If you are a medical office manager for a busy healthcare practice, you know just how many hats you have to wear. Everyone from the patients to the staff to the practitioners depend on and come to you for guidance and assistance. So first, let us be the first to say: Hat’s off to you! You are quite an impressive individual!
With all the roles you play, it’s normal to wonder once in a while, how you are possibly going to get everything done. However, if you’re finding yourself stressed and frazzled on most days and struggling to catch up, it may be time to give your operation processes a thorough review. Here are some first steps to get you started.
1. Analyze Current Processes
Whether you are new to an existing practice or have been in your position for several years, staying current is always important. Start with an analysis of your practice’s policies and procedures. Describe the structure of your practice so you can look for ways to improve it.
Begin your analysis by conducting a SWOT analysis. According to a report in Physicians Practice,“Conducting an analysis of your medical practice’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (a SWOT analysis) can help your practice identify what its primary areas of focus should be in the coming year or years.”
As you work through your analysis, be sure that you view your business from the perspective of all your constituents. This includes patients, staff, practitioners, vendors, consultants and any other groups who are integral to your practice.
Whether you do a full SWOT analysis or use another technique for your analysis, the important thing is to take a good hard look at current operations, so that you can move towards optimizing your medical practice. While doing your analysis you will uncover a long list of items that need improvement. Don’t panic, if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed that means you’ve likely done a good job on your analysis.
2. Prioritize Areas of Improvement
Now it’s time to whittle down and prioritize your list. For many practice managers this is the biggest challenge. When you are responsible for everything — everything is important. There are several ways to organize areas that need improvement. You could use the squeaky-wheel approach, giving your immediate attention to things that are broken and causing the most stress. You could do the opposite, by ranking the issues from easiest to most difficult to solve. This technique allows you to knock-out a handful of small problems first (such as adding better patient instructions to your web site) while you take your time to research solutions for the bigger items (such as converting to a new EHR system).
Once you’ve prioritized your issues, be sure to run your list by both providers and staff. Listen to all the advice and opinions. This will help you get as much information about each issue as possible. Be flexible enough to change and reorganize your list as often as necessary. This will ensure that you have everyone’s cooperation when you are ready to implement changes.
3. Investigate Solutions
Here are some resources to help you get started in your research:
As an office manager, you already have the very qualities that will help you succeed, including the desire to find the perfect solution to a problem. According to a Futuredontics survey, “…office managers report that the time being spent on each activity is more appropriately balanced than in previous years, due in part to widespread increases in staffing and adoption of various industry tools and services.” The good news is that today there are more apps, software bundles and agencies available to medical offices than ever before.
Don’t forget to try our patient reminder demo!