Make Your Medical Practice Run More Smoothly

Posted on  April 10, 2018


Let’s get one thing straight from the start – you are not running your medical practice. While you get your head around that notion, think about the group of patients you see in your waiting room every day. All of them are waiting in anticipation of their name to be called.

They run your practice.

The person on the front desk, the office manager and the rest of your staff – they run your practice. The telephone and computer systems, the accounts department, your insurance provider – they all run your practice, too.

It’s probably happened so gradually that you haven’t really noticed it – an occasional phone call goes unanswered. The waiting room is unusually crowded. The computer system goes down for a short time. Some staff members take a little too long at lunchtime.

It’s time to wrestle back control.

Most of these issues are fixable – some easily.

Delegate. Don’t just “dump it” and walk away; providing benchmarks and outlining expectations upfront will save you more time (and money) in the long run. Assign your practice manager to ensure that all tasks, no matter how big or small, are either completed or a solution is found on a daily basis.

Use technology. Do you have all up-to-date platforms and services to help run your business efficiently? Technology changes so quickly, it’s worth ensuring that you are fully aware of your options. If need be, hire a consultant. Are your computers in need of upgrading? Staff frustration with poor performing technology compounds delays even further.

Ask your staff what YOU can do for them. Make staff morale a priority –understand their needs and concerns. It’s important not to live in an ivory tower; keep your ear to the ground; you will discover issues that may seem trivial to you that are crucial for office harmony. Never underestimate the consequence of unhappy staff members, and remember it will cost you personally. Finally, ensure they are being paid properly and praised when appropriate.

Cut the chitchat. It’s good manners to have a conversation with regular patients, but don’t get too caught up in what Uncle Frank has been up to lately. Throughout your day, a patient (or two) will sit down saying they need one thing, then proceed to share with you the list of various symptoms they’ve recently noticed. In other words, yes, your job is to listen; just be prudent with your own “talk time.” Sometimes, this is as simple as putting a clock on the wall behind your patients.

Don’t procrastinate. Don’t start chart entries then leave them unfinished. By the time you come back to them, you will most likely have forgotten details, thus spending more time trying to remember. Schedule certain tasks such as reading medical journals into your week, then stick to your plans. Find more time in your day (see Delegate).

Take care of yourself. We all know what happens when burnout occurs. Stress and anxiety are a normal part of any job, and more so in your profession. Make sure you spend time with your family. Take heed of the advice you give to your patients – eat well and exercise. If you think you need help, ask for it. The longer you wait, the more it could cost you and your practice.

Do these points seem obvious to you? Perhaps, but if you take a step back you may find the edges are fraying ever so slightly.

Do you have any other suggestions?

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