Ensure Practice Staff Works to the Top of Their License

April 28, 2016

An efficient and profitable practice will push staff members to work to the top of their licenses. Here are some tips on how to do that.

With the rapidly changing healthcare environment, running a profitable practice has become even more challenging.  One of the most common mistakes in medical organizations is having staff members "working below their licenses and abilities."

What do I mean by staff members "working below their licenses and abilities?"  Staff members need to be challenged to work on the most complex, challenging tasks that their licenses and abilities allow.  As a result, productivity increases, staff satisfaction increases, and providers have more time to spend with patients.

Rethink what your staff members are capable of doing.  Here are some examples:

• Train medical assistants to answer routine medical questions on the phone instead of nurses.  Create templates for common phone calls including the complaint and the appropriate advice.  If the medical assistant is not sure how to answer, have a nurse or provider available as backup.   Have clear standards indicating what type of questions the medical assistant can answer and what type of questions need to be reviewed by a provider or nurse.  

• Train nurses to make medical decisions using standing orders.  If your office does certain procedures or treatments consistently for specific complaints or problems, create standing orders that the nurse can initiate without having to check with a provider first.  Once a standing order is completed, the provider can sign off on the order.

• Challenge providers to step outside their comfort zone.  Maybe a provider stopped doing a revenue-producing procedure a few years ago because specialists do it more often.  A brief refresher with another provider within or outside the practice can allow the practice to bring the procedure back in house to the medical home while generating revenue.

• Encourage staff to find solutions to problems, not just identify problems and complain about them.  Make a suggestion board so that staff teams can help make the practice run better.

Challenging staff members to work to the top of their licenses and abilities can improve patient health, practice productivity, revenue, and staff satisfaction and retention.  Challenge yourself to rethink what your staff members can achieve.

 

Auren Weinberg MD, FAAP is the Owner of Lower Bucks Pediatrics and Measures of Wellness in Yardley, Penn