Whether it is dentistry, general medicine, a hospital or something in between, running a healthcare office is no easy feat. You track and manage numerous people’s health information, all while trying to do what is best for the patient. If you lead a healthcare office, below are five recommendations to help the workplace run as efficiently as possible.
1. Internal Systems
While all office managers have struggles to overcome, healthcare office managers have the added challenge of handling patient’s protected health information, or PHI. As this information is extremely sensitive, your office has more regulations around security and what must be done to protect this data. Investing in a healthcare document management system can not only make your life easier but it is an excellent way to help ensure the information is secure. This system reduces the amount of paperwork you handle and also streamlines the processes for multiple departments, including payroll, admissions and human resources.
Scheduling appointments can be difficult for your staff and the patient, especially if the doctor is booked solid for the next couple of months. To avoid missed appointments and rescheduling, remind patients of their appointments multiple times in advance. If a hard copy is preferred, write the appointment date and time on a business card. Otherwise, most people prefer electronic reminders. Once an appointment is made, send out a text message confirming the time and date. About a week beforehand, send out another text reminder and then one final message the day before the appointment. If email is preferred, send automated emails instead of texts. Include the office phone number in the message so individuals know the number to call should they need to reschedule. In the initial appointment confirmation, include your cancellation policy so the requirements are clearly laid out should the person need to cancel.
3. Break Room
Everyone is more productive when they get a chance to rest and refocus. Make sure employees have a comfortable break room to retreat to throughout the day. Provide free coffee and filtered water for your staff. If you really want to treat them, invest in a modern coffee machine, such as one that creates lattes or espressos. Have a refrigerator and microwave available for snacks and meals. If your budget allows, consider providing free refreshments, such as a variety of crackers and sodas. Have a table and comfortable chairs available for dining, and diffuse essential oils to create a relaxing environment.
4. Online Resources
In this age of technology, online resources are often appreciated by patients. Offer your patients an online portal to request appointments and track all their health information, including pending and past appointments, medications and feedback and instructions from doctors. Many patients, especially those who are seen a lot, find it convenient having all their data in one easily accessible spot. Plus, it saves your staff time, since individuals can see all their data instead of having to call the office to track it down.
While it may take more time upfront, cross-training your employees is a huge benefit to your company in the long run. If you have only one staff member that has a thorough understanding of the scheduling system and he or she goes on vacation, chances are his or her backup is going to make mistakes. You need multiple people with a complete understanding of each department and its procedures. Ensure at least two or three people are trained on each process within the office. Build a job aid as a reference guide should a one-off situation occur or someone new needs to learn the procedures. Make sure it is updated on a yearly basis or when system updates occur, so it does not become outdated.