Effectively manage medical practice staff

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Three elements of effective staff management that can lead to increased productivity and profitability and happier patients at your practice.

How can a physician improve productivity and reliability, mitigate legal and financial risks, improve patient satisfaction and quality of care, and get home at a decent hour? An essential part of the answer is effective staff management, which is a big challenge in any business.

It is even more challenging for physicians because:

  • A provider is generally either out of the office or in an exam room with the door shut, so she has limited opportunity to observe office/clinic operations.
  • There is a wide gap between physicians and staff in regards to education, training, perspective, and job function.
  • Physicians would much rather focus all their attention on patient care.

Here are three elements of effective staff management. Each requires time and energy. Some require financial expenditures. Well done, however, they yield high returns - like any good investment.

Easier said than done – but doable

You may have noticed that there is a lot of overlap in the suggestions. The overlap is a very good thing. It means that, done intentionally, everything done to enhance one capacity enhances at least one more. For instance, an operations manual supports training, operational consistency, and management by system. In terms of cost, an operations manual can be expensive. In terms of value, it is a big bargain.

The physician does not need to provide this management directly, but she must provide for it and require it. Training, tools and systems can develop organically or with the help of a consultant. A nurse or medical assistant can provide most of the direct supervision and leadership, provided she is visible, actively engaged, and respected.

Not all of this can or should be developed and implemented at once. Attack the most critical areas first and build on successes. The truth is that the support for effective management is always a work in progress.