Core values are the foundation for running a successful business and are especially important for a medical practice. As an owner or manager of an ophthalmology practice, you no doubt live your life and do your job with a set of core values. Like most people, you probably have not actually defined them and put them in writing. We recommend that you decide what core values are important to you as an individual, and then how you want to incorporate them into your practice. If you are striving to run the best ophthalmology practice in your city or region, the most important thing is to create an organizational culture that reflects your core values.
Establishing a set of core values is helpful in creating a team who can work together. Once you have considered the values that are most important, you may want to present them to your staff or to expand on them together as a group exercise.
How to Develop a Set of Core Values for Your Practice
Some core values will apply to how you want everyone to treat your patients. Others will involve expectations about how employees will behave and interact with each other. Below are some key concepts that you may want to integrate into the practice’s key values. You may want to create a more succinct list, or you may choose to focus on the core values most necessary to your situation. The list below is not all-encompassing but is intended as a tool to get you thinking about your own customized set of core values.
Core Values Related to Patient Care
- Our team will act with the utmost integrity at all times. We will communicate honestly and strive to build trust with patients and each other.
- We will provide excellent quality care for every patient we treat.
- We go the extra mile to be friendly and helpful to our patients. We take the time to understand each patient and address their needs and concerns.
- We treat every patient with dignity and respect, regardless of sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or age. We will strive to understand and honor cultural differences.
- We will adhere to the highest standards of safety for both patients and staff.
- We will always honor patient privacy and maintain the integrity of the medical record.
- We will partner with our patients to find the best and most affordable course of treatment for them.
Core Values Related to Employees
- We strive for respectful communication and collaboration as a team. Our goal is for all employees to achieve success. We provide support and opportunities for employees to learn and grow in their profession.
- We are an equal opportunity employer. We hire the best candidate for the job, regardless of sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or age.
- We are committed to providing an environment which is free of harassment or discrimination.
- We encourage employee empowerment, so that employees can safely raise concerns and make constructive suggestions.
- We encourage employees to take initiative and be innovative with ways to improve our patient flow and business systems. The management team respects employee privacy and will not discuss matters such as an employee’s health, family issues, or performance with other employees.
Core Values Regarding Business Practice
- We will continually strive for excellence in every aspect of our business.
- We will act with integrity and communicate honestly with patient families, community members, outside vendors, competitors, and payers.
- We will operate the business in an efficient, cost-effective manner, avoiding waste where possible.
- We will be progressive with regard to incorporating new patient care and business technology.
Incorporating Core Values into Your Practice
Once you have established your Core Values, you need to integrate them into your business. Obviously, the leaders of your organization must be the role models who exemplify these core values. Give every employee a copy in print. You might consider posting your Core Values on your website so that patients and potential new hires can see them. Perhaps you could get a Core Values poster made for your staff room. Reinforce these values and talk about them during staff meetings and in your daily conversations. It can be helpful to play out scenarios with employees. For example, have them describe a difficult interaction with a patient, and talk about the best response that reflects your Core Values.
Communicating the Core Values of your practice should become an important part of your interviewing and hiring process. Evaluate potential hires with them in mind. Ask potential candidates for employment to discuss how their skills and abilities would contribute to the goals and values of your organization. Even if they have good technical skills, will they be a good fit into the organizational culture you are trying to build? Be sure that all new employees receive a print copy of the Core Values as part of their orientation, have them sign it, and keep a copy in their employee file. This sends a message that you take your Core Values seriously and they may be useful in the future when having disciplinary conversations or doing performance reviews.
Developing the Core Values of your practice and incorporating them into everyday behaviors should be transformative to the culture and environment you are trying to create. It will lead to greater patient and employee satisfaction. Make this your New Year’s resolution! To learn more about how our consulting company can help your ophthalmology practice, contact Advantage Healthcare Consulting today.