Effectively managing clinical staff, for a medical practice, takes a lot of work and can be stressful at times. However, taking the proper steps to manage physicians and medical staff will boost revenue and decrease your turn-over rate. There are six steps that every practice should employ in order to create a productive and stress free work environment:
1) Shared GoalsPhysicians and staff should all share the same goal which is providing quality care for all patients. This is an overall goal for your practice as well as an individual goal for each physician and member of the nonclinical staff. In order to create shared goals amongst doctors and staff, there has to be guidelines and mission statement for staff. Creating a specific office culture that encourages growth and hard work will ultimately benefit how your practice operates. Connect with members of the staff during meetings in order to form cohesive goals that will have measurable outcomes.
2) Clearly Defined Roles
For any practice to function, and function well, roles need be to be clearly defined prior to an employees’ start date. A lot of the issues that arise between healthcare professionals have to do with confusion about job responsibilities. However, cross-training staff to learn your current EMR system may be a good idea; if someone is out sick then you won’t have to worry about jobs not getting done. It’s easy to say that doctors treat the patients and the staff controls the filing and scheduling, that’s true, but there is a lot more to the daily operations than just patient flow. When hiring an employee there needs to be a clear set of job skills and responsibilities that need to be met not just so they can understand their role, but the employer can organize daily operations of the practice better.
3) Effective CommunicationCommunicating effectively may seem like the easiest part about managing clinical staff, this is not the case; you’d be surprised to hear that many practices flounder because of poor communication. Communication needs to start with the practice manager and trickle down from there. If the practice manager does not communicate well with staff, then other aspects of the practice will suffer; revenue might decrease and the turnover rate will be high. Employees do not want to work in a setting where they are not given proper direction; the environment becomes chaotic and no practice can afford that.
4) Physician Productivity
How the physician is able to conduct his/her work on a daily basis greatly affects the entire staff. Dividing tasks into two categories: clinical and non-clinical, so the physician isn’t doing tasks that take away from seeing patients. Reducing unnecessary inbound calls and interruptions by nurses will help give the physician more structure throughout the day and maximize the amount of face-to-face time with patients.
Evaluating medical staff regularly and consistently can help you stay on top of staff performance. From the start of employment, a physician should know about your evaluation system and that they will be evaluated on regular basis. This will help doctors and nonclinical staff know that you will be evaluating them in order to better their job performance and better the practice overall. If you notice an employee is underperforming, there should be a set time limit for improvements. Documenting problems with a staff member will help you in the long term in case termination is necessary.
6) Mutual Respect
Holding weekly staff meeting will help develop respect between clinical and nonclinical staff. Meetings are a good way to keep in touch and stay on top of things. This does not mean your staff should feel like they are being micromanaged. Giving your staff enough room to excel at their jobs while staying on track of their performance will have a positive effect on your office culture.