4 Survival tips for a stressed out practice manager
The life of a practice manager is nothing short of being a superhero. There’s administration to be on top of, staff to manage, schedules to organise, practitioners to communicate with and patients to look after.
And every year, practice managers working in busy medical practices are being asked to do more with less. This leads to a stressful environment, where even the smallest error could mean missed appointments and wasted time for practitioners, invoice delays or unhappy patients. Over time, high stress in practice management has drastic consequences for team morale, productivity and overall patient experience.
For any stressful situation in practice management, there’s never a band-aid solution. Instead, it’s important to identify the stressors, examine any operational inefficiencies, and find more streamlined ways of working smarter, not harder. Let’s take a look at some key survival tips to implement for a more empowered approach to practice management.
1. Automate mundane tasks
Automation can be a powerful way to let technology do all the mundane tasks, leaving practice staff and medical professionals time to focus on patient experience and quality of care.
From generating reports, processing invoices, billing and managing appointments, automating can be a real game changer for busy, time-poor practice managers.
One great example of automation is using simple text alerts to manage bookings and reduce patient no-shows. And a practice manager enjoying the benefits of an automated booking system Bondi Junction 7 Day Medical Centre’s practice manager and registered nurse, Christine Dawson.
MedicalDirector’s Clinical and Pracsoft practice management solutions offered the Bondi Junction 7 Day Medical Practice the automated solution it needs to boost practice efficiency, while enabling optimum patient outcomes.
“It was easy for our practice to learn MedicalDirector’s software that has features like patient appointments and SMS reminders,” Bondi Junction 7 Day Medical Centre’s practice manager, Christine Dawson says. “Plus there are a lot of useful online guides and resources to assist you in working things out easily and autonomously.”
2. Save time training staff
To save time managing staff, practice managers need a user-friendly and reputable clinical management software solution, which staff can easily learn and use to better support patient needs.
When building a new medical practice of 30 doctors, 8 nurses, 8 receptionists, podiatrist and dietitian, Bondi Junction 7 Day Medical Centre wanted to not only a tried and tested solution, but also system that the wider healthcare community knew, trusted and could easily use. That’s why they chose MedicalDirector’s Clinical and Pracsoft solutions.
“I’ve trained new doctors, receptionists, and nursing staff on using MedicalDirector’s platforms when they first started and it’s quite easy for new staff to learn,” Practice Manager and Registered Nurse, Christina Dawson said. “Even staff with limited technical skills could pick up MedicalDirector’s programs very quickly and proficiently.”
As a registered nurse, Dawson said she’s used Clinical and Pracsoft both from a nursing perspective, and in her role as a Practice Manager of a busy medical centre, and one of the benefits she’s seen is both platforms are easy to use and follow.
“I would recommend MedicalDirector’s Clinical and Pracsoft solutions for their ease of use, it’s easy to train people, and the language used is familiar and easy to understand. There are no complex technical terms, just simple terms like ‘progress notes’. This makes using and understanding the program flow easy.”
3. Boost operational efficiency
Practice managers are under daily pressure to be accountable, and the pressure mounts even more when things go wrong. This can be aggravated further by having a fragmented clinical and practice management system.
One practice who solved this problem was South Australian-based practice South Road Day & Night Surgery, which has been operating for over thirty years. Once a very large and busy practice, but now a small, boutique surgery, the South Road Day & Night Surgery staffs three doctors, who see about 500 patients a week.
When the practice first started, Practice Manager Di Schultz said everyone was using two separate clinical and practice management systems. However, the surgery wanted to look for a more seamless, alternate solution. In particular, the practice needed a clinical management solution that integrated effortlessly with practice management software.
“In the very early days…we had separate clinical and practice management systems, which was a challenge because nobody takes responsibility when things go wrong,” she said. “That’s why we turned to MedicalDirector to find a better solution.”
South Road Day & Night Surgery switched from a competing product to MedicalDirector’s integrated Clinical and Pracsoft solution in March 2002, and has never looked back.
“Switching to MedicalDirector and using it since 2002 has been a fantastic decision for us,” Di said. “I can’t speak highly enough of MedicalDirector and its software solutions, and I tell everyone they should have it. Clinical and Pracsoft integrate so seamlessly and fit together like a hand in a glove. The systems just flow so beautifully.”
4. Take a mental break
Last but certainly not least, take a break once in a while. Even short breaks in the day can make a big difference in how you feel and how you approach staff, practitioners and patients.
In order to feel more recharged, refocused and re-energised, MedicalDirector’s Chief Clinical Advisor and GP, Dr Middleton, suggests taking the time to take a real mental break. For her, this means not turning on her computer on weekends for work-related tasks, and spending quality time with family. Regular breaks and holidays are also key.
“It’s so important to take a complete break from the working week,” she said. “And have regular holidays planned, so you always have something to look forward to. Even regular weekend getaways can give you that down time to help you recharge and be more energised to see your patients in the week.”
Ultimately, where you work and how you shape your career doesn’t have to have all that underlying stress. And investing some time and energy in implementing a time-saving practice management system can really help take the pressure off you and your team.