Four Major Challenges of Managing a Medical Office

Medical office managers across the country report having very similar, very tough challenges at their offices. These struggles are exhausting, but it can be helpful to share stories, as well as offer and receive advice from your peers. Keep reading for more information on four of the major challenges that medical office managers face today, and how to cope with these issues at your own practice.

Administrative constraints.

In today’s medical world, a quality administrative team is a must. While a great administrator can’t singlehandedly save a medical practice operated by lackluster physicians, the positive effect an expert office manager and administrative staff has on a practice is overwhelming. Administrative requirements are constantly increasing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So it isn’t just about recruiting an excellent medical team, it’s also about hiring a skilled and knowledgeable administrative staff. It’s not always easy, but when you have administrators dedicated to keeping your practice in line, you free up doctors and nurses to do what they do best – treat patients.

Employee turnover.

Outsourcing human resource tasks can lower costs and lessen workloads. However, if you choose to keep this responsibility in-house, you must be constantly active in hiring and retaining your staff. High turnover can be costly, and it can hurt office efficiency and patient satisfaction. Offering an excellent benefits package, implementing a recruiting strategy, and knowing how to continually motivate your team are key strategies to finding and retaining a productive staff.

Rising costs.

Increasing administrative requirements, fewer patients, and high technology costs can hurt any medical practice. The best way to handle rising operating costs is to monitor them and develop a quality budget plan. There are small changes you can make to increase your bottom line. For example, closely examine your office supply usage. Learning to use office supplies wisely can substantially cut down costs. Going paperless and bargain shopping for the best price will make a huge difference. You can also buy medical supplies as needed rather than in bulk. Buying in bulk can save money, but if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. You can also try to identify opportunities to get free trials from vendors promoting new products.

Collecting payments.

The entire healthcare industry has become more assertive in its collection practices. With costs constantly rising, it is extremely important to get the maximum reimbursement every time. And most times, this relies on patient payments. Studies have shown that once a patient walks out the door, the likelihood that he or she will pay the balance drops considerably. To keep this from happening, there are several strategies you can employ. First, collecting patient payments can prove to be a lot less difficult when there is a clear and enforced payment policy in place. Implement an automated process to avoid human error. Also, no one likes surprises, so make sure your patients know what they are being billed and why.

To say that medical office managers face challenges every day is an understatement. Hopefully reading about these common struggles will reiterate that you aren’t alone, and inspire some ideas to help with these issues at your own office. 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
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