As a practice manager, your role often entails managing appointment scheduling & billing, overseeing staff, as well as taking care of other necessary tasks within the practice. You bring all the pieces of the puzzle together to ensure that all tasks run as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. But, there are always more lessons to learn and areas to improve in. Here are a few insights we’ve gleaned from chatting to practice managers, like yourself, on how you can become an even better practice manager.
Create more structure to the hours you have each day
If you work in a very busy practice, the phone most probably doesn’t leave your ear. As a result, this may take your attention away from fully focusing on patients who are in the rooms, or assisting fellow staff members and the doctor. Consider these small yet effective steps to create more time in your day:
- In an interview we did a few months ago at a Sandton based GP practice, with Thuli the practice manager, she shared that she creates more time and ease during her day by arriving at work about an hour earlier. This has proved very valuable because it gives her time to prepare; because once her day begins the phone never stops ringing.
- Alternatively if you cannot do earlier mornings, consider staying a little later, after the patients and doctor have left, and prepare for the next day.
- Do you spend too much time on the phone that you end up multi-tasking through patient care and other admin? Consider batching similar tasks. We wrote an article highlighting how multi-tasking can hamper productivity. It might not be easy, but try finding potential openings during the day and batching similar tasks.
These might seem like insignificant changes, but these small practical steps could prove to ease your day in the longer term. Give them a try!
Explore new ways to gain more knowledge and learn new skills
It’s always a great idea to keep up with industry trends, insights and the latest skills, for your own personal growth and to add value to the practice. In most cases however, the doctor may not have time to train you regularly; therefore you have to learn on the job. So it is up to you to be proactive and take action towards
There are free and time efficient ways to do this. You can:
- Follow relevant brands on social media. We often post industry trends, expert or technology articles on our social media platforms.
- Join online communities/groups associated with practice managers
- Sign up for a training or even study a course
- Read blogs- such as our blog
Another way to gain more knowledge is through fellow staff and the doctor. Realising that everyone is very busy, you could schedule shorter monthly brainstorm sessions, even if it is just 15 minutes. This can be done during a quieter day. Propose any new ideas you might have for the practice, or ask questions in terms of training and bettering your skills. Coming together as a team to share insights is always valuable- it might not be formal training, but exchanging ideas can add to your expertise and knowledge.
There are many options to up-skill yourself. Best of all; you can do all this without needing to leave the practice and miss work!
Use technology to help maximise your productivity
Managing patient bookings and billings is a time-consuming role. It often means that you spend your day on the phone. As such, because these are such important tasks, it is important to remain as efficient and organised as possible (which you probably already are!). But, there is no harm in collaborating with technology to help you do an even better job. There are tools which you can suggest to the practice owner/ doctor about how to make bookings and billings easier to manage. Here are a few options:
- An online calendar with automated patient benefit checks: this online calendar allows you to check patient benefits before the patient goes in for the consultation. What’s great about this is that it reduces the amount of time which would have been spent on the phone calling the medical aid to check patient benefits.
- Patient SMS reminders: automated appointment or follow-up patient SMS reminders reduce the amount of time spent on the phone making and following-up on bookings.
- Cut your reconciliation time on 100 claims from 2 hours to 10 minutes by using automated reconciliation.
These are worthwhile tools to implement in order to create a little bit more ease and flow in your practice.
As a practice manager, you keep the wheels of the practice turning smoothly. But this may often result in time- scarcity. So try carving out pockets of time, before or after work, to prepare for the day ahead. Invest in yourself by being proactive about seeking knowledge and learning new skills. Lastly, technology is not meant to replace you, it is meant to assist you, so do not be afraid to embrace it!