Ways To Solve Workflow Issues Part II

It is always good to review your staff structure because what may have worked 3 years ago may not work now. Some other issues may be that there is now a new software program, too many staff members that are duplicating each other’s responsibility or another physicians assistant or nurse has been added to the staff.

One suggestion is to have each staff member log their work activities and the time they spent starting and completing each activity. At the end of the week, add up all the hours that are spent on each particular task. For example if the nurse, receptionist and medical assistant are all doing referrals, count the number of hours spent following referrals. This will determine whether an office has too many staff members or not enough. It will also determine if possibly one staff member can do the referrals while the other staff can focus more on other areas of their job.

Most offices find that the front desk job is usually understaffed. Answering phones, checking in patients, checking out patients, collecting money, input data into the computer and making appointments is usually left only up to one or two persons. Staff members are usually asked to help each other out when needed but each job description should be detailed and specific and each task should have one person with ultimate responsibility.

Another area of concern is with phone call overload. Consider adding extra hours of flexible scheduling to see more patients. This way the staff won’t be doing more work over the phone rather than them coming in for an appointment which means less revenue and more cost because the physician can’t get paid if they are taking care of patients over the phone.

Some insurance carriers can be very difficult to work with as well. Consider getting rid of those types of plans if it is costing the physician more time and unnecessary paperwork. This would free up more time on fighting with the carrier for approval for certain services or to receive payment from them.

It can be like musical chairs with patients as they are waiting to be seen in the exam rooms. Use a colored flag system on the exam room doors to indicate when a patient is in the room and ready. Also you could use some sort of clip to indicate what room the physician should enter next. This keeps the flow of patients and their appointment times more accurate.