9 Benefits of Certifying Everyone in Your Practice
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 9:00 AM
Providing the best possible patient care is paramount to running a successful ophthalmic practice. One of the best ways to continually reach your “best practice” patient care objective is to ensure everyone in the practice is trained to the highest professional level possible.
In the past few years, ophthalmology has made significant strides in providing professional certification options for technicians, scribes, optical, front-office staff, billing office personnel, and administrators. Ophthalmology is a complex profession. Certification helps establish that the individuals working in eye care are capable and competent in their areas of expertise.
A certify-everyone goal is significant, as it aims to demonstrate a level of competence that meets the needs of patients, staff, and owners. Here is a look at the benefits of certifying everyone in your practice.
Promotes the belief that there is a professional standard throughout the organization. There is a standard of professionalism that must be achieved to care for the medical needs of others. Physicians and other providers spend years obtaining their knowledge, and they continue to complete continuing education every year. Practices that invest in 100 percent certification demonstrate that a professional standard is required for the entire team, regardless of one’s position in the office.
Increases and verifies everyone’s knowledge and capabilities. Certification exams are designed to test staff on knowledge acquired from clinical experience and advanced study materials. Some certification programs have a waiting period before a staff member can complete certification (i.e., six months to a year). The study and certification process should increase each staff members’ knowledge and competence for their particular position.
Credentials staff members with their coworkers. When staff members take the time and effort to achieve certification, they clearly demonstrate that they have obtained a higher level of knowledge. As a result, staff members often feel they have earned the respect of their coworkers. Management (and the whole office) will be reassured knowing they work alongside capable colleagues who have a viable, professional career in ophthalmology.
Validates everyone’s contribution to the team. Certification programs assist staff in demonstrating how each role is vital to practice success. As medicine becomes increasingly complex, staff knowledge needs to be at a level where each position can impact and support other team members. Professional certification helps endorse staff members with other team members and patients.
Credentials staff members with patients. Patients walking the halls look at physician diplomas and credentials. These documents instill patient confidence in the doctors. When patients are working with staff members and can see their professional certifications as well, they will have more trust in the staff members.
Increases individual confidence and pride. Practices are consistently looking for ways to keep employees engaged and measure staff satisfaction and productivity. Certification programs not only assist employees with the knowledge needed to do their jobs, but professional certification can provide boosts in self-assurance and poise. Many staff members experience joy and increased self-esteem when they achieve professional certification, which translates to a happy, positive, and productive staff.
Boosts an individual’s eligibility for promotions and pay increases. While some practices require certification, others may choose to offer certification as a staff growth opportunity. If certification is optional, a practice can quickly identify staff members who wish to go "above and beyond" in their professional development. Many practices also link certification to an increase in pay or the ability to obtain a promotion. Increasingly, staff members who wish to advance within the practice must be certified to move up the organizational ladder.
Demonstrates the practice values continuing education. Once a staff member becomes certified, most certification programs offer the option of becoming recertified within a specific period. To become recertified, staff members need to complete a particular number of hours of continuing education. By providing the opportunity for staff to continue their growth and knowledge, the practice can set itself apart as an employer that is demonstrably committed to having a highly trained team.
Elevates a practice’s reputation. Certifying your entire staff is a potent reputation enhancer. Practices should make every effort to publicize and market that fact. Achieving a certify-everyone goal is an essential and impressive accomplishment. It is highly likely that extremely few, if any, other practice in the market will be able to boast of such a success. It sets you apart from the competition, and the public needs to be made aware of this fact regularly. Practices should announce the success of their staff through their website, patient newsletters, social media outlets, and throughout the physical building.
Accepting the commitment to certify your entire staff is a significant undertaking, especially in today's hectic business climate, where everyone always seems to be at capacity. One-hundred percent certification requires total buy-in from management to staff. It also necessitates a full commitment of the requisite time and resources. The end result, however, is likely to be happy, motivated staff and satisfied patients.
CERTIFICATION FOR YOUR PATIENT-FACING STAFF: BSM created the Certified Patient Service Specialist (CPSS) program to advance and acknowledge the professionalism of ophthalmic staff. Our online certification and continuing education program focuses on elevating the patient experience in eye care. Learn more about the program at the CPSS website.