The Keys to Managing Your Medical Practice Staff

Medical practice staff sitting at table looking at tablet.

In this day and age, managing any business is tough. And a medical practice is no exception. Ultimately, the practice manager is responsible for the success of the entire medical practice staff, requiring the manager to possess resourcefulness and grit.

How can a practice manager contribute to overall success in areas such as…

  • Staff productivity and reliability? 
  • Mitigation of legal and financial risks?
  • Improved patient satisfaction and quality of care?

In short, this can be done by effectively managing your medical practice staff.  

Let’s take a look at some of the tools that will unlock efficiency for your medical practice staff and put you on the road to success.

5 Keys to Success

Managers are required to distribute the workload, motivate and supervise medical practice staff, and coordinate the smooth operations of the practice. Of course, when things go well, the manager gets all the credit. However, when things don’t go well, they also get all the blame. 

Here are 5 keys to help you have more good days within the office by creating efficiency and harmony for your medical practice staff, as well as your patients.

1. Prioritize Training

It is best to inform staff as early as possible of the practice standards, expectations, and changes being implemented.

For new hires, this is easy. However, if you have had the same employees for a while and want to implement a change, you may come up against opposition. 

Change in office procedure is a perfect time to get them involved and let them know that they are valuable to the team. As a manager, you must be firm with your vision for the medical practice staff. 

You should always provide your staff with resources that help them stay on track. An operations manual, checklists, and forms can help standardize routine activities.

Finally, after you have implemented a change, set clear expectations, and provided all the tools for success, you must verbalize how they are doing. If you see your staff members providing exemplary work or service, tell them. If you find areas that need improvement, tell them. 

This practice of communication reinforces to the staff that you are interested and involved in the day-to-day flow of the practice.

2. Implement Helpful Automation and Technology

Technology can be the greatest asset for your medical practice staff. Used right, it can eliminate errors, improve patient access, and save time. 

Automation can accomplish many of the time-consuming tasks previously performed by medical practice staff, such as appointment scheduling and aftercare reminders. Technology can also simplify day-to-day marketing strategies, saving time and money.

That being said, it is critical that everyone in the office is fully trained on and comfortable with any new technology. When technology is used incorrectly, it can create errors that slow things down, which is why training should always come first.

Don’t let the benefits of technology go wasted. Train your entire medical practice staff on the correct procedure for automated technology and watch practice productivity increase greatly.

3. Communicate with Your Medical Practice Staff Daily

One of the biggest efficiency killers is poor communication. It may sound counterproductive to take 15 minutes out of every day for a quick meeting, but this is one of the best things you can do for your medical practice staff. Good communication reduces errors and gets everyone on the same page. 

These meetings can be held at the beginning, middle, or end of the day depending on where the biggest need for your practice is. If you feel like your staff comes in with an unclear direction for the day, or perhaps there has been a major last-minute change for the day, a morning meeting makes the most sense. 

If you have a staff that seems to struggle to wrap things up by the end of the day or that scrambles in the last hour to get things done, perhaps a midday meeting would be best. A short meeting halfway through the day is a good way to assess what is done and prioritize what still needs to be done to ensure an easy flow into the next working day.

Finally, if your staff seems to work better with lots of preparation and you don’t have many last-minute changes, an end-of-day meeting may be the best option for your medical practice staff. An end-of-day meeting can set your practice up for success the following day as well as serve as a platform to discuss the things that went well and/or could be improved.

Successful communication is the most effective tool you can have in your tool belt for a successful practice.

4. Plan Ahead and Encourage Your Staff to Do the Same

Knowing what to expect on the schedule, what patient information will need to be gathered, and what holes need to be filled is critical to maintaining the highest level of practice efficiency and profitability.

During your daily meeting, it is wise to take a couple of minutes to review your to-do list. This can include everything from evaluating and prioritizing tasks to understanding procedures and communications. 

This creates a clear system for determining and designating deadlines. It also helps everyone be on the same page by assigning task items to each team member beforehand, alleviating the issue of overlap and/or overlook. The key to success for planning ahead is to follow your list to the letter and be intentional as to not get distracted by less important work.

5. Improve Scheduling for Both the Practice and the Patients

Online scheduling tools are a medical practice’s best friend. The most time-consuming job within a medical practice is scheduling patient appointments. By implementing an automated or online scheduling system for routine appointment scheduling, you can free up your medical practice staff to attend to more nonroutine scheduling and provide patient support and care. 

Many patients prefer to schedule online, but you should always pay attention to your patient demographics and implement any new system slowly so that your patients and staff are comfortable with the change.

This goes without saying, but the quickest way to lose a patient is to keep them waiting at every appointment. If this is a consistent problem, then you must reevaluate your scheduling system and adjust it accordingly, allowing yourself more time for certain things.

Staff scheduling is just as important. Be mindful of your medical practice staff and the time they invest in the workday. If your staff is consistently staying late to tie up loose ends, then you will need to adjust your scheduling to accommodate them ending their workday on time.

With both patients and staff, communication is key to understanding if and where there is a problem.

Putting It into Practice

Start by trying to save a few minutes every day and work from there. Set a clear expectation of communication and efficiency with all staff members by having an established routine and daily meeting. 

Running your practice in an efficient way will lead to improved morale and higher productivity within your medical practice, ultimately boosting your revenue and allowing everyone to reap the benefits of a less stressful environment.

With a more structured and organized working environment, staff and patient satisfaction are an inevitable outcome.

Practice Management is challenging enough without our own self-made problems. Learn more about AAMM’s seminars and resources.

Roger Bonds is the founder of the American Academy of Medical Management and president of The National Institute of Physician Recruitment & Retention, based in Atlanta, GA. Find AAMM on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Email AAMM at [email protected], or call their main office at 770-649-7150.