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By JACK OLIVER 643 views

Key Tips for an Exceptional Practice Manager

Efficient healthcare facility management has always been a priority for all healthcare professionals, and rightly so. However, the recent explosion of telehealth practice has made it a more important aspect of healthcare than ever before.

The role of the practice manager, which has always required a high degree of knowledge and operational expertise, is changing. Managers are now required to be familiar with all aspects of clinical care, as well as practice management and medical billing. This knowledge requirement is usually limited to some formal education in the fundamentals of their practice specialty. However, to gain more credibility, managers must have a broader knowledge of the healthcare system in general. Here are the top tips every manager should follow to thrive in healthcare.

Follow the doctors

Every team member who plays any role in direct patient care is an important cog in the healthcare machine, and managers can gain a wealth of knowledge simply by following them and observing how they go about their daily tasks. Physicians, social workers, and nurses all play different roles and can offer unique perspectives on the overall operation.

Observing medical assistants and nurses will reveal how their work influences the practice and how their work affects the efficiency of their providers. Accompanying providers will provide a glimpse into the many challenges they face on a daily basis, and perhaps some insights into what managers can do to alleviate some of those burdens.

Understand the patient experience

Rather than simply handing out and collecting the results of a patient survey, which may not be accurate, managers can learn much more simply by shadowing the experience of a few patients a month. This starts when the appointment is booked and continues with the patient’s entry into the building, their stay in the waiting room, the communication that takes place between team members to assess the patient’s condition, and the follow-up that occurs after the visit.

By closely following practice staff and patients as they go through the routine of a visit, managers can gain an in-depth understanding of how their practice operates and how actual clinical operations are performed. This deeper understanding will reveal much about the key factors that drive revenue generation, staff satisfaction, and, ultimately, patient outcomes. Once all this knowledge is acquired, managers will be in a much better position to make suggestions that can improve processes, allowing them to truly excel at their job.

Tricks to Reduce Cost in Your Private Practice

Using a template letter can help practices reduce the cost per letter from as much as $15 to as little as $1. It increases efficiency and keeps the referring physician at the center of the patient’s healthcare journey.

This is just one of the simple ways practices can increase efficiency and reduce costs. In today’s demanding healthcare environment, physicians are challenged to squeeze as much efficiency out of their practices as possible. Here are 5 simple ways to do just that:

Reduce operating expenses.

Ongoing expenses can accumulate over time, gradually draining a practice’s resources as it tries to expand and serve more patients. Fortunately for physicians and practice owners, these costs don’t usually show up as one large, unavoidable expense, but as a bunch of small costs that add up to a massive whole. To improve efficiency and reduce those costs, practices can examine them all individually, with the goal of eliminating, or replacing, those that are unnecessary or excessively expensive.

Transcription: Typical practices end up spending large amounts on dictation and transcription on a monthly basis. These costs can be greatly reduced by investing in speech recognition software, which can perform transcription at the same time as patient encounters.

Telephones: Practices often have more phone lines than they need. While the costs of a single extra line may not seem very high, in aggregate they can end up costing a bundle. Care should be taken to ensure that unused phone lines can be canceled and that bills do not contain payments for canceled lines or any other erroneous charges.

Advertising: Advertising through traditional media such as billboards, television, or telephone directories is no longer as effective as it once was. Practices should focus most of their marketing budget on the Internet.

Supplies: The cost of supplies can be reduced in a number of ways, such as refilling printer cartridges instead of buying new ones. Using the postal service can also save a lot of money.

Website: A website that allows patients to access bill payment, appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and form filling can save time and money on administrative processes.

Payment: Implement a policy of collecting patient fees in advance. This is a quick and easy way to increase collections and save time following up with patients who have not yet paid.
With reimbursements declining and overhead rising, physicians today face the seemingly impossible task of seeing more patients than ever before, and patients themselves are demanding more time and attention. With these tips, practices can begin to reduce their overhead, mitigating at least part of the problem.

Manage schedules better.

Start by establishing what you consider a realistic rate of patients seen per hour. Measure in detail the average time spent on patient encounters. This includes a breakdown of time spent in the waiting room, in the exam room, with physicians, and the time it takes for the patient to leave. Compiling these statistics will give you a clearer picture of where time spent is most important and where it is being wasted. Now you can start shifting tasks so that every member of the practice staff is making the most of their time.

Jack Oliver

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