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The managerial role, which historically emphasized operational knowledge and experience is now demanding the familiarity of clinical operations as well.
With the Healthy People 2030 goal “to increase access to comprehensive, high-quality health care services” and recent explosion of teleheath visits, efficient management of ambulatory care practices is more important now than ever before.
The managerial role, which historically emphasized operational knowledge and experience is now demanding the familiarity of clinical operations as well. For many managers, this clinical aspect is limited to formal education and learning opportunities. However, in order to gain a broader understanding of the ambulatory healthcare system and therefore, increased credibility as a manager, there are two specific actions every exceptional healthcare manager should undertake regularly.
Each team member who provides direct patient care plays an important role in the typical ambulatory care practice and should be shadowed. Medical Assistants, Registered Nurses, and providers each have a different perspective on their patient and the health system as a result of their unique responsibilities. Observing the duties of the Medical Assistant and Registered Nurse in real time will reveal how their roles impact the efficiency of the patient’s time spent with the provider. Observing the providers will remind the manager of the many challenges related to time which the provider faces: patients who present for a brief appointment but intend to discuss many concerns, time required to order tests, review results, consult other providers, and document.
This assessment is extremely helpful to learn of system breakdowns. By requesting permission to “follow” the experience of a few patients per quarter, beginning with their experience of scheduling their appointment, the manager can learn much more than by simply hoping to receive a patient survey and then reviewing the results. This shadowing experience follows the patient throughout the visit and includes the experience of physically entering the office building, the communication between all staff members, physically leaving the building, and any follow-up communication which may be necessary for the patient.
By shadowing each group of clinicians and thoroughly assessing the patient experience at least quarterly, the manager gains a clearer understanding of clinical operations, system breakdowns and areas of success. Having this deeper insight of the clinical and patient experience allows the manager to have a better understanding of what is truly driving patient outcomes, revenue, and employee satisfaction. With that knowledge, discussion and development of relevant projects for improvement can occur. Accurate assessment and improvement of system breakdowns is what sets the exceptional healthcare manager apart from others.