The medical field is changing every day. Research enlightens medical professionals to new therapies, new techniques, and new equipment that will make their patients healthier. However, research is also shining a spotlight on the inefficiencies of medical offices ― and just how risky they can be.
An inefficient office is an unhealthy office. Fortunately, doctors can diagnose their inefficiencies using common symptoms. The following three simple changes can reduce accidents and increase earnings just by making offices more efficient.
1. Understand Your Tech
It is impossible to practice modern medicine without a bevy of gadgets and gizmos in your office, from your heart rate monitors to your computers. However, if you work for an older physician who is uncomfortable with digital equipment ― or if you don’t fully understand the capabilities of your advanced tech ― your office probably has a few inefficiencies that could become dangerous.
It is vital that you update your office’s tech often; ideally, you should review and renew equipment every year or two. Better tech saves offices time and money in many ways. For example, a cutting-edge electronic health record system will cut the costs of staff hired to sift manually through medical histories and provide more thorough search results with the click of a mouse. Moreover, tech provides patients with better service, both in creating manageable appointment schedules and diagnosing and treating disorders.
However, simply getting technology is not enough to make an efficient office if you and your staff misunderstand its purposes and possibilities. Whenever you introduce new tech, you should undergo thorough training to ensure the technology does not detract from your experience with your patient. Working alongside your IT team and any specialized tech representatives will give you a better grasp of your tech’s capabilities and increase efficiency in the long run.
2. Communicate With Your Staff
One of the most common sources of inefficiency in a medical office stems from doctors’ assumptions regarding staff comprehension of expectations. Everyone in your office is important to completing the office’s goals successfully and efficiently, but everyone in your office has a unique background that may inhibit him or her from contributing to his or her utmost. Clear communication is key.
Organizing a regular staff meeting is perhaps the best method of ensuring open and transparent communication amongst your staff. Staff members should be encouraged to provide input on the workings of the practice, so the outer and inner offices can work together. You might urge your staff to participate by asking questions that were not previously sufficiently answered or by shining a light on problems or inefficiencies that require correction.
Additionally, you should establish a rigorous work flow that allows all staff to effectively facilitate the treatment of a patient. When each staff member fully understands his or her role in patient visits, everyone ― including the patient ― feels less frustration throughout the experience. You might devote a day to writing down each staff member’s specific duties, so no one can become confused and cause inefficiency.
3. Communicate With Your Patients
Patients are often the cause of inefficiency in medical offices, and thankfully there is much you can do to change their behavior. Employing an electronic scheduling system allows patients to make appointments online and may send reminders of their reserved visit, decreasing the likelihood your patients will be late or miss their slot. Additionally, such systems make it more difficult to overbook your availability, giving you more time with patients who need medical advice.
New legislation increasingly places more responsibility for medical care on patients, which means medical offices must be more engaging to attract and retain the patients you need for income. Increasingly, studies show that patients want to access medical professionals as easily as they can speak to friends and family, which means you might need to make your office more available for contact through different channels. Communicating effectively with patients over the phone or through web chat will soon become absolutely necessary to maintain efficiency in your office.
In the medical field, inefficiency doesn’t just waste time and money ― it can cost lives and limbs. You should do your best to root out all inefficiencies in your office to give your patients the best possible hope of success.