Running an office isn’t a job built for anyone. It takes patience, attentiveness, hard work, and delegatory skills to name a few. Being a medical office manager requires all these traits and more.
To be an effective medical office manager, one must pay close attention to his or her staff, keeping in constant communication and understanding the importance every employee serves. Listed below are seven essentials for effective management in a medical office or private practice. Leaving out duties such as invoicing and payments, this comprehensive list will give you, the medical office manager, a better understanding of how to run an office efficiently between you, your staff, and a constant influx of patients.
#1: Communicate Effectively
Communication is essential in every office. For medical office managers, being able to communicate effectively is more than just talking and listening. Effective communication requires the office manager to set the tone for mutual respect between staff and management. Establish employee expectations, as well as providing feedback on said expectations, is essential for every manager. Likewise, you must also be able to communicate effectively through listening. Listen to what your employees have to say about their roles; they understand firsthand their job functions better than you do. Clear communication with employees will allow you to better understand ideas for operating your office more efficiently.
#2: Know Every Job Function
Effective medical office managers understand that every single job role contributes to the overall success of the organization. Understanding each employee’s role is essential for training, managing and motivation purposes. Managers must smoothly operate their office through distributing workloads and supervising their staff. Furthermore, it is vital for a manager to understand every job function on a broad scope so as to understand company goals and staying fully compliant with state and federal requirements. The medical office manager is ultimately responsible for the success of the entire staff.
#3: Utilize A Good Medical Scheduling Software
The use of a good scheduling software will make the world of difference for you as an effective medical office manager. Such software will allow for the quick and efficient scheduling of patient appointments online, therefore cutting down on calls and wait times, as well as free up your time for other important management tasks. Additionally, as in many practices, assigning a relatively low-paid employee to schedule appointments manually will no longer be necessary. Remember: the less time it takes to schedule and see patients, the more appointments your office will receive.
#4: Improve Patient Flow
Following Essential #3, the goal of every practice is efficient scheduling, regardless of the patient mix. The main focus here is to provide care to as large a community of patients as possible, but without taking away from individual patients or compromising their care. Many practices can get by with seeing a patient every 20 minutes. However, others, such as most family physicians, can average four visits or fewer per hour. Avoid schedule gaps, and stay on schedule.
#5: Be Mindful of Staffing Capacity and New Hires
The interview process is rarely a fun time for office managers. But when you find yourself in the situation, be mindful of the person you are hiring. A poor performing employee or problem staff person can easily cause an unbalance in workload distribution, raise costs, and even sometimes lead to wrongful termination actions. Thoroughly establish the skills, objectives and goals, and personalities of every potential employee before hiring, and continue to clearly communicate expectations and hold them accountable after hiring.
#6: Track Office Performance
Track and benchmark data to improve your medical practice’s performance. Several tools are available to help you manage and monitor office operations, as well as benchmark them against the performance of similar private practices. Understanding the data and tracking performance are essential for not only keeping a steady stream of patients, but realizing the efficiency of your staff, through the tracking of such statistics as average patients per hour and patient turnover rates.
#7: Establish an Incentive System
A vested staff is most worthwhile to you in the long run as an office manager. Establish a good, simple incentive system for ambitions employees. Make it a primary objective to compensate your employees notably when they meet certain production goals. Such a system will lead to better teamwork, more positive financial outcomes and increased efficiency. Remember: always clearly communicate your expectations, provide training where needed, justly reward performance, and provide fair base salaries based on experience.