Communicating change to staff members
- On 02/05/2016
For any change to your billing structure to be successful, you have to prepare both staff and patients. The most crucial element of your preparation is communication. Here is a quick guide to help you implement changes to your fee.
Make a plan
Develop a very detailed plan of the changes to your billing structure, which patients will be affected, procedures that will need to be implemented, and most importantly, a timeline to implement the plan. Also include long-term changes and improvements you are hoping to make to the process. If patients and staff are going to accept increased fees, they will want to see an improvement in the overall quality of service they are receiving.
Appoint someone to lead the change process and ensure they are publicly committed to the change, are willing to put the resources in place to make the change process go as smoothly as possible, and ensure the process is fully implemented on deadline.
It’s extremely important staff members are on board with any changes to billing structure. For some it will be an uncomfortable conversation with patients, particularly in clinics where staff members have been working for a long time and have developed relationships with patients, or in smaller areas where your staff see patients who are neighbours, friends and relatives. Ensure staff members understand the change, can see why it’s necessary, and also perceive the benefits.
Give your staff the tools to communicate the change in billing structure to patients. Some staff members will benefit from having a script that they can use to respond to concerns from patients. A script is also a good way to ensure there is consistency in the message that staff deliver to patients. Also, ensure that staff members are familiar with new accounting processes and billing methods.
Encourage staff members to share feedback from patients about the change in billing structure, as well as service, quality of care and overall satisfaction. Are your patients seeing increased value for their money? If not, what changes can you make to improve your offering?
Once the initial changes have been communicated and settled, it is often easy to forget about it and move on. But it’s still important to check in with staff – offer coaching or support and to get updates from them on patient reaction.