Guided Team Meeting: The Impact of Emergencies

July 1, 2000
This month, we have a very simple exercise for you and your team: investigate the impact emergencies have had on your practice. You`ll need to do a bit of research in preparation for your team meeting, so appoint one or two people to collect some data. We think it makes sense to look at the past six months, but feel free to examine any period of time. Here`s the process:

Sandy Roth and

Terry Goss

This month, we have a very simple exercise for you and your team: investigate the impact emergencies have had on your practice. You`ll need to do a bit of research in preparation for your team meeting, so appoint one or two people to collect some data. We think it makes sense to look at the past six months, but feel free to examine any period of time. Here`s the process:

1. Pull or print the day sheets for one day out of each week from the past six months in the following order: week one, Monday; week two, Tuesday; week three, Wednesday; and so on. This will give you a cross-section of days during a wide range of times of the year and about 24 days to review.

2. For each of those 24 day sheets, see how many patients were written in by hand or added at the last minute. Separate them into existing patients and new patients.

3. Pull the patient charts for each of the new patients. This group will be examined during your team meeting.

4. Divide the charts among the members.

5. Review the charts with the following questions in mind:

- How did this patient learn about our practice?

- What prompted him or her to call us at that particular time?

- How much did we learn about the patient`s symptoms before the patient came to the practice?

- How prepared was the patient for the appointment before coming in?

- Did we do palliative or more definitive treatment? Did we eliminate any options?

- Was the patient advised of fees in advance? Did we prepare the patient to pay for the services that day? Did the patient pay for the services?

- How did this appointment impact previously scheduled patients?

- Did this patient return for a proper examination later? If so, what was the outcome?

- How likely is this patient to become a long-term patient in our practice?

- What could we have done differently to have ensured a better relationship with this patient?

This simple team meeting project will likely generate a great deal of discussion. I hope it will get you and your team to think about how you might like to work with urgencies in the future. Best wishes to you all.

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