Finding and Measuring Your Practice Staff's Value

April 11, 2015
P.J. Cloud-Moulds

Identifying your medical team's value to the practice and communicating that properly can yield amazing results.

Locating and communicating value is most often the most difficult task that we run across in the business of medicine. Sure you have you data that shows growth or improvement, but what about the value that you cannot place a number on?

Over the past few weeks, I've met with the billing team multiple times for on-the-fly brainstorming sessions. I find these to be the most effective if kept under 10 to 15 minutes. We have been discussing how to show the value of the group as a whole. We've had some great concepts presented, which lead to tangents and even better concepts. The result? We've managed to identify the main characteristics of our billing group that add definitive value to the work that is being produced.

I'm not just talking about work ethic, being on time, and getting the work completed - although these are a part of the whole and are important - I'm talking more about how practice staff members think. It's a common saying, "thoughts become things." And in my experience, it's true, they do.

The billing team realized that every time they looked at the quote I have up on the wall, "The only way to get ahead is to find errors in conventional wisdom," by Larry Ellison, it gave them a passport to infinite ways to problem solve, to look at things very differently than everyone else. It has provided a strong and immoveable foundation for continued growth and honing of billing processes.

The work that they turn out is very impressive. They understand that we have raised the bar and mediocrity does not live in our practice. I trust the work they do, and the thoughts they produce. They are confident and not afraid to make mistakes. If a mistake happens, they fix it, and move on. They are so creative in how to go about solving a problem. It's actually just a lot of fun to find useable solutions with them.

Once you understand the value that your team brings to the practice, the next task is to decide how best to communicate that value. How many of you have opened up a clock to see its inner workings? It's rather daunting to look at each individual gear, wheel, and spring. But when you turn the clock around and look at the face, you see the clock as a functioning unit, where each individual component brings value to the whole. This is the best way to view the intangibles of your team; like thinking differently, acting differently, working autonomously, and producing differently.

If you'd like to turn your teams thinking around, you need to be a role model for them. Start out by trying some of these ideas:

• Find a quote that inspires you. When you feel inspired, it shows to your team and they will follow.

• Respect the opinions of your team. This is so important. There are no wrong answers when brainstorming. That is the most critical time to be as supportive of their ideas as possible.

• Trust your employees and co-workers. I think this is a tough one and shows a side of vulnerability that sometimes pushes us out of our comfort zones. But, if you show that, so will your team.

• Show progress and celebrate often. You team needs to know when they are on the right track, or they will give up. It's about being grateful for every knowledge morsel you can get, and communicating your thankfulness for it.

• Praise your staff often. The phrase, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar," is a great one to keep in mind when responding (not reacting) to a team member's ideas and thoughts. This can be via text, IM, e-mails, phone, or in person. It has proven me well.

Stepping outside of the day-to-day grind and looking at each member of your team as one piece of a working clock can really provide some great insight. It will help you identify your team's overall value, and communicating that value will produce better and better results for your practice.