Even though you may not be able to prevent a crisis from affecting your practice, there are ways to prepare for them. In fact, preparing for an impending crisis could be one of the most important tasks a practice administrator can complete.
Implement operational procedures
One of the best ways to pre-empt a crisis is to have processes that prevent them. There should be operational procedures for providing care, billing, scheduling, facility safety, patient privacy and communication that give little room for a crisis to build. When creating procedures, it best to approach a situation from all angles and think about potential problems. After implementing procedures, keep an eye on how they’re working and make changes as needed.
Identify the greatest risks and threats
Like any business, there will be possible risks and threats to the business that can be easily identified. Make a list of all the risks and threats to your practice such as malpractice, negative publicity and safety that could become a crisis situation.
Make a plan for each crisis
Any public relations professional will tell you planning is key to diffusing a crisis situation, but the plan needs to be in place before the crisis ever happens. Creating a plan of how to respond and implementing it before the crisis happens ensures your team will abide by the plan and be able to react swiftly to a crisis. If done well, it also means your team may be able to regain control of the situation.
Use your plan, edit and analyze
Begin your plan after a crisis hits, but plan to meet with your team of decision makers, advisors such as legal and communications counsels, and staff soon after. Decide if you should continue with your plan, or make changes if needed. And you should always analyze how the plan worked or didn’t work when the dust has settled.
Planning for a crisis situation may seem overwhelming, but it should be a part of your practice’s processes. Working without a plan can leave your practice vulnerable and make the crisis worse. If your team doesn’t have the expertise, meet with legal or communications advisors who can direct your team in how to respond to a crisis and manage it.