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    The cost of disengagement in the practice

    Disengagement in the workplace is bad. And it’s common.

    Amy Koon, chief operations officer at the medical practice management firm Keystone Medical, says her company experienced growing pains when the Spokane, Washington-based firm signed on more practices and added personnel. Some employees were fired up and excited about the work, while others only did as much work as necessary.

    In early 2016, Gallup released data suggesting the same:  About two-thirds of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their jobs.

    The apparent lack of engagement and subsequent consequences to Keystone Medical’s clients and bottom line, led Koon and colleagues to dig into what was going on and try to fix it.

    Koon presented her findings and solutions for dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons and others at the May 2017 Aesthetics and Medical Dermatology symposia in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

    “We researched and went over this for about two years and tried a bunch of things. Then, we had some really successful results and started sharing them with our dermatology clients,” Koon says.

    The principles, she says, can be implemented anywhere teams of people work together. And, teams are different, depending on the practice type. Team members might be providers staff, front desk and back office people, for example.


    Koon says the first challenge for many practices is to realize employee engagement needs attention. “Most of our offices want to talk about how they can increase revenue, or what kind of lasers they should get or procedures they should do,” Koon says.

    While those are valid questions, employee disengagement is common. It can eat away at a practice’s bottom line, regardless of a its reimbursement, technology or service offerings.

    Practices, according to Koon, cannot fully fulfill their revenue potential with poor team management and disengaged staff.

    “We talk about what is the actual cost of employee turnover — when employees don’t stay and you’ve invested in training time and benefits. We show practices that when they have inefficient, poorly executed workflows, there’s a toll to revenue,” Koon says.

    Having a poorly engaged or disengaged staff results in increased payroll costs and errors, which contributes to liability and malpractice. The lack of engagement contributes to diminished productivity and patient flow, which obviously impacts revenue and product sales, she says.

    “These contribute to poor patient and customer experience, which impacts patient retention and reputation within the community, which, over time, starts to erode that revenue for the practice,” Koon says.

    NEXT:  What People Want

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...


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