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It’s that time of year when everyone commits to improving their lives for the better. While you make New Year’s resolutions for yourself or your family, have you ever thought about making them for your urgent care business? Did you resolve to be a better leader? Maybe you decided to finally revamp those employee reviews? Or perhaps your goal was to focus on making the organization leaner?

Like your personal resolutions, how long did you stick with them? A couple of months? A couple of weeks? Or did you never get started?

Perhaps like a lot of goals—or resolutions—the trick is to make them less grand and more achievable. Try focusing on improving those areas that have the most impact on representing who your business is and how you choose to conduct your services. It doesn’t have to be hard, maybe it doesn’t even have to be measurable, like a normal goal. After all, we’re talking New Year’s resolutions here. So, let’s keep them simple.

New Year’s resolutions for your urgent care:
A: Always put the patient first.
B: Be the leader you would follow.
C: Champion your best employees.

Too simple? Sound corny? Just think about it for a moment because these simple resolutions can help you create (or recreate) a top-notch urgent care that focuses on the right principals.

Always Put the Patient First

Are your receptionists more concerned with their personal conversations or Facebook statuses than to warmly greet a patient as he or she walks through the front door? How about your practitioners and clinical staff; do they apologize for any delays when they enter the exam room or first address the patient? Do they offer any comfort items like tissues to the patient with obvious cold symptoms, ice packs to patients with trauma, or a warm blanket to a patient with the flu? Small touches resonate much larger when the patient feels as though they are more than just another faceless person being shuffled through the doors.

How about the patient who is complaining loudly about his or her care, the wait time, or their bill? Do you or your staff become instantly defensive? Or do you try to step back and understand that the patient who is complaining feels utterly miserable and perhaps had unrealistic expectations about their care? No one likes to be yelled at, but remember that healthcare is a service industry too. The biggest difference is that our customers aren’t always in the best frame of mind—many times we have to cut them extra slack. They might not always thank you for it, but many will recognize that you coolly listened and attempted to resolve their issue. Putting the patient first will reap far more rewards for your center than it will ever cost.

Be the Leader You Would Follow

This might be the hardest of the three resolutions to initiate. There is a wealth of books, blogs, and Facebook posts on how to be a great leader. If you don’t know how, there are webinars and courses in exotic places that can tell or teach you what you’re either doing wrong or how to do it better.

The truth of the matter is pretty simple; would you follow you? Do you jump into the trenches with the staff when it’s needed? Do you promote learning instead of point out faults and shortcomings? Do you model positive behavior when talking to people—patients, vendors, and contacts—in front of your staff? Everyone can improve somewhere, so focus on making changes to be the person—and leader—both you and your staff willingly and proudly wants to follow.

Champion Your Best Employees

Like the previous two resolutions, this one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s one of the most overlooked activities in any business—not just urgent care operations. Whether you have a formal Human Resources department or it’s all on you as the owner, your time and focus always ends up on the problem staff members, not the ones who excel.

It’s fairly normal for a certain amount of your time to be spent counseling, documenting, or unfortunately—disciplining staff members. However, neglecting to recognize the good or even the great work and behavior of those staff members who continually do their job or go above and beyond inevitably will come back to haunt you.

Good staff (especially great staff) simply will not remain in a position long-term where they do not feel appreciated. It really doesn’t take much to shift your focus on those staff members who make you look great. Simple little things like a random Starbucks gift card or buying lunch when you have a great crew working can change the game. Invest in your good to great staff. Remember, they represent you. And best of all, they will be the ones that will help you achieve your other New Year’s resolutions. They will help you consistently put patients first and help you be a better leader.

So, 2017 is here and there are undoubtedly dozens of things you’d like to achieve for your urgent care. Perhaps these simple resolutions can help you focus on the things that are important in your day-to-day interactions and elevate you, and your business, to the next level.