The physician may be in charge at the doctor’s office, but the office manager really runs the place.
As a medical office manager, you’re an impresario. You orchestrate the day-to-day activities of the talents in your troupe. You must be a leader, a motivator, a teammate and a liaison. And you must know enough about everybody else’s job to be able to shuffle work assignments or temporarily recruit help when your team needs it.
Who comes in? Who goes out? What gets delivered? What gets sent out? What gets scheduled? You have the power. And you have to do it all with grace, speed and ease, because patients’ health and well-being are at stake.
A medical office is unlike any other office. If you’re a medical office manager looking for ways to run a tighter ship, here are some tips taken from professional managers in medical offices:
Know your staff. Because you’re in charge of managing people, one of your main assets as medical office manager is your ability to put together a good staff. That also means that you must know the functions of all your staff so you can quickly fill in for an absent worker or hire a reliable substitute. Another aspect of knowing your staff is knowing how to delegate. Your employees will need your guidance, but don’t micromanage them; let them handle their assignments and you’ll be free to focus on management.
Cross-train staff. Like you, your staff also needs to be familiar with job functions other than their own. Of course, they don’t need to know everything (that’s your job), but they need to know enough to make up for it when a member of the team is out sick or otherwise indisposed. If you don’t cross-train, you’ll end up filling in for the absentee worker yourself, and then who will fill in for the office manager?
Know the software. Several years ago, knowing the billing system of the medical office was sufficient to keep the practice functioning. But these days everything runs on computers. Knowing the financial and billing software is a must for any medical office manager. Knowing the management system also lets you conduct competent reviews of billing and collections to sniff out fraudulent activities.
Be current. As manager, it’s your duty to keep up-to-date on the latest guidelines, regulations, rules, and laws that are relevant to the practice. It’s not the doctor’s job or anybody else’s. Not knowing current practices can cost your practice a lot of time and money.
Be credentialed. Certifications and credentials are especially important in a physician’s practice because of the nature of the work. People’s health—even their very lives—depend on the work you do. That’s why you need to make sure confidentiality standards, record-keeping, Medicare requirements, and other guidelines are being followed in accordance with the latest changes. Don’t just rely on your staff to tell you when their certifications need to be renewed; you have to make sure they get the certifications they need and the continuing education courses that make them the best employees they can be.