million workers under the age of 34 are going to face job displacement by 2030. Many of the positions that have historically served as a first entry into the working world, like those kind of jobs where … maybe in retail or food service, those are especially vulnerable, potentially depriving young people from gaining those soft skills that you get from that entry level work. I know for me, Corey, had I not been a food service person or a waitress, I would not be where I am today, because it forced me to develop conversation skills and to understand the basics of customer service.

Jennifer: Companies might need to start looking at new ways to help develop these kind of soft skills, because the people that are going to be coming through aren’t going to have them necessarily. So, what McKinsey is suggesting is maybe looking at apprenticeships, investing in new hires by teaching them these soft skills and these higher level soft skills from day one. There’s lots of conversations around this, and I think it’s a trend that we should start really paying attention to, because it’s about to translate into medical.

Corey: Yeah. I think everyone should have to do some sort of food service job at some point.

Jennifer: What was yours?

Corey: I worked at Chili’s. I was a server and a busser.

Jennifer: How long did that last?

Corey: Way too long. No. It was like ix or seven months or so. But it taught me … like you said, you do learn a lot of valuable soft skills, and you also learn patience and how to communicate and problem solve. It changes your perspective.

Jennifer: It absolutely does. I think from a hiring standpoint it’s so important to find out what did people do when they were young. I worked at Taco Bell in high school. I drove a lunch wagon. My family had what they used to refer to as roach coaches. My family had a fleet of them, my mother did. In the summers I would drive these things, and I would be back there cooking food, driving a van that sometimes would break down, adding money up, and dealing with that every day, and manual labor. Then I worked in restaurants all through college and did those types of things. It just prepares you for whatever it is you’re going to tackle.

Corey: Yeah. Absolutely. Soft skills, what is a soft skill? Basically, that’s an attribute that enables someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. That’s what we’re talking about when we say soft skills. I’m sure if you’re listening to this, you can probably think about someone you know, either in your office or someone that you’ve worked with in the past, that has none of those soft skills. Maybe that’s a physician, and maybe it’s a front desk person, and they … what have you. A lot of times we focus on online reviews and reputation management for our clients. One of the prevailing complaints is that someone was rude. It’s a physician, or someone at the front desk, or billing, or whatever the case may be. It’s because they lack those soft skills that someone … It forces someone, they get mad enough to go online and complain about it, so that their voice is heard, because they’re so frustrated with the experience that they just had at the practice.

Jennifer: Well, yeah. We’ve got a practice that we’re meeting with later today, and we did an evaluation. Danielle did a full sentiment evaluation of 900 of their reviews that they’ve gotten online. Of those 900, the top two complaints … There were three complaints overall, that trend. One, the number one was that the doctor was rude, which is interesting, because I guess sometimes doctors can be rude, but really that personal relationship with the physician is typically where we see the highest ratings, so that’s like a red flag. Then the second one is something related to the staff not being efficient, or calling them back fast, or them being rude. Then the third was patients kind of complaining that … questioning their diagnosis. We think that’s related to the fact that it’s an older population. As I get older, I get a little crankier, so I question a lot more things.

Corey: Yeah. It’s interesting too, because out of all of the complaints, I think it’s like two or three of the physicians, specifically in regard to being rude, they’re all younger, which I thought was surprising.

Jennifer: Yeah. I think that’s it.

Corey: Yeah. I’m curious. If you’re listening to this and you have some younger docs that are getting that same type of feedback, if you have any insight into why, we’d love to talk about that.

Jennifer: Yeah. Absolutely. So, we have one of our other trainings. When we rolled out the training solution, our on demand solution, we have coupled it with in person workshops, because we find that when you’re doing on demand training, it’s more effective when you have an in person element that goes with it. One of our trainings, one of our series of educational tracks is on communication across generations. We are seeing that you have to understand not only do you need soft skills, but you need to understand that your communication tactics are going to be different across those different generations.

Jennifer: So, I think that’s interesting to point out that some of the doctors who are being labeled as rude with this one practice are the younger doctors, because I will often think that somebody is being rude to me, because they’re not looking me in the eye, or they only want to text me, instead of talk to me. People no longer want to have that face to face interaction, but it’s typically a generational thing. The people leaving these reviews I have a sense are a little bit older, and they just need to be communicated with in a different way.

Corey: Yeah. Well, I mean, if you think about one of the examples in the training course that we have, I think it applies here to. It’s if someone calls and they need directions to your office for an appointment, if you assume that that person is 25, you don’t really have to give them directions, because you know that they’ll just Google it or figure it out. If they’re 75, you may have to explain it in a very different way, and use landmarks, and actually sort of hold their hand a little bit more, and kind of walk them through that, and not because they’re not capable or anything. It’s just because if they ask for directions … If you told me to go Google something, I’d be like, “Okay,” and I wouldn’t think anything about it, but if I was a little bit older and you said the same thing to me, I would think that you’re being rude and short and you don’t want to talk to me. It’s just a matter of how you communicate.

Jennifer: I feel like we have to give a plug for the training, because for less than $100 per year, per employee, you can train your employees on what these soft skills might be and how to communicate with patients and coworkers that are of different generations. I mean, every conference that we’ve been to this year, every medical conference I feel like we’re talking more and more about how to hire across generations, how to retain employees that are across generations, but it’s not necessarily translating to training our employees on these key differences. There are some real key differences. Let’s go into how this McKinsey report is talking about how automation, but specifically we’re not expecting automation to take over medical practices, but I think there’s a certain level of expectation when it comes to automation that our practices should be aware of. What are one or two things that we should pay attention to?

Corey: Yeah. As we were saying, these jobs in retail and food service, let’s say that some of these entry level jobs start to go away. The employees will not have some level of these soft skills, of what we were talking about. As that starts to happen and it becomes mainstream, outside of medical, patients are going to expect a certain level of automation, specifically in larger markets, when they go to your practice. That can be something like a self check in, where they can just sort of walk in and there’s an iPad or something, and they type in whatever, and then they go sit down, and someone just comes out and calls them.

Corey: Another thing that we’re seeing in regards to automation on a patient side, there’s some exciting stuff that’s coming in regards to text messaging. I was talking to a practice yesterday I believe it was. I had a meeting with an ophthalmology practice, and he was saying that there’s a text service where essentially what happens is you’re enrolled in this sort of automatic text, and then depending on what your procedure is, it will prep you prior to the surgery and then following the surgery. What that does for his office specifically is, one, it provides a better level of care. Two, it will reduce phone calls to the office, so everything there can run a little bit smoother. Three, the patients report that they feel like they were provided with exceptional care, because there was always a reminder or something handy, because everyone has their smartphone on them, and you sort of expect that level at this point.

Jennifer: Yeah. I think it applies to patients and their expectations, but I think it also applies to employees, especially to new hires. From an automation standpoint, if you’ve got folks that are coming out of school … and the McKinsey report kind of dives into this, and there’s a lot of conversation about this report on social media, on LinkedIn. It’s interesting to hear some of the stories that the younger folks, who said, “Look. I couldn’t find that entry level job, so I had to hustle and do all these different gigs in order to piecemeal it together. Then five years after I graduated college I finally landed something that I’m going to consider maybe a career path.” Because there’s this gig economy and there’s this different … just the definition of work is a little bit different now, that you’ve got employees that are coming in, and they’re used to using certain automation in communication tools.

Jennifer: So, as a medical practice, if you’re operating on some old ass Microsoft Windows platform computer that doesn’t have speakers, and you’ve got employees that are coming in, and they’re used to basically doing everything on a $1,000 smart phone or a brand new Mac, and they’re used to using Slack to have communication, and they’re used to these different kind of communication tools, you can’t take that square peg and fit it into a round holes that’s always worked for you. If you do that, you’re not going to attract the best and the brightest, or you’re not even going to attract the ones that are going to stick around for more than three weeks, because you can’t expect them to go backwards 25 years in communication when they’ve been used to kind of jumping from one thing to the next and utilizing technology to work for them.

Corey: Yeah. I mean, everybody wants a shiny, new toy, right?

Jennifer: Heck yeah.

Corey: You know? If, like you said, they’re using older technology that, one, it’s going to frustrate them, because they don’t know how to use it, especially if it’s slow. I was talking to a foot and ankle surgeon I think it was last week, and she was trying to pull up an MRI on a Microsoft tablet, like a newer tablet. It wasn’t old, but she eventually got so frustrated she wound up throwing it on the table and was like, “This is criminal how slow this is. Think about how this affects how I can provide care to patients, because I have to wait on this stupid thing to load every single day.”

Jennifer: Yes. Think about that’s just the doctor. Think about all the support team that’s responsible for making the doctor look good.

Corey: Exactly. That slows down everything. Yeah. So, it’s hard to not only attract and retain people in the front, or the MAs, or what have you, but all the way up to physicians too. They get frustrated by that stuff too, just like everybody else.

Jennifer: I think there’s something to be said about, I mean, I know that there’s a lot of patchwork when it comes to finding the right kind of automation or technology tools for medical practices, but there’s no reason not to figure it out, because we talk about this internally all the time. We may not have a perfect technology solution that’s going to automate and make it seamless across the board for certain projects that we work on, but darn skippy we’re going to find a way to get some duct tape out, and duct tape a couple of solutions together, and find a way to make them work together in order to make it seamless for the patient, for the provider, or for the employee. A lot of times you got to fake it ’til you make it, and you’ve got to be willing to try some new technology in order to make your employees happy, to make things run more efficient, and really to satisfy the kind of evolving needs of patients and the expectation.

Corey: Yeah. Just think. If you’re 2% more efficient, does that mean that one of your providers can see another patient or two? Does that mean that someone at the call center can make four or five more calls in a day? By doing either come sort of new technology, or maybe it’s an automation, maybe it’s jut being a little bit more flexible in your communication, whatever the case may be, those small changes, maybe they can add up to a big difference.

Jennifer: Absolutely. We can kind of end it here, but one tool that we’ve been using more and more of is a tool called Zapier, Z-A-P-I-E-R. Zapier helps us automate some of the things that we’re doing and helps us automate some of the things for our practice. Why don’t you explain what that is, Corey?

Corey: Yeah. It’s basically a way where you can sort of string things together without any coding knowledge. For example, you could say have a Google sheet set up in the backend of your office, and every time a field is entered or changed on the Google sheet, it sends a notification to Jill at the front. It just sends a little email notification. So, rather than having Jill log in and look at this sheet twice a day or have to set a reminder to go look at it once a week or whatever, she can just get a notification when something changes. There’s no coding involved. It’s just you going to Zapier and saying, “Okay. When this happens over here, I want this other thing to happen over here.” Then you test it, and you hit go, and you’re off and running.

Jennifer: Yeah. An example that we rolled it out is we have a practice that’s pretty large, 330, 340 employees. They use our training platform. The way we were doing it was when they would hire new people or fire people, they would send us an email, and we would input that employee’s information into the system. Then it would automatically send the new employee log in credentials, along with the first module for their employee handbook. They took their 87 page employee handbook, broke it into five digital training modules that are 10 minutes a piece, and then they have little tests, so that the employee, the new hire, has to verify that they understand what’s in the employee handbook and they understand their vision, mission, values, things of that nature.

Jennifer: We got tired of doing this, because they’re in a hot market, and so they have a lot of turnover. So, we built a little form online. Now, we sent that form to the HR department. HR department gets somebody new, they enter in the information. Then we built a zap in there, which is kind of the lingo for using Zapier. We built a zap, and then every time the HR manager puts it in there we get bypassed, so we don’t have to do any more work. It automatically adds them to the system, and the whole thing is automated. I’m not cutting Corey out by automating his job, but the fact is I freed up probably an hour of time on somebody on his team per week who would have just gone in there and had to do this manually. Now, it’s an automated process. Zapier is a game changer. Not necessarily if you’re dealing with PHI, but there’s things in your office that you could definitely automate using a tool like Zapier.

Corey: Yeah. They have a lot of what’s called recipes. They will already have these things sort of made up, and you just have to plug in your credentials and tell it what you want it to do. In the example that Jen was talking about, when the HR department fills out this form, behind the scenes it actually takes care of like six different things, just by the HR person hitting submit. It’s fantastic.

Jennifer: That’s good stuff. I mean, you could set that up where you have a new hire, you put them into the training. It automatically sends an email to somebody over in another department. It could roll out their on-boarding document. I mean, there’s so many things.

Corey: Yeah. It’s endless really.

Jennifer: There’s a way to automate a lot of things, but, well, you can’t automate our soft skills. I think that’s where we need to end it today. I’ve got some great soft skills. I don’t know that I’ve got hard skills, but I’ve got some good soft ones. We’ll go with that. I’m Jennifer.

Corey: I’m Corey.

Jennifer: We’ll see you next time on the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast. Thanks a bunch.

Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to the DrMarketingTips.com Podcast. If there’s anything from today’s show you want to learn more about, check out DrMarketingTips.com for our podcast resource center with all the notes, links, and goodies we mentioned during the show. If you’re not already a subscriber to our show, please consider pressing the subscribe button on your podcast player, so you never miss one of our future episodes. And if you haven’t given us a rating or review yet on iTunes, please find a spare minute and help us reach and educate even more of our medical practice peers. Thanks again for listening, and we’ll catch you next time, doctors orders.

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