Guy Kawasaki wrote ten tiny things every small business owner should do in 2009. It inspired me to write something that every office manager, practice manager or even a doctor should do in their medical practice; including me! So here it goes.
1) Call the practice, act as if you are a prospective patient/customer and see how the front desk or receptionist treats you.
2) Create a website for your practice
3) Create a Google Adwords account so people can find your website.
4) Prominently display your practice’s phone number on the front page. Also, have a “contact us” section. Lastly, make sure it is easy to find your office hours.
5) Send a message, as if you were a patient or prospective patients, to the email on the website and see how long it takes to get an answer.
6) Answer the practice’s phones for a full day.
7) Work in the billing department for a week: day 1 – post payments; day 2 – send claims to insurance; day 3 – take billing & insurance questions from patients; day 4 – call insurance companies to follow up on claims; day 5 – take a rest (you’ll need it).
8) Go over the statement the practice sends out to patients. See if it makes sense to you when you read it. Look for things like, why were charges denied? When do I have to pay the bill? Is the billing’s department number readily displayed?
9) Pull a patient aside that just checked in, explain that you are wanting to document how long an entire visit takes and if they agree to help you with your experiment, have her write down how long each process takes; For example time how long it takes from the time she checks in to time she is called in; time it takes the doctor to step in after triage is done; how long does it take to get a refill on a Rx, etc.
10) Seriously look into buying an EMR. Yes, it is expensive; there is a learning curve; I know it is not perfect. But having one is far better than what you have now.