5 Management Tips for Your Rheumatology Practice

Managing any type of business is tough. You must be organized, efficient, able to keep things running smoothly, and good at making sure a variety of personalities feel like they’re staying on track. Managing a medical practice is even harder—you must do all the above, while also serving patients who are dealing with their own issues, worries, and concerns. The managers of rheumatology practices are aware of this phenomenon because they deal with it every day. While each manager has different strategies and systems in place to help their practice run productively and profitably, new tips and tricks are always a welcome addition.

In this article, we’ve rounded up some advice you’ve probably given a colleague, along with a few tips you may have overlooked.

#1: Know everyone’s duties.

Every single person in your office contributes to your overall success. If you make understanding their duties part of your job, you can ensure they’re accomplishing their duties to the best of their ability. You’ll also be in a better position to train, motivate, and support your staff, which is great for morale and productivity.

#2: Keep your calendar under control.

Each month brings a new set of responsibilities, deadlines, appointments, and reporting. Stay on top of this by creating a carefully curated calendar, accessible to everyone in the practice, that clearly lists these due dates and events. Make sure your calendar isn’t all business—include staff birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates as well. This will encourage people to look at it more often, which will make it more effective!

#3: Work on your communication skills.  

Once you know everyone’s duties and what their day-to-day looks like, you’ll be in a good position to communicate your practice’s expectations and feedback. Whether you choose to communicate face to face, in staff meetings, or via email, make sure you’re able to say what you need to say, clearly and with compassion. When your staff feels comfortable coming to you with issues and problems, you’ll know you’re doing something right!

#4: Become a cheerleader.

Good communication isn’t just about problems in the workplace. It’s also about celebrating the accomplishments of your colleagues! Positive reinforcement is a great way to keep your staff motivated. Avoid negative feedback and try to keep the focus on praise and recognition, but remember that words are just that—words. Eventually your employees will want to see a monetary reward for their hard work, so make sure that raises and promotions are part of your long-term plan. Finding good employees is hard, but keeping them around is even harder.

#5: Don’t be a slave to mail.

Mail—electronic and otherwise—can quickly consume your day. With messages regularly pinging your inbox, you could turn sorting through spam into a full-time job! Don’t allow the siren call of “You’ve Got Mail!” distract you from more pressing matters. Designate a specific time—say, the hour directly following lunch—to go through your messages with a fine-toothed comb. Prioritize what needs an immediate reply, what can be delegated, and what you should delete. If possible, aim for “inbox zero” by the end of each week. This will keep your email under control and ensure that everyone who needs a reply gets one in a timely manner.

We hope these tips help you run a more effective, efficient, and economical rheumatology practice. For more helpful tips, follow our blog and “like us” on Facebook!

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

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