Does Your Practice Manager Have These Qualities?
Most owners of successful independent medical practices have one thing in common – they know that the single most important element that drives success is their staff. When employees are treated as a valuable asset for any organization, they thrive in the work environment and provide the highest quality service. At medical practices, a failure to appreciate the link between human interaction and overall success can lead to poor patient satisfaction and a decline in revenue.
The practice manager at an independent medical practice is the captain of the ship, so to say. For healthcare providers, the aim is to spend the maximum amount of time doing what they are trained to do, which is seeing patients in the examination room. The practice manager is the member of staff who ensures that everything runs smoothly and physicians and allied health personnel can focus on the patients.
In current times, independent practices face a number of challenges, such as:
- Revenue cycle management in the face of increasing financial responsibility on patients
- Change in payment model from fee-for-service to quality-based care
- EHR management
- Reporting MACRA and MIPS performance
- Keeping up with new technology in patient care
- Compliance with HIPAA
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed a startling statistic – for every minute spent on seeing patients, a physician spends 2 additional minutes staying on top of paperwork.
Your practice manager can make a real difference in how much time you spend on patient care. Here are some of the qualities that great medical practice managers possess:
- Identify the opportunities and challenges of the local patient population
- Define and track key business metrics
- Assess and implement new healthcare technologies
- Negotiate with third-party service providers and payers
- Comply with legislations
- Improve efficiency in the practice
One of the fundamental functions of the practice manager is to manage the other staff. The ability to identify bottlenecks and bring about changes can help your practice stand head and shoulders above the competition. For example, the manager could decide to cross-train the front desk staff to assist the billing staff with collections. The idea is to encourage every member of the staff to take ownership of their job functions, show initiative in problem-solving, and work towards an overall excellent patient experience at the practice.
Delegating responsibility and utilizing talent is another great quality in practice managers at independent medical clinics. For instance, a member of the staff with education and training in technology could be asked to sit in on meetings to consider technological upgrades. Not only will the practice benefit from their opinion, but the employee will feel valued and appreciated.
The staff at your practice are the best people to point out inefficient steps in processes. The practice manager should work to eliminate these steps and replace them with more productive methods. For example, a physician may not be aware of what is causing long waiting times, but the staff, under the leadership of the practice manager, may be able to identify the step in the process that is causing a backlog. It is the practice manager’s responsibility to empower the staff and engage in analysis.
Improving Practice Efficiency
Are there any critical processes that are not being implemented?
Can any unnecessary or wasteful processes be eliminated?
Can new technologies improve workflow efficiency?
Empowering Your Practice Manager and Staff
Do I ask for input from my staff?
Do I ensure the staff engages with me and other employees?
Do the staff feel valued and realize they are crucial for the practice to thrive?
These questions should help you get a sense of the pulse of your practice. When employees are given an opportunity to contribute and shine, you develop a winning team lead by an able practice manager, which in the end translates to a successful independent practice.