How Does Your Medical Practice Measure Up?

Working in a medical practice can be fun, stressful, hectic, rewarding, and draining all at the same time. After all, we are responsible for the health of our patients –they turn to us in their time of need and we in turn do our best to ensure that they are treated well and that their medical ailments are either cured or controlled. Sometimes it is hard to balance the provision of high quality medical care while also working on the growth of your practice.

It is therefore important that some time is set aside specifically to analyze current operations and to do some strategic planning for the future growth of your practice. Our team at Leading Management Solutions has put together a list of questions to get you thinking and possibly identify some areas for potential improvement at your practice.

Do you have a well-known mission, vision, and values statement? For a practice to achieve success, all employees must be on board with the practice’s overall mission and goals. It is important to instill your mission, vision, and core values in every employee, and to lead by inspiring your team to strive for greatness.

Do you have an existing strategic plan that lists your goals, actions, and identifies a responsible person and time frame for carrying out those objectives? Until it is formally written down, your strategic plan is nothing but a set of ideas that may never come to fruition. It is important to have a written plan identifying the goals that you are trying to achieve, the actions that will get you there, who will be responsible for those actions, and by when these actions need to be completed.

Have you identified your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Any organization must be self-aware in order to stay in business. It is important to know what your practice’s strengths are, as well as what areas of weakness exist that may be improved with new processes. Additionally, a practice leader must always be aware of potential opportunities or threats that may present themselves in the external environment.

Do you have a formal onboarding and ongoing training process? A formal process for employee training is key to providing high quality services to your patients and to reducing patient frustration from avoidable mistakes. Training must begin from the first day that a new employee begins work, and must be pursued continuously to ensure that your standard of quality is held up by your whole team.

Do you utilize productivity bonuses for your staff? Your providers? A successful productivity bonus system can help engage and motivate your employees to be more productive and more involved in their work. Additionally, a productivity bonus system for your providers can allow your practice to see more patients and increase revenue.

Do your former employees frequently file for unemployment?All practices must deal with unemployment cases very carefully, to ensure that the practice is not paying benefits that are not their responsibility. It is important to always keep thorough documentation of any employee incidents or disciplinary actions in their files, to protect your practice from such frivolous cases.

Do you address uncomfortable issues that may be causing internal workplace tension? Some bad habits exist within any organization, especially in employees that have been with the practice for extended periods of time and feel too comfortable or even untouchable. It is easy to turn a blind eye to such activities; however, this sets a bad example for other employees, as well as negatively affects your practice’s quality and performance.

Do you have job descriptions? In order to hold an employee accountable for their work, detailed job descriptions must be created and signed by the employee upon hire. This prevents employees from claiming that they were unaware of a task that they were responsible for. If an employee is promoted or transferred to another department, a new job description needs to be created and signed.

These are just some of the questions that we ask when conducting a practice audit for our clients. We have found that many practices simply do not set aside enough time for formal strategic planning and reviews of current processes. Without being aware of the weaknesses that your practice may be facing, it is impossible to correct those issues, and you may be losing out on existing or potential new patients without even knowing.

For a copy of our free Practice Self-Assessment Questionnaire, email admin@lmshealthpro.com.

Leading Management Solutions is a healthcare management solutions company providing assistance and resources to healthcare management. Contact us today at (407) 674-1916 or visit www.lmshealthpro.com to learn more.

About the Author:

Sonda Eunus is the Founder and CEO of Leading Management Solutions, a healthcare management consulting company (www.lmshealthpro.com). Along with a team of experienced and knowledgeable consultants, she works with healthcare practice managers to improve practice operations, train employees, and increase practice revenue. She holds a Masters in Healthcare Management and a BA in Psychology.

 

 

 

How Much is Your Untrained Employee Costing You?

Your medical practice is only as strong as its weakest link—employees who lack training and make your practice look unprofessional can negate all of the effort and hard work from the rest of your team. Lack of training causes low productivity, an unsafe work environment, and increased expenses. Frequent mistakes not only cause patient frustration, but also coworker frustration: the coworkers have to clean up the messes that untrained employees create. Untrained employees can lead to serious financial and legal consequences. For example, a survey showed that 44% of the participants admitted to having shared sensitive company information because they “wanted to bounce ideas off of people”; 30% did so because they “needed to vent”, and 29% stated that they “did not see anything wrong with it.” These statistics show just how risky it is to have an untrained employee who can easily commit HIPAA violations for which you will be held responsible. When patient PHI has been compromised, the practice can face overwhelming financial penalties—and can even face criminal charges, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. A recent study shows that security breaches cost the healthcare industry $5.6 billion annually. The OCR has capped the fine for a severe HIPAA violation with no intent to correct at an annual maximum of 1.5 million dollars; however, even a fraction of this amount can seriously impact the financial stability of any practice.

Aside from HIPAA violations, untrained employees can cost you in many other ways:

Accidents or injuries while on the job: not only can an untrained employee injure himself while working, and seek financial compensation from your practice, but they can also create risky situations for other employees or even patients. Furthermore, accidents can lead to broken equipment, wasted supplies, and many other negative consequences. All such adverse incidents must be remedied and documented by the practice manager.

Bad customer service: every employee represents your practice. If an untrained employee provides bad customer service, displays a negative attitude, or is unable to answer common patient questions, it makes your whole practice look unprofessional and can cost you patients. When patients leave your practice due to subpar customer service or unknowledgeable staff, more often than not they will let their frustration be known to their friends and family, on social media and on Google reviews—leading to you losing even more patients and credibility.

Not collecting enough money from patients: If your untrained employee is a receptionist who is scared to ask patients for their co-pays or unable to explain patient balances, you will lose a significant chunk of money that should have been collected at check-in. Patient responsibility amounts have been climbing, and are now at around 23% of all A/R—and these balances are the hardest to collect if not collected at the time of service. If your untrained employee is a biller who improperly verifies a patient’s insurance—or does not verify it at all—and the patient gets seen, the practice loses money on that patient, whether by not collecting any money at all or by spending time and resources collecting it.

Not billing properly: no matter how amazing your providers are, how friendly your front desk receptionist is, or how caring your nurses are, your practice will not be able to operate if your billing department is not bringing in the revenue that you have worked so hard for. For example, an MGMA survey shows that better performing practices in primary care have an average Days in A/R of 23.54 days, as opposed to other practices who average 39.56 days. If your untrained billing staff is not following up on claims efficiently, many of your claims run the chance of being denied for untimely filing—causing you to lose large amounts of money.

Additionally, more so than in any other field, employee mistakes in healthcare can be deadly. Medical errors have been found to be the third leading cause of death in the US, with over 250,000 deaths per year caused by such errors. Some of the most common mistakes made by untrained healthcare employees include medication errors, infection issues, and charting or documentation mistakes. As we all know in healthcare, if it was not documented, it didn’t happen. This mistake may seem minor and easy to correct—if caught. However, if an untrained nurse forgot to document an allergy that a patient had, and the patient had a severe allergic reaction to the course of treatment provided, your medical practice as well as the individual provider treating the patient is now at risk of a malpractice suit—which comes with attorney fees, incurred financial losses, a damaged reputation, and higher malpractice insurance premiums. And this is only one way in which a documentation error by an untrained employee can lead to dire consequences.

Each of your employees directly represents your practice. The costs of not training your employees are too high for this to not be a priority for you. If you do not already have one in place, implement an onboarding and training process for all new employees—a general one for all new employees which introduces them to your practice mission, vision, core values, and goals, as well as a role-specific training process for each new employee to learn the intricacies of the position for which he or she was hired. Ensure that your training does not stop at new employees: existing employees need continuous training as well. Find a way to make it fun as well as informative—no one wants to sit through the same boring training routine over and over again. Although a new onboarding and training process may take some time and manpower to develop, the benefits of having such a program in place will be worth the effort exponentially when every employee at your practice is knowledgeable, professional, and on board with your practice’s vision and goals.

For assistance in setting up your practice’s onboarding and training program, contact Leading Management Solutions to set up a free consultation.

About the Author:

Sonda Eunus is the Founder and CEO of Leading Management Solutions, a healthcare management consulting company (www.lmshealthpro.com.). Along with a team of experienced and knowledgeable consultants, she works with healthcare practice managers to improve practice operations, train employees, increase practice revenue, and much more. She holds a Masters in Healthcare Management and a BA in Psychology.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonda-eunus-6895067b

Time Management for Healthcare Professionals

With your patients’ health on the line, you do not want increased demand to produce sloppy service, meaning now is the time to begin to hone your time management skills. Below are 5 tips for time management for healthcare professionals which should permit you to treat more individuals:

Set up Goals

As things get hectic, the last thing you’ll want is to run around like a chicken with your head cut off. Take some time to set up goals, as well as create a sense of purpose for the work week. Establish goals for thirty, sixty, and ninety days. Jot them down, and talk about them with the supervisor to receive extra input. Next, schedule some time at the start and finish of every week to assess your progress, action items, and goals.

Prioritize Your Work Day

When you arrive for work, it may be difficult to hit the ground running, yet time spent checking Facebook, wandering the halls, and drinking coffee is wasted time. Write out the specific tasks that you must complete every day and the time needed to complete them.

Ask Your Organization to Use EHR (Electronic Health Records)

Request that your organization switch over to electronic health records, if your employer has not already done so. Such records cut paperwork down while making it simpler to locate valuable patient data.

When Possible, Delegate

Do not assume you’re able to do it all by yourself. If there is extra available help, use it. Volunteers, interns, administrative staff, and medical assistants are there for a reason; therefore, take advantage of their assistance.

Understand When to Say No

Your coworkers know you are busy, yet that will not stop them from requesting help. Become realistic about your workload and agree only to take on patients or projects if there is enough time.

Leading Management Solutions is a healthcare management solutions company providing assistance and resources to healthcare management. Contact us today at (407) 674-1916 or visit www.lmshealthpro.com. to learn more.

About the Author:

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927

the Perfect CRM Vendor for your Healthcare Organization

30Originally published on November 30, 2016 at www.lmshealthpro.com.  By Kristen Brady

:-     The healthcare niche has come a long way from decades ago. Lots of aspects of the healthcare market, including consumerism have shot through the roof resulting in higher competition. Today, patients have a variety to choose from and high insurance health plans to service. As such, and to get the much-needed attention, healthcare services need to devise new ways of communication and rules of engagement for their prospects.

And since the work involved is too complex to be perfectly run by an individual (even an expert in the system), CRM systems have been designed to collect information and data, offering insight to imperative and meaningful exchanges with the patients. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. But while this piece of technology is important