When it comes to chiropractic practice management, simplicity leads to efficiency, and efficiency leads to better outcomes for patients and profits. While “become simpler” is an easy statement to say, it can be hard to actualize.
To combat complexity in the processes of a healthcare clinic, we must find ways to help the system run more smoothly. Here are five tips for decreasing stress for staff, increasing productivity for everyone, and creating a simpler chiropractic office setting.
1. Invest time in creating a team.
While it takes a while and might not seem “simple” at first, invest time into creating a strong foundation system. Great teams communicate well and as a result, have fewer issues when miscommunication does happen. Since strong communication is essential when managing a practice, investing the time into creating a well-oiled machine will pay dividends in the future.
2. Define tasks and create workflow.
When everyone knows their specific role and the roles of others, accountability increases and the organization runs more smoothly and is simpler to manage. The trusting team that has been created, one with strong communication structures in place, will see these roles as part of the structure for operations. Think of watching a crew change the tires at a NASCAR pit stop. It appears complex to outsiders, but it works simply because the team communicates well and has clearly defined jobs to complete. Patient billing is not the same as a pit stop, of course, but the principle is similar. Every staff member knows their tasks to complete, knows the order that they need to complete them, and trusts the other members of the team to do their own roles effectively.
3. Cross-train the staff.
While it might seem counterintuitive toward becoming simpler, cross-training actually increases productivity. Once everyone’s roles are clearly defined, others can learn the tasks of the systems around them. This way, work doesn’t come to a halt when someone leaves or is sick. Opportunities might even arise for staff to see how greater efficiencies can be created in other areas. Some staff members might feel that others are “intruding” on their turf, but this is why communication as a team is such a critical foundational piece. If everyone trusts one another, they know that their intentions are purely for the sake of the team and not for an ulterior motive.
4. Reduce the number of software systems.
One technology idea that can help improve practice management is reducing the number of different software systems used. In turn, this will reduce training needs and the multiple logins, passwords, or dashboards that each staff member will need for access. It can also simplify matters if the current software systems can “talk” to each other efficiently. Planning for the future becomes much simpler. New software upgrades or rollouts won’t catch you by surprise, and it won’t feel like there is a new update to a system every few months. The best way to simplify this is to find a single solution that can implement these processes.
5. Automation where you can.
When appropriate, automation can simplify many things. By automating processes, management of the office becomes more straightforward. Since roles and task flows are well defined and the team has high levels of trust, staff members will welcome automation as a way to improve, not as a burden to take on. It will also decrease the need to constantly check the quality of work of specific employees. Data enables managers to see the output and impact of automated communication with patients and track satisfaction with the practice.
These are just five ways to improve practice management by creating simpler systems through the use of software solutions and having clearer expectations for employees. Complexity exists as part of everyday life, but if we are strategic and focus on simplification, staff can be happier and patient outcomes improved.