October 23, 2023

Are Remote Teams Right for You and Your Practice?

Is the remote team model a good fit for my practice?

This question has gained newfound relevance in the post-pandemic era as the world grows increasingly interconnected and technology advances. Healthcare practices are now venturing into innovative operational approaches, driven by the quest for enhanced flexibility, efficiency, and access to a broader talent pool.

Let's explore the critical considerations that can empower you to make an informed decision. Whether you are contemplating transitioning to a remote team setup or aiming to refine your existing remote work framework, join us to unveil how virtual teams can potentially reshape how you provide care.

The Benefits of Implementing a Remote Work Model

According to recent data from McKinsey & Co., approximately 45% of healthcare support workers and 43% of healthcare practitioners report engaging in a combination of full-time and part-time remote work.

So, what has led to this shift?

Here's a list of the advantages that underpin this shift.

1. Enhanced Productivity and Flexibility

One of the foremost advantages of working from home is improved work/life balance, which can result in higher job satisfaction and reduced employee burnout. Moreover, this balance provides flexible working arrangements, allowing healthcare professionals to optimize their work hours, take necessary breaks, and return to tasks when they are most productive, ultimately boosting overall efficiency.

2. Access to a Wider Talent Pool

Remote work goes beyond physical boundaries, enabling healthcare organizations to access a worldwide talent pool. They're no longer limited to recruiting talent within commuting distance, which is particularly beneficial when searching for specialized skills or cost-effective administrative support. Consequently, they can tap into diverse expertise, enhancing innovation and quality care.

3. Cost Savings

Remote work reduces office-related expenses for healthcare providers, such as expenses related to office space, office equipment, and maintenance. On the other hand, employees can save on commuting costs, work attire, and daily meals, enhancing job satisfaction and financial efficiency.

4. Convenient Patient Care Choices

Remote work in healthcare goes beyond administrative roles. It also offers patients more convenient care options. Telehealth services, for example, enable patients to receive medical consultations from their homes, saving time and eliminating the need for travel. This accessibility is especially valuable for individuals with mobility limitations or those residing in remote areas. It enhances patient satisfaction and improves patient outcomes by accelerating diagnoses and treatments, regardless of geographical constraints or resource shortages in underserved areas like rural communities.

Will a Remote Work Model Be Effective in My Practice?

Are you wondering if a remote work model will work effectively in your private practice?

Before diving in, gather your practice managers, HR folks, and tech support for a good old-fashioned brainstorming session. Take a closer look at your workflows and the roles your staff play. Be open-minded, and determine which tasks can be smoothly and securely shifted off-site. Don't leave your staff out of the loop; get their opinions and tackle any worries together.

Depending on your practice's unique setup, moving roles like IT, accounts, scheduling, authorizations, and medical records to remote work might make sense. Nevertheless, some practices are even finding ways to handle patient-facing tasks virtually.

But here's the deal-breaker: for a remote work initiative to work, you, as a practice leader, need to be all in. You'll need to be actively involved throughout the process, i.e., shifting your focus from managing people to managing processes. You'll need to stay connected with your teams, keep the lines of communication open, and trust your team to do their thing. Remote work might not fly in your practice without trust and open communication.

Is Now the Ideal Time to Transition?

Before the pandemic, remote work in the medical world was a bit of a rare bird. Many providers believed physical presence was crucial to building connections and a productive workplace culture. Plus, there were logistical headaches like getting everyone access to computers and office supplies, not to mention the labyrinth of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance and securing those sensitive networks. It felt like a mountain to climb for many employees.

But things have changed. Thanks to the wonders of cloud-based services and healthcare software solutions. Now, more employees can do their jobs from pretty much anywhere, and it's easier than ever.

Moreover, a recent MGMA Stat poll from February 9, 2022, reveals a substantial change in the landscape — a staggering 59% of medical group practices have already transitioned to remote or hybrid work setups in 2021. That's a significant shift.

So, if the remote working model aligns with your practice's workflow, it might be just the right time for you to transition to remote teams.

How to Effectively Manage Remote Healthcare Teams?

Managing remote healthcare teams can present unique challenges, but it can also be highly effective with the right strategies and tools.

An effective management strategy for remote healthcare teams involves the following critical components:

1. Strategic Planning

First things first, plan like a pro. Take the time to lay out tasks and workflows in advance. Think scheduling, task assignments, and divvying up resources. The better you plan, the smoother things run and the fewer errors you'll encounter.

2. Setting Clear Expectations

Your team should know what's expected of them and what the team as a whole is trying to achieve. Crystal-clear expectations help everyone align their efforts with the practice's goals.

3. Performance Monitoring

Keep tabs on how your remote team is doing. That means having key performance indicators (KPIs) and regular performance assessments in place. By tracking metrics closely, you can spot areas that need improvement and take action pronto.

4. Recognition and Appreciation:

Don't forget to give credit where it's due. Keep an eye out for standout employees and make sure their hard work doesn't go unnoticed. A little recognition can go a long way in keeping your team motivated and happy.

5. Communication and Feedback

Foster open lines of communication with your remote workforce. Regular video conferences, emails, or messaging platforms can help. Encourage them to speak up, ask questions, and share their experiences and challenges.

6. Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are non-negotiable, given the healthcare sector's responsibility for handling sensitive patient data. Take a comprehensive approach to identify potential security threats and maintain HIPAA compliance. Begin with the basics like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and multifactor authentication to bolster data security. However, remember that technology isn't the sole solution. Scrutinize every process related to confidential data access or transfer and reassess them to align with the work-from-home environment.

Make Remote Teams a Reality

Transform your vision of remote teams into a tangible reality. At Glenwood, we understand the evolving landscape of healthcare and are here to support you every step of the way. Our innovative solutions (GlaceEMR & GlaceRCM) empower your healthcare practice to efficiently manage operations, maintain compliance, and enhance patient care, all while ensuring data security and HIPAA compliance. Leap towards a more adaptable and productive future. Contact us today to learn how our solutions can benefit your team and improve patient care.

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