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MANAGING THE OFFICE

A half dozen plus one good ideas

A good manager = a good people-problem solver. Here are some solutions readers have told MOM about in the past. They are easy to implement, and they work.

  • To keep little problems from getting big, name a head staffer for the clinical area, front desk, billing department, and so on.

When staff have comments or problems, they have to e-mail them to those individuals. The head staffers then address anything that needs immediate attention, such as a double-booked appointment. Then at the next staff meeting, they report on what they did solve and present the unsolved issues to the group for discussion.

  • To end the petty interruptions, set up a comment form. At the top, the staffer circles comment, concern, or complaint. Below that is a space to describe the problem. And below that is a space for the suggested solution. Then the staffer signs the form. No forms are considered unless all the areas are filled out.

  • To end the personal complaints, call the complainer’s hand. If it’s that Staffer A is doing this or that, say “Let’s get Staffer A in here so she can be a part of this conversation.” Nine times out of 10, the response will be “Oh there’s no need for that. I just wanted you to know about it.” The end.

  • To keep the front desk operating perfectly, one manager meets with the staff each month to talk about just one procedure. They outline what’s required and discuss what might work better.

If there’s a change, the manager includes it in the front-desk manual, which is a work in progress. The manual stays at the front desk so staffs know how to cover for one another and so new staffers know how to do the work correctly.

  • To prevent the fake sick-day calls that leave the office shorthanded, especially around the holidays, give everybody, say, five sick days a year, and allow them to take the unused days (or a certain number of days) into the next year as added vacation time.

That way, the office has advance notice for most absences.

  • To get exactly what the office needs when remodeling an area, ask the staff who work there to make recommendations on where the desks should be placed, where cabinets need to go, what papers to keep elsewhere, and even how to reduce noise. That will eliminate the efficiency obstacles.

  • The perfect formula for addressing performance issues:

  1. Tell what the problem is – behavior, poor work, or whatever.
  2. Give examples of the problem.
  3. Tell how the issue is harming the office and the patients.
  4. Explain what the staffer has to do to correct it.
  5. Set a deadline for getting is corrected.

Any employee can understand that message, so if the issue isn’t eliminated, the manager can discipline freely.


Editor’s picks:

5 ways managers can better communicate with staff


18 great ideas to make you a better manager


Do you have the ‘right stuff’ to be a successful medical office manager?


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