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Visiting Hours: How to Prepare for an Onsite Visit to a Colleague's Practice

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 9:00 AM

Expert Advice

Written by: BSM staff

While there are many ways for proactive administrators to obtain professional information — ASOA Eyemail, industry meetings, professional organizations, vendors, the internet, and blogs — sometimes the best way to learn is to see something with your own eyes.

Visiting a colleague’s practice to evaluate or observe a product, program, service, or process requires a great deal of preparation to ensure the house call is worthwhile and productive. Overall, your goal is to make your visit as efficient as possible.

Follow these tips to make the most of your visit.

Do your research. It is important to learn as much as you can about the subject beforehand. Do your homework. Conduct the requisite research. You don’t want to spend valuable onsite time getting up to speed. You need to be organized and ready the moment your visit starts.

Contact vendors. Scheduling a vendor demonstration — or multiple demonstrations if you are still evaluating several products — is a valuable way to prepare for a subsequent onsite visit to a colleague’s practice. Combining a vendor demo with a real-time visit to a working practice is a great way to “see” the whole package. Some vendors will even help pay for onsite visits to practices already using their product.

Prepare a list of questions. Use your research to compile a list of questions and send them to your colleague ahead of time. This will help them prepare and be ready for you. They might even be able to answer some of your questions beforehand, thus saving valuable onsite time for other, more complex questions and/or demonstrations.

Create an itinerary. Work with your colleague to develop a detailed itinerary. Together, you can identify the people you will need and when you will need them. You don’t want to unnecessarily “blow up” people’s days. Remember, you will be there on a workday. Everyone is busy and your colleague has a practice to run.

Verify if you can take photos/videos. Today’s modern phones and cameras make it simple to record important aspects of your visit. Ask upfront if your colleague has any objections to you using these technologies to help you remember important visit/demonstration details. Combining photos and videos with written notes will ensure you have captured all the important details.

Ask upfront for related resources. Ask your colleague for any visit-related tools, forms, plans, and materials (e.g., samples of action plans, staff training, and patient education) they use that they might be willing to share upfront to help you prepare.

Be rested and ready. Make sure your travel itinerary meets the visit timeframe and schedule. You want to be fresh and energetic when the visit starts. Get a good night’s sleep and eat well. Bring a favorite snack to make sure you can maintain your energy level throughout the visit.

The truth is that most top-performing practices share similar challenges and experiences. As a result, chances are that known and respected colleagues understand your situation and would be delighted to share their knowledge and insight during an onsite visit to their practice. All you have to do is ask.

The above is an excerpt from "Visitation Rights — Getting the Most Out of an Onsite Visit to a Colleague's Practice," winner of a 2016 APEX Award in the How-to Writing category. APEX awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. Visit apexawards.com to learn more.

Read the full award-winning article here.

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