5 Lessons I Wish I Knew When I Started My Practice 9 Years Ago
It’s not a surprise that successfully running a medical practice is making day-to-day tasks as efficient as possible.
It can be the difference in allowing you to take on more patients, have a better working environment and making sure each staff member knows his role.
But sometimes it takes years to figure out the truly effective approaches for running a medical practice, so to help you get there faster, here are five of the most important lessons I learned about managing my practice in the last nine years:
1) Hire the Right Team
The importance of having a competent staff to handle different tasks cannot be underestimated.
People working in a medical office must possess certain character traits, as well as personalities, in order to provide the necessary care for patients.
Even simple tasks can become difficult if the team is not able to effectively communicate with each other and be willing to do their part in a timely manner.
We all make mistakes when we first start hiring. It’s unavoidable. Soon you will learn what personality traits mesh well with the team you have in place making the hiring process easier. I recommend writing these downs and during the interview process make sure the candidate posses these traits. We aren’t talking about whether or not he or she is nice. But whether they have a good work ethic, positive attitude and are eager to learn.
2) Spend More Time Training Staff
While hiring the right staff allows to make the process easier, it’s still essential to develop an effective system for training each member of the staff.
Protocols have to be set up and consistently followed and the staff has to be assisted in learning how to approach different situations with consistency. This requires time and regular training, but it does pay off in the long-term.
For example, a big step for us was evaluating our staff‘s computer skills and provide basic training, as necessary. Since a lot of the data entry and filing work is now done online, it was important that everyone was familiar with the process, as it made everything much more efficient.
Another essential part is triage training, which ensures that the nonmedical staff recognize emergencies and prioritize appointments for patients with urgent needs.
It took years of trial and error, as well as a few funny mishaps, to develop a truly effective approach for making sure each staff member knows their role in the team.
3) Do Weekly Team Meetings
Another area that is absolutely essential is making it a priority to do weekly check-ins in order to make sure that things are going as planned, as well as improve areas that have issues.
It can be hard to believe how seemingly obvious problems can go unresolved for weeks if there isn’t a system in place to encourage communication among staff members.
Meetings also help establish goals and efficiently share any important announcements or news. So while it does take time and consistent effort to gather everyone, it is well worth it in the end.
Another good idea is to have regular happiness assessment tests, which help you see the workplace from the staff perspective and improve areas that seem to be lacking.
This has been a tremendous help in making the office a nice place for everyone because it allows me to see the issues from different perspectives and form a more objective view. Sometimes this means we have to stay past office hours, which I make sure I compensate my employees. This way they know that I take these meetings seriously.
4) Have Individual Task Checklists
One of the biggest jumps in efficiency that I saw throughout the years was when we introduced the individual checklist for staff members.
Each one of them now has a checklist of responsibilities that helps staffers keep track of all the daily tasks, no matter how big or small they might be.
This way, there are no emergency situations because of a missed appointment or lost document – everyone knows their roles and this helps to create a much less stressful work environment.
This can be broken down further for people who work in the same department. That department can assign these tasks to the staff members so everyone is clear on what their job is each and every day.
5) Attend More Conferences
One of the best experiences I discovered as a doctor was the opportunity to teach and train others, as well as share valuable information from experience with colleagues from around the world.
Medical conferences are a great way to meet more doctors and exchange ideas, good practices and generally learn a lot about how some of the most successful practitioners operate.
I definitely recommend any doctor to make the effort of attending conferences, as it is definitely worth it, both from a professional and a personal perspective.
Even after almost a decade of practicing medicine, I still learn a lot about how my practice could be improved every day.
However, these five seemingly simple lessons have helped me develop a practice that not only is convenient for patients but is also more enjoyable to work in for staff members.
Hopefully, you can apply some of these tips to your own practice as well, as they have definitely proven their worth for me.