As a health care practice manager, you know that great care starts with patient scheduling and ends with necessary follow-up. Managing that process requires a lot of effort and skill on your part, and it’s a challenge to keep track of all the details involved.
But all those aspects of your work also provide opportunities to build your skills and make improvements to the practice. Here are some ideas to try.
Use Labor-Saving Technology
Automating operations can provide a significant efficiency boost to your practice. In fact, 43 percent of practices say that better tech tools would help increase their efficiency, according to Medscape. Find the right technology fit by researching common practice tools to eliminate manual processes and save time.
For example, if making reminder phone calls takes up too much time, automated appointment reminders are a potentially easy fix. You could also streamline data entry for first-time patients with intake forms completed at home or on tablets in the office. Medical billing software can help you create an improved collections process and keep accurate track of insurance claims.
Lean on Your Vendor
Work closely with your supply vendor to establish a system to keep necessary supplies on hand at all times.
“Your vendor’s knowledge and expertise are a valuable resource for learning about your practice’s supply needs,” says Kay Evans, Staples Director of Enterprise Accounts – Program Operations. “Your vendor can help you assess what items your practice might be missing or can let you know which updated supplies can help.”
While remaining fully stocked with the right supplies is crucial, Evans advises against bulk buying materials, as they can dry out or degrade over time. Instead, she recommends setting up recurring orders with your vendor. Having a full stock of the right supplies can help physicians provide the best care possible to their patients.
Improve Internal Communications
Better communications among staff improves operations, which in turn leads to increased employee and patient satisfaction.
Hold regular meetings with all staff members, from front office employees to physicians, to communicate key practice updates. For example, if you’re launching a new process for patient intake, clearly communicate to all staff how it will work, how it will change current procedures and how it impacts everyone in the practice.
Outside of these meetings, it’s also crucial to establish staff communication channels. Email and intranet networks are the top two ways that businesses maintain effective internal communications, according to communication industry research. Chat platforms help with instant communication needs between co-workers. Be sure to ask team members which channel they prefer before you decide to move the practice onto one.
Stay Up to Date and Compliant
Remaining compliant with changing health care laws is crucial for practices, and health care practice managers have several organizations to look to for continuing education and information about changes, says Jen Ren, Staples Field Sales Director.
“The Association for Health Care Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM) is one example and is helpful for those who want to learn more about better managing their health care supply process,” she explains. To find more information, reach out to your state’s chapter of AHRMM.
The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) also provides educational resources, peer forums and networking opportunities for practice managers.
Some laws and regulations are state-specific, so Ren also recommends reaching out to your state hospital association learn about any changes that will impact your practice.
Improve the Patient Experience
Lastly, thinking about customer service can lead to a wealth of new ideas for improvements.
Strong service means paying attention to the details. Review how you communicate with customers: Are you giving them all the information they need before coming in for their appointments? Are you following up with them about after-visit details?
In the office itself, make sure you and your co-workers greet patients warmly and that the furniture in the space is comfortable and clean at all times. Look into creating anonymous surveys for customers to make comments about their experience so you know where you can improve your efforts.
The ever-changing health care landscape means that what works for increasing practice efficiency now may not a few years, or even months, down the line. Revisit the tactics you’re using to pinpoint any roadblocks that might be slowing your operations down. Brainstorm with your co-workers and research advancements that can keep your practice streamlined.