Doctors and medical professionals are often revered in the public and medical community as the top of the pyramid. As such, they are expected to wear many hats, such as office manager, office conflict mediator, billing specialist, patient care expert, images interpreter, etc. ‘Wearing many hats’ has almost become a form of status – the more things you can become proficient at, the better physician you will be.
However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Things such as billing,coding, and mundane office tasks are taking away precious brain space necessary for finding creative solutions for patients.
Here are some ways that medical professionals can delegate tasks and increase their efficiency, and the effect this will have.
Two simple ways to increase clinic efficiency
- Use medical billing services. How many times has a doctor been asked ‘Will this be covered by my insurance?’ Patients often expect that their doctor will also somehow be an insurance specialist, but this is not the case. While medical health professionals should know how to code patient interactions correctly, the world of medical billing and coding is a black vortex of intricate ins and outs.
Hiring a company or service to handle medical billing can save on time and cut down on errors. A large portion time is spent by physicians editing billing codes and resubmitting claims. That is valuable time that could be spent with a patient or elsewhere. You can find valuable information here about what hiring a medical billing service entails and how it can help your clinic.
- Utilise office managers. Imagine the typical tasks that you, the physician, have to think about while concurrently acting as an office manager. Did you pay the power bill on time, did the trash get taken out, has the floor been swept and vacuumed, did you turn the lights off, did you write the staff schedule for the following week, did you give Jenny that off-day she asked for, did payroll go out on time. All this can get overwhelming very quickly. Planning and organising is already a full-time job. That’s why managers and project leaders exist in the first place.
So, if you are already spending most of your brainpower organising your office, you have less space to provide the best possible care for patients. Consistently spending a workweek this way will lead to burnout very quickly. Mistakes due to being overworked can be as detrimental as a missed diagnosis.
If you don’t have an office manager yet; carefully consider getting one. If you do have one, be sure you’re being thorough with delegating tasks to them that you could have off of your own plate.
Positive effects of easing a physician’s workload
- You’ll improve the quality of patient interactions. Implementing outside help (such as a medical billing service or office manager) can alleviate a huge portion of mental burden and let you do what you do best: taking care of people. When you’re not bogged down with administrative tasks, you’ll be able to use downtime to recharge, tend to personal relationships, and learn more about your field. This clears your mind so you can be more engaged and attentive with your patients while you’re in the room with them.
- Improvements in office culture. When staff members feel that the leader is stressed, that stress travels down the ladder very quickly, affecting every facet of the clinic.Reducing stress in the workplace by delegating and outsourcing administrative tasks allows everyone to focus on their specific job and do it to the best of their abilities.
While society may disagree with this notion, no-one should be expected to play 3–4 different roles in an office and be able to perform them all at maximum capacity. It’s not effective, and more importantly, it’s detrimental to yourself and your staff.
There is value in allowing people who are specifically trained at a task to complete that task for you. This allows you to complete the tasks you’re specifically trained for, like taking care of people.
Image credit: Freepik
Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.