Remaining profitable in healthcare today requires keeping overhead down, which means caring for patients and getting work done using as few people as possible. That, in turn, requires every staff person in the office to function as efficiently as possible. How are you doing in your practice in terms of efficiency? Here are a few practical ideas to help make your office increase productivity.
Give employees the tools they need. Practices that invest in “the right tools for the job” enjoy not only greater efficiency and productivity, but also better staff morale. Do your employees have ergonomically correct chairs, headrests or headsets for their phones, and proper lighting at their work stations? If not, take steps to get people what they need to be as comfortable as possible while they work. Even little items like quality pens, desk organizers, and Post-it notes in several sizes and colors can help boost efficiency.
Keep supplies on hand. Set up an ordering system for office and medical supplies that ensures you never have to send someone on a mad dash to the local office supply or big box store to retrieve a ream of paper, toner cartridge, or box of trash can liners. Put one person in charge of inventory control (or one for the front office and one for the back office) and give them the authority to create a system that works.
Maintain equipment. Nothing brings productivity to a halt faster than a piece of equipment breaking down. Set up a maintenance schedule for all of the equipment in your office, including copiers, computers, and medical instruments and equipment used in your specialty. You don’t drive your car for 10,000 miles without having the oil changed and the pressure in the tires checked, and you can’t expect delicate office and medical equipment to keep chugging along indefinitely without regular attention either.
Allow for flexibility in work hours. To the degree possible, allow employees to work the hours that they feel are their most productive. Staffers who provide direct patient care, of course, need to be in the office during regular business hours. But someone who does billing, coding, or filing, for example, might find that they’re more productive when the office is quiet and prefer to work from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m., or come in at noon and work into the early evening hours.
Clear the clutter. Messy work areas slow people down. If you missed our recent blog post on clearing clutter, read it here .
Check your processes and procedures. At least twice a year, put this item on a staff meeting agenda and allow time for a thorough discussion. The goal is to identify processes or procedures that need to be tweaked or eliminated. It’s not uncommon to uncover something being done, even on a daily basis, that is quite simply unnecessary. Look for where you can streamline, and then do it.