5 Healthy workflow habits for busy specialist practice managers
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5 Healthy workflow habits for busy specialist practice managers

Is your day a juggling act of managing appointments, schedules, reports, finances and patient files. In this article, we take a look at workflow changes that can help specialist practice managers to take control back of the valuable hours in a day, create a healthier work environment, and open up more time in the practice to focus on patient care, not paperwork.

1. Define ‘healthy’ practice management protocols

Why can fast food chains run so seamlessly and scale so fast? Because they start with extremely efficient, agile and simple systems, and processes that even a teenager could understand.

Applying this principle to a specialist practice, a successful set up needs to be built on systems and processes that are efficient, flexible and scalable. A system that is easy to understand, train and use will not only make the entire set up process more efficient, but make growing your practice, training additional staff and managing a larger patient base – that much smoother.

2. Take charge and lead

recent report by the Australian Association of Practice Managers (AAPM), revealed how today’s practice manager is no longer viewed as ‘the administrator’, but heralded as the ‘transformational leader.’

According to the report, good people leadership in practice management is about applying an innovative and strategic vision, to positively influence the lives of individuals within the practice – and the community in which it operates.

However, the report stressed people leadership is not necessarily about adding further work to the already demanding role of a practice manager. Instead, it is about reshaping the role to empower practice managers to be the driver of change and innovation, and apply a strategic view to managing day-to-day challenges – while working towards better outcomes for staff and patients.

3. Use solutions specifically designed for specialists

For Chelsea Heights Day Surgery and Endoscopy an efficient way of managing the patient journey, from booking through to billing, invoicing and running reports meant finding a way to cut down those many micro-moments of workflow. The Surgery turned to Bluechip, by MedicalDirector, as their go-to practice management solution for boosting practice efficiency because it was software specifically designed for specialists.

“I’ve always used Bluechip and love its simplicity, but the previous software the practice was using couldn’t do day surgery seamlessly,” Practice Manager Nina Tong explained. “It couldn’t do simple things like opening up more than one patient’s file. You’d have to manually close another one – it didn’t allow us to have multiple pages open.”

Even printing was complicated on their legacy system, and it couldn’t run reports easily either.

“So, all these things added up to make daily workflow tasks quite complicated,” Nina said. “What we needed was one day-surgery friendly software solution designed specifically to meet the needs of our specialists.”

4. Make scheduling smarter

A large cardiology specialist group needs more than just manual diary books to organise doctors’ busy schedules across multiple practice sites.

Ten years ago, Peninsula Cardiology Group moved away from a paper-based scheduling system to MedicalDirector’s specialist practice management system Bluechip integrated with Clinical, and was delighted by the efficiency outcomes.

As a dynamic and fast-paced practice group, Practice Manager Liz Morton said the cardiologists from Peninsula Cardiology are always on the move. This means rostering needs to be as organised as quickly as possible.

“From day to day, our cardiologists, nurses and support staff move from practice-to-practice, so things can get quite complicated.”

Prior to implementing an integrated solution by MedicalDirector, the practice group was using a competitor product, using old-fashioned, manual diaries to manage the specialists’ schedules.

“Everything changed when one of the specialists saw another practice using Bluechip, and was very impressed with its features and functionality,” Liz said.

It didn’t take long after implementing MedicalDirector’s Bluechip and Clinical that the Peninsula Cardiology Group began to enjoy greater efficiency outcomes, and managing the daily workflow complexities of a team of roaming specialists became a breeze.

“What we’ve also found useful is that all our cardiologists run different tests, and the colour-coding within Bluechip helps to effectively organise all the different types of tests,” Liz said. “We can also easily manage the scheduled list for the sonographer against the doctor’s list for the day, meaning the day runs smoothly.”

5. Go paperless as you scale

As a specialist practice becomes busier and grows, practice management becomes about working smarter, not harder. One example of a busy and specialist medical practice network getting it right is the Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Practice, a family-owned vocational practice, which specialises in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine from diagnosis to treatment options.

When the practice first started, it used a paper- based system, was getting harder to manage as the practice became busier. Bluechip, allowed the practice to move away from a paper-based system and leverage an easy to use, automated and seamless appointment management solution, freeing up more time to focus on providing specialist patient care.

“Bluechip is definitely a scalable solution that helps a growing specialist practice,” Practice Manager, Melinda Campbell, said. “In terms of manageability, patients and appointments are all managed quicker and better. Plus through the software, we’re able to run reports to track our growth as well, and offer that as a spreadsheet to the practice owners. This helps give us a true reflection of the growth, and gives us more direction as to which way we should be heading.”