As a medical practice manager, there’s a lot you must do to run a successful medical practice. You need to be an expert in managing the medical practice, finances and staff while ensuring patients get the care they deserve.
Yet when you’re up against restrictive budgets, rising costs and health insurance companies, it can be challenging to handle the day-to-day tasks while also looking at long term strategies to attract and retain patients and get more referrals coming through the door.
According to a survey by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), medical practice professionals say their top concerns have to do with financial concerns such as reimbursement rates and operational challenges such as choosing and implementing a new EHR system.
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If you’ve recently been hired as a new medical practice manager, it’s vital that you make the most of your first 30 days to set the stage for success. Here are the most important projects to handle first.
Before you start implementing new systems and policies, you need to know exactly how the medical practice is running. Take time to observe the day-to-day operations, such as scheduling and intake, as well as how staff interact with physicians and with each other. Make getting face time with physicians, staff and patients a priority. If you notice patients aren’t being seen on time, or staff are spending too much time on paperwork, make a note of it.
Interview every staff member
It’s important that you understand everyone’s roles so you can start to identify ways to make the medical practice more efficient. In the first 30 days, set up brief interviews with the physicians and every staff member to ask them about their responsibilities, bottlenecks and challenges they experience and common pain points they hear from patients. Welcome their feedback about things you can do that may help the medical practice improve and grow.
Learn how to do key office staff jobs
Knowing how to perform each staff member’s job which will give you a deeper understanding about the practice, and when you’re short staffed, you can pitch in and help to keep the practice running efficiently. You don’t necessarily need to the ins and outs of every position, but spend a few hours each day shadowing each staff member to get a basic understanding.
Make sure online information is up to date
Studies show before patients see a doctor, they start their search online. According to a study by the Pew Research Center 72 percent of people looked online for health information within the past year. What’s more, of the 35 percent of patients who went online to try to diagnose a health condition, 53 percent followed up with a physician to confirm their diagnosis.
Yet oftentimes when patients find a new doctor online, the listings contain incorrect addresses, phone numbers and information about the insurances they accept. Not only is inaccurate information one of the biggest pain points for prospective or new patients, if your listings are incorrect, you run the risk of making an appointment with patients only to find out they’re not covered.
In your first 30 days, check your online profiles and make sure all information is accurate and that and you have photos of your doctors so patients can “meet” the provider before stepping foot into the office.
In recent years, patients are paying more attention to online reviews of doctors before they decide to call and make an appointment. According to a survey by SoftwareAdvice, 61 percent of people read online reviews before choosing a doctor. What’s more, 47 percent of patients say they would see an out-of-network doctor who has similar qualifications as an in-network doctor but more positive reviews, the same survey found.
Negative review of your doctors, staff and health system—even the parking—is enough to make them look elsewhere. During your first few weeks on the job, read negative online reviews and follow up with patients to address their complaints. Chances are, they’ll leave you a positive follow-up and you’ve also saved a patient that would have otherwise found a new provider.
Create a plan
After you have taken the time to learn all you can and get a holistic view of the medical practice, you can start to create a strategic plan to improve the operations and efficiency, make decisions about hiring staff, implement new policies and procedures, review proposals from companies that can help you drive revenue, gather and address patient feedback and market the medical practice.