Watch out for these common cross-training missteps.
Many practices tout their teamwork and the fact that everyone pitches in for the good of the practice during a staff shortage or a super-busy period, like flu season. That’s great, but when such cross-work happens on a regular basis, inefficiencies and compromised outcomes can abound. And while cross-training and supporting fellow team members is a good idea, sometimes people pitch in at the cost of completing their own duties. The result? When a problem emerges, it’s hard to pinpoint who did what.
I like to call this Everyone’s-Job-But-No-One’s-Responsibility Syndrome, and it’s a major contributor to medical office inefficiency.
Does your office clearly define the responsibilities for which each individual is held accountable? For example, if Mark is helping Jessica manage a sudden spike in billing calls, but his real responsibility is data entry and electronic claims submission, you must ask yourself if he is the right one to assist her. Does he have the skill, the time, and a sufficient level of self-accountability? Can you track it? Some other tips:
Evaluating the essential tasks in your office, distributing the workload evenly, and ensuring tasks are performed consistently among staff will promote teamwork in a way that makes sense.
Judy Capko, owner of practice management consulting firm Capko & Company (www.capko.com), is a seasoned healthcare consultant, speaker, and author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Physicians Practice.