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Make a big impact on your medical practice by starting with the small stuff. Get tips for improving patient work flow managing employees, the revenue cycle and more. MGMA's healthcare consultants share their tips, too.
- Sit at the front desk for an hour and observe your staff. Take note of staff friendliness and observe patient wait times to gain the patient's perspective of your practice.
- Make sure every employee has the equipment to do his/her job efficiently. Cindy Dunn, RN, FACMPE, tells of one practice that had all the latest technology but a mouse for one of the computers malfunctioned for several months, costing the employee (ultimately the practice) valuable time. The solution was a cheap fix a new mouse.
- Just hired as the new administrator? Nick A. Fabrizio, PhD, FACMPE, FACHE, says it's important for you to meet with the managing physician or board within the first 30 days to clarify their expectations for the next three to 12 months.
- Ask your colleagues on the MGMA Member Community (membership required) for advice with nearly any problem you're experiencing. Members share documents, tips and tricks on the most pressing practice management questions.
- When interviewing new employees, include behavioral questions. Past behavior under specific circumstances is the best predictor of future behavior. Hire for personality and cultural fit and provide the necessary technical training to bring them up to speed, says Ken Hertz, CMPE.
- Ask your staff, "How can the practice be more efficient?" You'll tap into the best source of feedback for your practices processes the people using them! Give your employees two to three days to answer the question and allow them to e-mail the answers or submit them anonymously to a drop box.
- Check for patient insurance eligibility and benefits at least two days before a scheduled visit, suggests Dunn.
- Take an MGMA survey. As a thank you for participation, your practice gets the free results, which can help you benchmark your practice. See a list of all currently open surveys.
- Go eco-friendly (and cut down on paper costs) by training employees to print double-sided and discourage unnecessary printing such as e-mails.
- Gather up all your payer contract copies in one location and keep originals in a safe place. Don't wait until you have an urgent need for the document to find out it's missing, says Jeffrey Milburn, MBA, CMPE.
- Encourage your patients to refer their friends. Offer a small gift certificate as a thank you. The more patients who become long-term clients the higher your revenue.
- No more scanning faxed documents! Unplug the paper fax machine and direct that incoming fax number to your network fax server, suggests Rosemarie Nelson, MS.
- Celebrate occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. Small tokens of appreciation like cookies or a card can go a long way for employee morale.
- Make one person in the business office responsible for tracking, managing and fixing the cause of payer denials. This "King or Queen of Denials" will become an expert and can be incentivized if you benchmark the number, amount and cause of denials over time, says Milburn.
- Have your physicians sign up for free, online FDA drug alerts sent to their inboxes. You and other clinicians can also receive the alerts after the initial signup. MGMA partners with the Health Care Notification Network to bring you this service.
- Start tracking co-pays collected at time of service, says Nelson. Compare that to what 100 percent of co-pay collection would be and post it for the practice's staff in a prominent place. Collections will immediately improve!
- Call an employee into your office just to thank them for his or her work. Make the praise the sole focus of the discussion, suggests Dunn.
- MGMA members, sign up for the MGMA Washington Connexion e-newsletter and keep on top of the latest healthcare legislation and regulation news from Washington, D.C. It's a great member benefit that allows you to be nimble when it comes to compliance changes.
- Print out and invite your front office staff to follow one of practice management author and speaker Elizabeth Woodcock's "10 commandments of good service for front office success."
- Add your internship, residency or fellowship to MGMA's Internship-Residency Program directory, or get help starting your own program. Adding opportunities to train and mentor new leaders now will benefit your practice long-term.
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