As a podiatric physician or office manager, you know how hard it is to set goals for yourself and your staff members. At times “work” just seems to get in the way of completing goals that would actually move the business ahead in a more productive way. One of the reasons this happens is many of the job tasks we have to complete need focused time, such as charting, scheduling patient appointments, verifying patient insurance benefits, collections, and inventory.

It is a known fact that when you are disrupted from doing a task it takes 7-12 minutes to regain your focus and get back to work, so we become less productive the more we are interrupted. Maybe the answer is to look at a different solution to get job tasks done that would be more productive. In many offices staff members wear multiple “hats” with many important tasks that need to be done.

“Overloading staff” usually happens gradually and many times goes unnoticed until things start spiraling out of control and life preservers are being handed out. Physicians and managers need to take the time to step back and look at the big picture often to see how they can unload their staff by making things simpler.

One way is to allow staff members to have a block of time to do certain duties where they are uninterrupted to get things done, such as the inventory. By being allowed one afternoon a month to do inventory without being pulled away, the staff member knows he or she will have the time to get the job done. Maybe staff members who work accounts receivables are allowed to block time three afternoons a week. In doing so, they no longer have to stress wondering when they will get the time to work the A/R; they know the time has been allotted for this job.

The idea is to uncomplicate the way you do things by scheduling time blocks to accomplish what needs to be done without weighing anyone down. Staff members know they will have the time to get their key tasks done and the rest of the time will be spent productively cycling the patients through the practice. It’s time to lighten up the load around the office. Everyone will feel much better knowing time has been set aside to get all of their tasks done and they will become more productive overall.

Tina DelBuono is a Practice Management Coach – mentoring doctors to manage their practices effectively through membership in the Top Practices Practice Management Institute. For more information, email us at [email protected] or call us at (717) 725-2679.
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