Where do you want your practice to be five or 10 years from now? If you’re going to get there, you will require the support of your staff — and they, too, will require support from you.
Make sure they have the tools and training that they need. Three ophthalmologists and a practice administrator share some tips.
Take a Lean Approach to Reduce Workloads, Boost Productivity
“Through lean implementation, I learned that the patient experience is intimately bound to the staff’s experience in ways that reverberate throughout the clinic,” said José Agustin Martinez, MD, of Austin Retina Associates in Texas.
A lean work strategy can empower staff. It helps them to take charge of their own workflow and entrusts them with eliminating needless duplication of work, identifying uneven workloads and exploring more efficient ways to work. Once you have gotten staff buy-in, the lean approach “creates a more positive environment that further allows the physicians to more effectively focus on patient needs, thus augmenting patient care,” said Dr. Martinez. In some cases, the lean approach has reduced patient wait times by 85%.
If Staff Seem Overwhelmed, You May Be Understaffed
“Make sure you know your key practice performance indicators and the benchmarks for those measures,” said Robert E. Wiggins Jr., MD, MHA. “If you don’t, it is like going to your doctor and not having your blood pressure checked or knowing the normal range. Keep your practice healthy!” Dr. Wiggins is the managing partner at Asheville Eye Associates in Asheville, N.C., and is the Academy senior secretary for ophthalmic practice.
Take advantage of the Academy/American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives® AcadeMetrics benchmarking and salary tools.
Protect Your Staff From Harassment
“Every practice should have a policy manual that addresses harassment, customized for that practice, and it has to be actually used,” said Dr. Wiggins. “You want to catch things early, before they grow into a big problem for your practice.” Make sure your practice takes steps to prevent sexual harassment, and make sure you understand the Academy policy prohibiting harassment at its upcoming annual meeting.
Staff Can Crowdsource Answers Via E-Talk
“Ophthalmic practice management is complex,” said Joanne Mansour, OCSR. “E-talk is a network of administrators who collaboratively work to provide advice and support in all areas of practice management. It is one-stop shopping for human resources issues, billing, professional networking and much, much more. E-talk has been a major contributor in making me the administrator I am today.” Mansour is a practice manager at the Virginia Retina Center in Warrenton, Va.
E-talk is an online support network for AAOE® members.
Invest in Developing Your Staff as Leaders
“As physicians, we need to enable our team to be the best at all aspects of our practice,” said Anthony P. Johnson, MD, of the Jervey Eye Group in Greenville, S.C. “The AAOE is an amazing resource to utilize in developing your staff as leaders through high quality practice management training at the annual meeting, and networking with the experienced leaders we get to know at the Academy’s annual meeting, at the Mid-Year Forum, at the Ophthalmology Business Summit and at Codequest events all across the country.”
AAOE has developed an extensive library of staff management advice. For example, you can learn how to develop and, importantly, retain a top-notch technician team.