Every medical practice, no matter what the size, has staffing challenges and issues that it frequently grapples with, and which, if not addressed and solved, may present obstacles to operating profitably. According to a recent survey, the top five challenges of medical practice staff are as follows -
1. Adding or replacing providers and other staff members
2. Gap analysis in the daily work flow to provide best patient care
3. Keeping up with challenging healthcare environment
4. Up-to-date with skill set and healthcare technologies
5. Efficient Medical Billing Process
Many of these issues are inter-linked such as staffing issues, from support personnel handling the front desk and back office functions to managing medical billing process efficiently or maximizing reimbursement in timely manner.
Here are ways to manage each of these concerns.
1. Adding or Replacing Providers or Other Staff Members
Are the conditions of your medical practice fostering a positive work atmosphere or are staffers, including providers, overworked and overwhelmed? Competing for other qualified provider employees can be challenging for any practice but more so for one that is small or rural. If you are a solo provider, what if you become ill or want time off?
- For some medical practices, using temporary workers until a permanent replacement can be found may help in the interim.
- For long-term incentives, offering flexibility of work hours and time off as well as professional growth and training opportunities can offset some of the limitations encountered by smaller practices.
- Semi-retired and late-career physicians can offer both short and long-term solutions for practices, as well as turning to locumtenens providers, nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to help fill the healthcare staffing gaps.
2. Identifying Areas of Greatest Need to Provider Best Patient Care
- Determine how many people are needed to get the jobs done, between patient encounter, being seen by providers and out the door.
- Keeping a log of employee tasks for 30 days is one good way to determine what needs to take priority.
- Taking surveys among both staff and patients can help to identify overlooked areas – but be prepared for some surprises by the feedback you may receive.
3. Keeping up with a changing healthcare environment
With the emphasis on value-based rather than fee-for-service care, many smaller practices are often feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of further stretching resources by adding services, such as social workers or pharmacists to the mix.
- One solution is to contract out as many outside services, such as lab tests or social services as feasible.
Inclusionof such services can present additional coding and billing challenges; using an experienced medical billing service can help ensure that these are coded and billed correctly.
- Remember that inefficiency takes up more people’s time, especially if still handling paper records and claims.
4. Up-To-Date with Skill Set and Healthcare Technologies
Office staffers in today’s fast-paced healthcare environment need more than good keyboarding and phone skills: systems should support employees who, as integrated team members, must enter patient information into an EHR system with sophisticated and complex data fields, ensure that patient lab tests and immunizations are updated, as well as access medical information to a degree not seen even 15 years ago.
- Technical skills and education are needed to maintain the higher quality of care expected, and finding individuals with these qualifications is challenging for both small and larger practices.
- Embracing concepts such as patient portals, health analytics, telemedicine and other higher-tech developments can boost patient interaction and satisfaction, especially among younger, tech-savvy patients.
5. Implementing Efficient Medical Billing Processes
Working with a trusted medical billing and practice management service can help with some of those staffing concerns by taking on coding and claims submission tasks that a medical practice may have difficulty handling in a timely manner. M-Scribe has been helping practices of all sizes and specialties with their billing, coding and provider credentialing concerns since 2002. Let M-Scribe help you analyze the areas needing improvement by contacting them today at 770-666-0470 or by email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn how we can improve your reimbursement rates and increase revenues while saving time and money.