When we first opened our practice, we knew we needed to hire an office manager to handle paying the bills, managing the staff’s time of and buying all the office supplies. But we didn’t anticipate that we’d need a business manager.
Soon after we opened, it was apparent that the practice needed a business manager – not an office manager – but a business manager.
Medical practices are relatively complex businesses. And they generate a lot of cash when you compare them to other small businesses. Thus, a practice should have a “qualified” business manager that manages the practice for physicians in order to run the business efficiently.
In my experience, I’ve seen physicians give this position to nurses and in some cases, medical assistants with a knack for organization. However, unless they have specific knowledge and experience with running a business, I don’t think they should be left solely responsible for managing the business.
Giving a nurse or a medical assistance with a propensity towards business is like Derek Jeter giving his batboy the reigns to his career on account that the batboy “knows” baseball.
Now, before I get angry emails from nurses and medical assistance, let me say this. I’m not saying nurses or other staff members can’t run a practice.
But what I am saying is that ideally, he or she should have working smarts in areas such as operation analysis, data processing, finance, accounting, budgeting, purchasing and personnel. Knowledge of computers, networking, Internet technology and design are also helpful.
But what if the doc is the business manager? Sure, the doc can be as involved as she wants to be. But it shouldn’t distract her from doing what she does best; which is, see patients.
Doctors spending time doing business management stuff is like a Derek Jeter spending time as an “agent” and not playing baseball.
I know, getting a business manager is easier said and done. It takes time and effort to find someone trustworthy. But don’t let that sway you from the initiative of finding someone.
Hiring a business manager will result in an increase in convenience and timesavings. Furthermore, although hiring one will cost you money, the expectation for this person is clear… increasing return for the practice.
There is something to be said about hiring a person that will devote their full attention to managing one’s practice.