Hiring and retaining good staff is one of the critical factors determining private practice success. However, as the population ages and current trends in demographics keep up, it will be increasingly challenging to hire and retain good staff at lower levels. And this will be aggravated by the fact that reimbursement trends are flat.
It is time to revisit traditional notions of practice workflow and staffing patterns. Front desk staff can be relieved from most (not all) phone-based activities, including answering calls for appointments/rescheduling, refills, record requests, and lab results by routing them to the patient portal on your website or a kiosk. Upskilling front desk personnel to perform other tasks that need require physical activity will save the practice lot of time. Call center services are beginning to appear on the market that handles most telephone calls that require interaction.
If you are billing in-house, it can easily be outsourced to a billing company for better results and cost savings.
EMR workflow can be optimized to reduce the burden on practice workflow. For example, not all notifications need to be reviewed in-between patient visits. Instead, develop a protocol to add reminders for patients whose data (lab results, etc.) you expect to check. Other strategies include pre-authorizing refills for long-term medications and pre-ordering Labs based on visit reasons (like physical etc.).
Every laborious process your staff performs today needs to be thoroughly reviewed and alternatives considered. Post-Covid, people are generally more receptive to change and computer interaction.
Good staff should be motivated, upskilled, and retained.
Finally, any workflow change needs to be thought out, discussed, and communicated to everyone in an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for effective implementation. Workflow optimization is a continuous process that must be revisited constantly to sustain a successful practice.