How to Overcome These Top Practice Management Challenges
As any owner or manager of a healthcare organization can tell you, running a successful medical practice is not without its challenges. How you respond to these difficulties (or avoid dealing with them) can dramatically influence the future of your business.
No matter how problematic things get, such as a marked decline in patient satisfaction rates, a feeling among staff that they have too much busywork to complete each day or excessive employee turnover, there are steps you can take to right the situation and get back on course. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to overcome these top practice management challenges.
Drop in Patient Satisfaction
You may not notice it at first, but a decline in patient satisfaction will begin to become more apparent when you see a drop in recurring appointments (such as annual vaccinations) and follow-up visits.
Your practice should gather information on a regular basis to see how patients feel about the way they are being treated. Regular use of surveys and patient feedback forms will be a big help here. Make sure the patients understand that their comments will be anonymous (unless they want to identify themselves) to encourage frank and honest replies.
Problems may have to do with feeling rushed. If that’s one of the main problems you unearth, encourage your physicians to brush up on their bedside manner as appropriate and instruct all members of the staff to avoid hurrying patients along.
Implementing modern electronic health record software will help your team save time in entering patient data, which is a traditional bottleneck that often robs practices of that precious commodity: time to spend with patients in the exam room rather than in the waiting room.
Too Much Paperwork
Are your employees spending increasingly larger amounts of time on filling out forms? When you deploy practice management software, your team will work more efficiently.
For example, they will only need to enter patient information once instead of collecting it in various intake forms. PM software in conjunction with an EHR solution will remove many of the time wasting tasks.
Maintaining Loyal Employees
It can happen even in the best of practices. An alarming number of employees begin leaving, with no apparent reason behind the exodus. If you are suffering from excessive staff turnover rates, the problem may stem from financial reasons.
If you have the resources, it’s time to consider offering raises, more time off or more flexible hours to employees who are ready to leave. If the work environment is unpleasant, you should hope to discover the problem earlier, such as in exit interviews with departing staffers so you start to make improvements.
At the very least, make sure that employees are taking breaks at appropriate intervals and that they use their vacation time and sick days instead of working themselves past the breaking point. Minimizing doctor and nurse burnout may be the most important thing you do for your practice this year.
While you cannot please everyone all of the time when doing business with the general public, there are things your organization can do to overcome these practice management challenges. By focusing on what more you can do to improve patient satisfaction, using software solutions to run the practice more efficiently and taking pains to boost employee retention, you will be on your way toward having a much happier and successful practice.
- A decline in patient satisfaction is an important indicator of the health of your medical practice. Take steps to improve the patient experience as soon as possible.
- Cutting down on unnecessary paperwork will do wonders for raising employee morale and will give you more time to focus on taking care of patients.
- It’s of paramount importance to make sure your practice is doing its best to improve employee retention.
- It’s more expensive to recruit and train new employees than it would be to take steps to keep the ones you already have satisfied and eager to work every day.
About Stephen O'Connor
As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.