Written by Madeline Hyden, MGMA web content writer/editor
When managing patient flow, dealing with staff issues and figuring out how to get paid, every minute counts. By making a few small changes in your day-to-day operations, you can free up provider time, streamline your front office processes and create an opportunity to chip away at your own to-do list.
Know your cancellation rate
Do you have more cancellations on Fridays or more no-shows around lunch time? If you can determine when cancellations, no-shows or last-minute rescheduling happens most frequently during the week, you can double book or overlap appointments, eliminating open space in the schedule.
Consider daily huddles
Before patients arrive, gather your administrative and clinical staffs together to review the day’s schedule. This is an opportunity for staff to give share details about patients that may affect other staff members’ time. For example, if a patient mentions on the phone that she's bringing a list of questions, the front office staff employee who took the call will be able to communicate that to the clinical staff in the morning huddle so that they can manage their time appropriately.
Rethink your open-door policy
As an administrator, you wear many hats. This also means your staff comes to you for help and answers on just about anything. Unless it’s an emergency, encourage them to save questions and discussions for daily huddles or weekly meetings. A quick question can turn into an hour-long discussion, which, over the course of a week, can take up a lot of your work day.
Learn providers’ scheduling preferences
Some providers may prefer a heavy schedule at the beginning of the day, while others may want a steady stream of back-to-back patients all day. Train your front office staff to schedule accordingly so providers don’t get over or underwhelmed by a schedule that doesn’t fit their needs.
Substitute nonphysician providers (NPPs) if appropriate
Train front office staff to get as many details as possible from patients' about why they're booking an appointment. When appropriate, NPPs may be able to handle appointments and free up physicians to treat more time-consuming, complicated patient cases, potentially generating more revenue for the practice.
Establish clear expectations for staff
Clear expectations reduce duplications and confusion and ultimately save time. This is true whether you're dealing with expectations in employee performance plans or the expectations of day-to-day tasks.
How do you improve your practice’s (or your own) time management? Share in the comments section below.
Visit our solutions pages for resources on staffing and patient flow.