Running a profitable medical practice can be demanding. The overall profitability is impacted by several factors, but productivity plays a significant role. There’s a common misconception that productivity means ensuring everyone is on task all the time. In reality, productivity is about having the right systems and procedures in place while building an engaging work environment.
Here are six ways to improve medical practice productivity for a better staff and patient experience that pays off:
Understand the roles
Before implementing changes to improve productivity, you must first understand the role everyone plays. If your practice is well established, it might have been years since you last considered job descriptions and role definitions.
Understanding the various roles helps clarify who could use extra support and who needs more responsibility to thrive. Take some time to meet with staff and have them clarify their roles and audit their time. Ask them to note if there are periods when they feel overwhelmed or idle. Use this framework to create a delegation plan, or identify if new systems or training are needed. It could also be time to redefine the job descriptions.
Delegate and outsource
When looking at the various roles within the practice, it’s also important to consider what you’re taking on as a practitioner. The more you can narrow your focus to treatment-oriented activities, the better the patient experience and profitability will be.
Consider what existing tasks should be outsourced to your staff or a specialised virtual healthcare assistant. Virtual assistants are a great, cost-effective addition to the team, as they can handle the overflow from staff and help maintain the overall workflow.
Delegating and outsourcing repetitive administrative tasks can help reduce frustration and prevent costly delays. For example, a virtual assistant can cover appointment confirmations to minimise no-shows and ensure insurance is processed ahead of time to reduce wait times.
Prioritize mental health and wellness
As the owner of a medical practice, it’s crucial to practice what you preach. Prioritising the mental health and wellness of your staff, especially after the past few years, will go a long way in boosting productivity and retention.
Consider it this way: prioritising mental health is an investment in your business. In addition to improving productivity, this effort will reduce downtime and turnover. Start by evaluating your benefits packages and determining whether the coverage is sufficient. Consider incorporating designated mental health days into the calendar.
Empower your people to share their frustrations and concerns, offering solutions whenever possible. Outsourcing tasks during busy periods can be a massive relief for employees facing burnout who feel guilty about taking time off.
It’s also essential to create a collaborative culture and encourage communication among employees. No one understands the strains of working in a medical practice like co-workers. Have someone in charge of planning team-building events and relaxing, non-work activities.
Implement smart systems
If you haven’t considered or re-evaluated the systems you have in place to operate your practice within the last five years, the time is now. Cloud technology and AI-driven systems have evolved tremendously in recent years, creating centralized, data-driven tools to streamline processes. Providing the right tools and systems could be the missing piece of the productivity puzzle.
Consider what systems are in place to navigate the patient experience, from scheduling to insurance billing and beyond. Ideally, the fewer systems and more integrations you have to facilitate centralization, the better.
Create performance incentives
Finally, create incentives for enhanced performance. Reward employees for thinking outside the box and finding solutions to common problems. Take the time to acknowledge a job well done.
Many established medical practices follow an outdated business model that offers additional incentives based on years of service. While celebrating retention and loyalty is important, showcasing an appreciation of effort and ingenuity at every stage is essential.
Improving productivity comes down to investing in your systems and people. Know when to outsource, when to upgrade, and when to appreciate.
Helen Baumeister did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.