Don’t let typos crush your practice’s reputation
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Medical personnel know attitude, tone and body language are key to patient satisfaction. I recently had the pleasure of visiting a practice where the atmosphere was great and the personnel were friendly.
That said, one thing killed the experience: document errors. After receiving one of their forms, I immediately noticed that HIPAA was spelled incorrectly as "HIPPA," which automatically made me think HIPPA-potomus. Although it was funny at the moment, I began to question the professionalism of this practice.
Here's a tip: If you think most of your patients won't care about spelling errors, think again. Ignoring these mistakes could be bad for business.
And it's not just spelling errors that are the issue. Using multiple fonts, paper types, logos, colors, etc., can all be considered bad moves. In order to avoid these petty mistakes, here are three tips to live by:
1. Follow your brand
Consistency is key when building your brand. If your practice doesn't already have one, it's time to build one.
In other words, you want to create a style guide for your office. This means a solid logo, font style, colors and paper type should all be determined for promotional and business materials. It should look like one person is writing and creating all materials — and they should all share the same "voice."
2. Let your layout flow
When you print out your document for proofreading, pay close attention to the flow. Does it easily read from left to right and top to bottom?
Usually, just one type face should be used for a business document, but using a different one for headlines is acceptable. If you use one, you can separate information by using different sizes, bold and italics. If you're using images, don't overload it. One or two images will suffice for a one-page document.
3. Give a fresh look
Don't rely on your spell-check from the computer. Print your materials out and read over them. Better yet, have someone else read them over for a fresh look. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one.
You want to make sure the structure of the document is logical, the punctuation is accurate and the words are easily readable. Don't let these common misspelled and misused words hurt you: affect vs. effect, loose vs. lose, there vs. their, or in the case I saw, HIPAA vs. HIPPA.
No matter what type of document your office is preparing, it's a necessity to proofread because it will benefit you more than you could imagine. Not only will you improve your reputation, but you'll also improve your communication with patients. They will understand the document better if it is proofread.
If you leave mistakes uncorrected, you're showing your patients that you either do not have the ability to properly edit, the document is unimportant and/or the document has no value. Mistakes can also lead to misunderstanding, which will tie up more of your time in order to explain the issue in more detail.
It's not easy to become a master at making all of your documents clear, concise and efficient. It will require both the knowledge of proofreading and patience. Medical practices are highly involved businesses, so time is precious for you, I know. All you need is 5-10 minutes before each new document is finalized and approved.
Don't let your patients be distracted by a HIPPA-potomus while visiting your practice. Instead, give them what they want — an easy process to get through, along with the accurate information needed.
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