With a focus on excellent patient care, Rockingham Maternity & Family Practice has been recognised by HealthEngine users as one of Australia’s Top 100 General Practices for the second year running! But, it hasn’t always been plain sailing. We caught up with Jessica, the team’s Practice Manager, to learn more:
Rockingham Maternity and Family Practice is a growing practice, offering GP services as well as comprehensive maternity care. They opened their doors in January 2014 with a team of two GP Obstetricians and four regular GPs, as well as midwives, Sally and Deb for maternity care.
Finding new patients wasn’t always easy!
Two of the biggest hurdles the practice has faced since opening their doors have come in the form of location and perception. The Rockingham practice is not located on a main road so they don’t have the advantage of footfall or street signage to help people discover them. Also, the practice’s name often misleads people into thinking that they only offer maternity care rather than General Practice services.
Despite the initial challenges, the team at Rockingham Maternity & Family Practice weren’t easily flustered. They focused on growing the practice from the ground up. They wanted to spread the word about the practices and multitude of services they offered (4D imaging services, CTG machines etc). They also deeply valued patient feedback and wanted to collect as much of it as possible.
Today, they’re enjoying the success of being celebrated as one of Australia’s Top 100 General Practices for the second year running!
How They Did It:
Speaking to Jess, the Practice Manager at Rockingham Maternity & Family Practice, it was clear that there were many reasons why this practice has enjoyed sustained growth and loyalty from their patients. During our chat, 5 main themes emerged:
1) Putting Patient Care at the heart of everything they do
“Everything we implement here is about the patient”
Jess and the team are firm believers that “Word of Mouth” is the most important thing for keeping patients returning to this Rockingham practice so they really focus on having a respected name for patient care in their local community.
This starts with the staff having deep and genuine relationships with patients and setting up the whole clinic with a focus on the privacy and comfort. It’s the little things that matter, like putting TVs in the waiting room for patients to watch while waiting for CTG results.
The team also send out SMS reminders the day before of GP appointments and make a special effort to call patients who have bad news – often sending flowers and continuing to call and check in to make sure patients have support.
A courteous tip from Jess: “Call elderly patients an hour before to let them know they can come down to their appointment”
Due to the nature of the maternity side of the business, one might expect very high patient turnover. While it’s true that many patients do travel (in many cases, long distances) to see them just for their maternity services, retention is still high with patients often trusting the Rockingham team with their child’s care thereafter.
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2) Continuously Improving Patient Care and Experience
Even with all these good intentions and initiatives, Rockingham Maternity and Family still love to hear from their patients. They know that feedback is fundamental to their success.
Jess explains that the team “review it and see what we are doing right and what needs improving.”
Simple, right? Not always!
The team found that patients were aware that they could be seen putting feedback into the feedback box in the practice itself.
HealthEngine’s feedback tool has allowed the practice’s patients to offer feedback in a more anonymous fashion, which Jess tells us has helped tremendously
“They can be as honest as they want.”
They still do over the counter feedback boxes and once every 2 years they do a printed survey to stay accredited with RACGP.
3) Happier Team – Happier Patients
Rockingham haven’t had any new staff since they opened the doors in January 2014.
All the staff have were picked for both ability and empathetic personalities. As it happens, they have all had kids. They’re the kind of team that remember patients names and their kids’ names too.
The practice has staff meetings every 4-6 weeks for reception staff as well as regular meetings for both doctors and nurses.
Everyone on the long-standing team has had customer service training. They also make an effort to have staff morning teas and lunches together – keeping it a positive atmosphere with the team fosters a good atmosphere for patient care.
The team understand that patients can have high emotions when they come to a practice and they work to make all patients comfortable. There’s a host of bubbly, outgoing and calm personalities – portraying the image of the practice to the patients.
4) The Tools
The Rockingham team have had HealthEngine in place for 4 years in an effort to deliver seamless patient care.
They currently use:
- Online Booking System (To easily accept bookings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
- Featured Listings (To ensure patients see their practice first when they’re ready to book)
- Professional Profile (To make their practice go from out-of-sight to top-of-mind quickly and easily)
- Patient Match (To fill gaps in their practice appointment book)
Finally, we asked Jess:
“What would happen if HealthEngine were to disappear from your practice tomorrow?”
She explained that they would see a decrease in patient numbers and that receptionists would be “inundated with calls again.” Also, it “wouldn’t be easy for patients to book after hours – we currently see patients booking in at 11 pm sometimes.”