As a provider or practice owner, it can be difficult to see just how much the element of human interaction matters to the success of your practice. But when you understand what makes up a thriving practice, you quickly realize that it’s the staff that drives that success. By treating this part of your practice as an asset, you give your employees the best opportunity to work in roles that allow them to be of highest service to patients and to the practice.
Your practice manager will be one of your most valuable assets. For providers, one of the hardest parts about your job is trying to run your business in a way that allows you to spend the most time in the exam room with patients. As the physician or specialist, you need to have a team member whose job it is to make sure your practice runs smoothly.
Here are just a few of the challenges facing independent practices like yours:
- Revenue management in the era of higher patient financial responsibility
- Changing practice models from traditional fee-for-service to alternative models
- Managing MACRA/MIPS reporting and EHR use
- Not being left behind with new patient care technology
- Staying up to date on HIPPAA compliance and trends
Ask yourself, "How much more could you do--how much more could your practice do--if you had a great practice manager?"
For every hour physicians see patients, they spend two additional hours on paperwork.
-- According to a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine
Let's look at the hallmarks of a great practice manager:
- Understands the local market - both challenges and opportunities
- Defines and monitors business metrics
- Evaluates new technologies
- Negotiates with payers and other parties
- Avoids legal hassles
- Helps you be more productive
One of the most important roles for a practice manager is managing your practice staff. There are certain things that your staff can do to help your independent practice really stand out. As an example, why not give your receptionist the flexibility to tidy up their desk or cross-train them to assist with collection issues? A good practice manager will give the front office staff the ownership to take initiative and problem-solve, for instance, when they notice a patient is waiting too long.
Staff can also keep tabs on technological advances. If someone on your team is tuned in to the latest in technology, your practice manager can give them a seat at office meetings to share their findings, giving them a feeling of confidence that they are contributing something meaningful to the practice. Staff can also help find wasteful steps or processes that could be eliminated that, as the healthcare provider, you may not be able to see within the workflow. They can tell you who is waiting and at what stage in the process waits are stacking up. Schedulers can spot bottlenecks, and if they are empowered, can bring that to the attention of the practice manager. This allows your practice to solve the problems with the patient perspective in mind as well. Your practice manager should regularly engage in these fact-finding missions to benefit the whole office.
Identifying areas in your practice that need improvement:
- Are crucial tasks slipping through the cracks?
- Are there any wasteful steps or procedures?
- Are there any new technologies that can improve processes?
Empowering your staff, including your practice manager:
- Am I listening to my employees?
- Am I making sure that they are engaged?
- Do they understand that they are very important to the success of the practice?
Work with your practice manager to take a pulse check on your entire office staff and how much they feel valued and a part of winning team. Give them the opportunity to shine, share and contribute, and watch as your office transforms into the successful independent practice it was meant to be.