Medical office managers must juggle administrative tasks, medical billing, the office staff, recruitment and retainment strategies, the organization’s budget, and everything else involved in providing a stellar patient experience. Like being a doctor, it takes more than a bachelor’s degree to master such a complex position.
Read on to learn the best practices on how to manage a medical office so you can boost patient satisfaction and efficiency at your healthcare facility.
Key Challenges of Managing a Healthcare Office
Managing a medical office is challenging for numerous reasons. Labor shortages, finance cuts, and strict compliance rules riddle the healthcare industry with endless bottlenecks. Healthcare administration teams face the following challenges:
- Staffing: The medical practice staffing shortage is a crisis. Healthcare workers quit because of burnout, lingering pandemic ramifications, and more, causing 333,942 providers to leave the field in 2021 alone. Because of this shortage, medical office management teams cannot staff their healthcare organization with enough employees to provide fast care.
- Patient satisfaction: Excellent patient satisfaction means better retention levels, steady scheduling rates, and constant revenue flows — all figures that healthcare administrators want to see. Unfortunately, satisfying patients in an environment with a small medical staff, an unorganized electronic health record (EHR) system, and seemingly constant denials from insurance companies can feel like an uphill battle.
- Finances: As a medical professional, you want to focus on the physician-end of your clinic’s experiences, like providing great care, though you can’t do so without sufficient funds. One of the biggest challenges you face as a medical office manager is affording the tools and experiences patients expect while compensating employees appropriately, even when claims get denied or patients don’t show.
Key Areas of Medical Office Management
The best way to keep your medical practice running smoothly is by unifying your tasks. As a healthcare manager, your key areas of administration include the following:
Appointment scheduling should be of your top metrics in healthcare management. Consistent appointments each day keep the revenue coming in so every staff member can stay employed. Urging patients to schedule appointments isn’t always easy, though, and can take valuable time away from your already busy team.
Appointment scheduling automation is an excellent tool for any healthcare administrator. By automating this important task, your staff can focus on more important things, like providing excellent health care to each patient. So, how can you improve scheduling at your practice?
Try implementing the following tools so patients can schedule themselves:
- IVR phones: Interactive voice response (IVR) phone systems direct callers through a series of questions to reduce call wait times and help patients complete actions, like scheduling appointments, on their own.
- Online scheduling: With modern medical software like Weave your patients can schedule appointments entirely online. This software integrates with endless features, including digital forms, so you can collect patient information before they arrive.
- Automated appointment reminders: Missed appointments waste your staff’s time and prevent other patients from seeking the care they need. Automated appointment reminders send texts to patients without your office team needing to confirm their arrival time.
Weave customers have estimated they see 15 new patients each week since starting Weave
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Long wait times and mountains of paperwork deter patients. Nothing’s more annoying than showing up to an appointment on time, then waiting forever, filling out forms you’ve already completed in the past, then spending forever anticipating your bill or test results.
As a healthcare administrator, you want to streamline patient flow by making every touchpoint of their experience as frictionless as possible. Patient flow touchpoints include the following:
- Appointment scheduling
- Arrival paperwork covering health information
- The visit with the healthcare provider
- Medical record updates following the appointment
- Future communication between the patient and provider regarding treatment
- Claim submission and acceptance or denial
- Payments and billing
Digital forms synced with your electronic patient record system are an excellent way to streamline many of the above touchpoints. Each patient can enter their information online before the appointment, reducing in-office visit times, and giving their healthcare professional more comprehensive, real-time insights into their care needs.
You can keep your staff and patients unified on a single platform sharing up-to-date medical information for accurate medical coding, fast communication, and simple access to health-related results.
Medical Billing and Insurance
Running a business always involves collecting and handling money, and with a medical practice, finances are especially complex. Medical billing involves diagnostic and treatment coding, insurance claims, reimbursement collections, payment collections, equipment and medication costs, and much more. As a medical practice manager, you act as the bridge between giant insurance organizations and stressed patients struggling to fulfill their bills — a tough spot to be in.
Combining your internal coding and claims system with your external payment collection system is an excellent way to streamline the medical billing and insurance task on your long roster of clinic duties. Modern platforms, like Weave Payments, allow your employees and patients to handle all tasks in one convenient, unified system.
On the inside, your team can easily manage codes, claim submissions, denials, and approvals. After claims go through, patients can quickly pay online using features like text-to-pay or “Buy Now, Pay-over-time” for flexible financing.
Offering convenient ways to pay and creating a more streamlined insurance verification system can help your medical practice generate a more consistent cash flow. You can invest these funds toward important measures, like staffing or new equipment, to further improve the patient experience.
When rating the competency of your medical office, people tend to look at your employees. Truthfully, the driving factor behind how well your team functions is human resources. If you want your employees to work as a well-oiled machine, delivering top-notch patient care, you must hire the right people and train them correctly.
The hiring, training, and continuing education role of the medical office manager is often overlooked though critically important in ensuring that staff members can perform their job functions adequately. As a medical office manager, you must oversee the following tasks:
- Creating job descriptions
- Recruiting employees
- Interviewing and considering applicants
- Hiring and onboarding new hires
- Training employees to excel in their role
- Consistently re-training team members to further strengthen abilities
- Letting go of employees that do not hold their weight
- Ensuring that employees comply with medical practice standards
Patients won’t find your medical practice without marketing. If your plate wasn’t already full enough, you also need to tackle the task of campaign management. Marketing includes a broad spectrum of tasks, from optimizing your practice’s website so that it ranks well on Google to gathering positive patient reviews, sending patients promotional emails, advertising on social media, and much more.
As a medical practice manager, you may not have the time to master all the best marketing practices nor can you afford to hire a full marketing team. Instead, you can invest in medical practice software that integrates a few simple marketing tools for you. For example, with Weave, you get the following:
- Reviews: Positive reviews help your medical practice attract more patients and rank higher in Google’s algorithm. Weave helps you easily generate more positive reviews immediately after each appointment.
- Email marketing: Email campaigning is the tried and trusted marketing strategy. With Weave’s emailing tool, you can craft campaigns that help you reach new patients and keep them coming back.
- Bulk Texting: Email campaigns may be a traditional strategy for reaching new leads, but texting campaigns help you communicate with your current patients. You can use Weave texting for payment collections, reminders to schedule a follow-up visit, and more.
Compliance is one of the most important aspects of the job for clinic managers. Your practice and staff must comply with numerous health-related codes, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), and more. Such organizations enforce rules surrounding sensitive patient information, private payment details, data protection, and more.
Breaking compliance with any of the above acts or others can result in major consequences, like lawsuits. You must inform your team and keep them up to date on all the correct practices so your office complies with everything. You can use resources, such as the Medical Group Management Association, for support.
Compliance often requires continual training courses and certifications. Keep inventory of your team’s certification expiration dates to ensure that everyone stays on track.
Additional Tips To Improve Your Medical Practice Management
Tackling the above key management areas in a streamlined way can help your clinic succeed. Try these tips to further improve your medical practice management strategy:
Invest in Technology
As software advances, your job as a manager becomes easier. You can automate tasks, unify systems, free up your physician team, retain patients, and save money to spend elsewhere. At Weave, our medical software helps practices save more than $7,000 in staffing costs per year.
Our single, powerful tool combines all of your needs into one, including the following:
- IVR phones for reduced wait times
- Patient texting for appointment reminders, payments, etc.
- Self-scheduling to free up your staff
- In-depth patient data for more well-rounded care
- Digital forms for faster check-in experiences
- Web assistant extensions for improved patient independence
- Review collections to help your practice attract more patients
- Analytics for in-depth patient and practice insights
- Payment collections with financing options and other convenient features
With Weave, you can optimize everything from the way you communicate with your patients to how you collect their payments. Your internal and outward-facing experiences will operate on the same, smooth system offering a seamless patient flow.
When finding the right medical software for your practice, you should consider your budget, integration requirements, must-have features, and time for onboarding. You need an easy-to-use platform so your team doesn’t waste time learning how to use it. The system should make your patients’ lives easier, not harder.
Retain Staff To Save Time and Money
Managers who focus more efforts on retaining staff rather than losing and rehiring team members can save time and money. Even the most experienced new hires cannot learn their roles in just a few days. Yes, they could perform their job correctly, though it will take them months to onboard and fully absorb your practice’s core values, mission, team foundation, and overall workflow.
For example, your practice likely uses different programs for employee scheduling and equipment. While these differences may sound minor, a new employee cannot grasp them immediately. Training someone to understand these concepts takes time, which means money.
So, how can you retain your valuable staff to avoid training new members? Try the following tips:
- Meet with each employee one-on-one to understand their career-advancement goals
- Nourish team communication on a daily basis
- Provide competitive compensation levels
- Celebrate hard work with regular bonuses, raises, and promotions
- Offer flexible scheduling so employees can have a work-life balance
- Collect feedback on a regular basis and act on any common notes
- Create team outings for employee bonding and general workplace enrichment
Stay Up-to-Date on Regulations
The medical industry constantly changes its compliance regulations. The last thing your practice needs is a lawsuit because you forgot to update your team on the latest requirements. A simple mistake can lead to grave consequences.
To stay up-to-date on regulations, subscribe to the major organizations enacting them so you can receive notifications with the related article on every relevant change. Any time something major changes, meet with your team to discuss what they should know. You may need to schedule training courses on in-depth regulation matters.
Now that you know how to manage a medical office for effective success, it’s time to begin practicing these strategies. Consider adopting an all-in-one platform to streamline how your practice operates. At Weave, our software takes care of many of your managerial tasks, from automating scheduling to streamlining insurance verification and payment collections.
See how Weave could improve practice success at your medical facility today by scheduling a demo to learn more.