You own your own medical practice or have a partnership with other physicians. You are grateful to be able to improve the health outcomes of patients within your community.
Overall, you love what you do.
However, there is more to running a practice than just treating patients. Your practice is a business, and businesses have several other managerial tasks beyond their main functions that must be completed.
The issue is you were trained to treat patients, not to run a business. Thus, you may not be adept at overseeing staff, workflow optimization, improving billing, or completing other business-related tasks.
But failure to address these managerial tasks in a timely manner will cause your practice to fall behind, even if you are the best in your field at treating patients.
So how do you handle the business side of things if you are not a business expert?
The good news is that if managing the business side of your practice is not within your area of expertise, there are effective management solutions to keep your medical practice thriving as much as your patients are!
To help, we have put together seven solutions to improve the performance of your staff.
This list is not exhaustive, but it will give you an idea of what is possible.
Keep reading for easy answers on how to optimize workflow, scheduling, staffing, and more.
Then, reach out for more ways to improve your practice management so you can focus on what you do best: practicing medicine!
1. Start at the Top
Every successful entrepreneur knows you cannot do it all yourself.
You need to hire and delegate. To do so successfully, you first need to learn what strategies and tactics to implement for optimal practice performance. There is no need to know the nitty-gritty details, but you do need an overview.
A professional physician-practice consultant can help you with this. They provide an objective, outside perspective of your practice. This perspective can assist you in establishing a strategic plan to improve your practice operations as well as to determine the appropriate staffing needs for certain functions of your business.
Once you know what you need, you can hire someone to create a strategic plan and hire the right staff to implement it.
Think of it like building a sports team. As the owner of the team, you first hire a coach. The coach determines which positions need to be filled and the players you need to hire. The coach helps you hire the best players for each position and then trains the team.
2. Plan Your Strategy and Hire a Great Team
Start by working with your consultant/coach to come up with an overall business strategy for the win!
Next, lean on your consultant/coach’s experience in effective medical practice staffing to determine your specific staffing needs to get your strategic plan in play.
To start, come up with a task flow chart.
Form clear descriptions of the responsibilities involved in each task as well as the required skill set needed to perform the task effectively.
Then, you will need to hire someone for each task.
This way, you will have a dedicated person working on each task, ensuring the highest quality result for each task.
Yes, hiring and delegating does cost money and time.
However, you have to think of hiring and delegating as an investment into your practice, rather than an expense.
3. Train and Empower Your Team
Make sure everyone is well-trained in their designated task – from your office manager and medical coder to your physician’s assistant to your accountant and marketing person.
Inform each member of your team of your strategic plan’s big picture and the respective role each team member plays in achieving it.
Empower your staff with the information needed to do their jobs. Provide cross-training for employees as well so they are educated on the roles other workers in the office perform.
In addition, encourage your staff to ask questions if they do not know or understand something. Doing so will create a friendly working environment where employees are praised to seek help when needed.
As for your patients, empower them with information to better understand their health and the action plan for treatment. Encourage them to ask questions during treatment as well.
4. Keep a Tight Schedule
Obtain a digital medical practice scheduling system that everyone can access online – providers, office staff, and even patients via a patient dashboard.
Train your office manager to oversee the system and become a champion user for training purposes. Ensure that all staff members are thoroughly trained to run the system and comfortable with educating other staff members and patients on how to use it.
Determine how many patients per hour you can comfortably and effectively see. Clearly communicate this with your office manager and staff so they book the appropriate number of patients without overloading your practice.
5. Keep Your Team Happy
A happy staff makes for an efficient staff. They take time with patients, think on their feet to solve problems, ask questions when necessary, and generally care about the success of your practice as much as you do.
In short, you care about them, and they reciprocate their care in their work.
Also, the work environment has a material impact on your team’s well-being.
In fact, you can improve the health of your staff as well with things like employee fitness benefits, standing desks and other ergonomic options, and nutritious lunches. According to a report from Forbes, you will receive approval among the majority of your staff, as 87 percent of workers would like their current employer to offer healthier workplace benefits.
You can also create a comfortable and bright workspace design that is relatively open but still offers some privacy.
Keep communication channels open and create enjoyable team-building activities outside of work. Doing so will inspire a friendly culture and help team members establish better chemistry with each other. It will pay off when your team works better together, which will help to run your practice more efficiently.
6. Maintain Open Communication with Patients
Make it easy for your staff to communicate with your patients. Set up simple communication channels for them to connect you to patients as well.
For better communication with your patients, implement patient surveys. These can be completely digitally, allowing for easy gathering of data.
Encourage your staff to check-in when possible as well. They can provide insight into how your patients feel about other aspects of your practice you might not regularly interact with during the day.
7. Keep It Digital and Friendly, Too
There are so many things you can do digitally to optimize workflow. When everyone has all the information at their fingertips, they are empowered to act and solve problems on the spot.
The trick is to first get the best system in your office and ensure that everyone is trained in it.
Then, keep communication open so there is a human touch when you are presented with a non-standard issue. This dual approach will ensure everyone is happy.
Writing prescriptions digitally, for example, is a huge time saver for everyone. This allows patients to get what they need more quickly. Also, your staff can follow through with patients to ensure they have what they need and answer any questions if issues arise.
Make the Move to Workflow Optimization and a Better-Running Practice Today
Now that you know some easy practice management solutions – like workflow optimization and staff training – you are ready to implement them and learn more.
We are here to help with both, so please give us a call today to set up a consultation or address any questions. Our goal is to help independent physicians maintain their focus on patient outcomes, so their practices can grow and run smoothly.