Second Place Winner, Manager Article Contest

Practical Advice for Running an Efficient and Effective Medical Office  by Donna Weinstock

Running a healthcare practice is like teetering on the edge of a cliff; never quite sure if you will fall over. Balancing patient satisfaction, employees, physicians, personalities and receivables is a true test of endurance. From day to day you never know what will happen or what hat you will have to wear.

Keeping in mind that the goal is high quality patient care, I believe that the most effective way to run a medical office today is to be creative, positive and focused. It is important to look for new ideas to grow and improve the practice while maintaining the positive attributes of your office.

As a manager, it is essential to find creative ways to keep your employees satisfied and loyal while making sure that the patients get what they need, when they need it and how they want it. It is not enough to say, “We keep our patient’s best interest in mind.” Rather we must continually work to ensure that they are receiving the highest quality of care in a timely fashion. Motivating employees and keeping their morale high transfers to the increased satisfaction of patients.

I know that my attitude affects everyone in the practice at all times. If I get upset or lose control, everything seems to spiral out of control. I was often the rock that supports everything around. I could not let that rock go over the cliff. Keeping a positive attitude allows everyone to gain strength and stay focused.

What we focused on was our mission and goals; we know that not everything will run as we want. Physicians will run late, emergencies happen and personalities get in the way, but if we can draw strength from one another and work as a team we are able to accomplish more. Our focus is always the best interest of our patients. A practice manager needs to be part of the team. Staff needs to know that we share the responsibilities in the practice.

With the economy doing poorly, low reimbursements from insurance, collections down, it is important to find creative ways to market a practice and to stay financially solvent. As a practice manager, I needed to continue to look for ways to succeed in these areas.

Physicians treat patients; they are responsible for providing medical care. My role is to run the day to day operations. I love when I can say all is calm, but in a busy practice that is not always the case. Perhaps a more appropriate title should be “Problem Solver” or better yet “The Go to Person.” Either way, being part of a successful practice, knowing that you are overseeing your employees’ needs, the well being of your patients and being part of the team makes it all worthwhile. Keep the goal in sight!

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