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The Importance of Medical Practice Operations Documentation


Does your medical practice have one employee that has all of the answers? Here's why this is a dangerous process to support.

We've all heard the popular saying, “You don’t have to know everything; you just have to know where to find it.” Some of your brightest employees practice this on a daily basis. The reference books, the websites, and other employees are all resources to be tapped into when trying to problem solve.

This is particularly important when you belong to a large insurance network like PTPN or PTP. They manage thousands of contracts for you. This means you can accept Blue Shield PPO or CIGNA PPO with all of the little subsidiary companies underneath Cigna or Blue Shield. But what about those pesky ones that are not on your preferred provider list? Those small unknowns. Those ones can come back to bite you later if you do not do your homework up front. There isn't a day that goes by where someone doesn't ask, “Do we accept this insurance?” Most offices have a lead manager who might know this off of the top of their heads. They are the go-to person for everything. They are very valuable to your organization and love what they do. However, where is Plan B? What if your star employee has some sort of family emergency, or needs to go out of town, or even on vacation? What is your back-up plan for this vital resource to be out?

You should always have a back-up plan, and creating some sort of dynamic spreadsheet or binder with what insurances you accept is critical for your business. If your staff does rely too much on one person, sit down with that person and start identifying what else is being requested from them. Get specific questions, and then group them together in a cluster and start creating procedures, spreadsheets, or notebooks with these answers. Make sure that everyone knows where to find these answers. When your employee is out, the rest of the staff will have a reference point.

This will not only provide some autonomy to staff members, but take a lot of pressure and tension off the person who has all of the answers. It becomes difficult to get any other work done when there is constant interruption. Think of it like the only worm on a hook in a bucket of fish. It can really wear a person down.

So keep this in mind when you overhear your staff asking the same questions over and over. It also puts some of the accountability back onto the other employees who think it is just "quicker to ask than look it up." This may be the case, but drawing too heavily on one resource is not a smart way to operate.

This is also a sign that perhaps there needs to be more training or a better overall understanding of your current policies and procedures. All of these scenarios can be easily remedied by observing, listening, and then disseminating that information to the proper resource.

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