Every practice owner longs for staff who are perfectionists, even when they themselves are not. Having staff with an eye for detail is a dream come true, given the huge quantity of pieces of information that cross their desk in a day, a week and a month.
Also, the practitioners themselves often struggle with keeping the charts and other admin up to date when they are busy treating patients all day. Details often do not get written down and sometimes get forgotten, resulting in confusions and sometimes lost income.
What to do, what to do??
Start at the Top
In most practices, the owner of the practice sets the bar on maintaining good records for the practice. Staff usually follow the leader’s example. As an owner, there are records that need to be kept of personnel matters, finance matters, business issues and plans, marketing plans, continuing education commitments, and so on.
If you are computerized, you can maintain most of this information in the computer. But, you need to set up a “filing system” so that all documents received or sent in each category are filed in the proper place so you can find them again without spending hours searching for that specific Word document or whatever. Emails are the same deal … you should move emails you wish to keep into specific files in your email program so you can find them later when or if needed.
Note: If you do most of your work in your computer, be sure that you “lock” the sensitive data (personnel, finance, etc.) so others cannot access it. Also, be sure to set up a specific time to back up your computer regularly.
Healthcare professionals have a lot of details you are required to keep regarding your patients and their treatments. Setting up a system in your scheduling where you complete the records after treating each patient works the best so that you are not trying to sit down at the end of the day to catch up all the charting for the day. It is easy for details to get lost this way.
Some practitioners have set aside 15 minutes mid-morning, midday, mid-afternoon and end of day to do the charting. If you are finding charting to be an issue, you need to change up how you are doing it and find a different way. Some people even have an assistant that acts as a scribe, others dictate immediately into their phone texting app and send it to their staff for entry into the records. There are programs like Dragon Dictation specifically for healthcare providers that can make all this much more efficient.
Staff at the front desk
There is a lot going on at the front in a busy office. Phone calls overlapping with patients arriving overlapping with patients leaving and needing to pay and reschedule. Details will get lost unless there are good systems in place to help them keep track of everything.
Even a simple notepad or a computerized notepad would be helpful where random details can be jotted down that should not be forgotten to be entered or followed up on later, rather than relying on memory. There are often stiff penalties by the governing body for your profession when records are inadequately kept.
It can be frustrating if the providers are not writing information down, leaving the front desk staff caught in the middle, not knowing what to tell the patient or what to bill, etc. Enforce providers (including yourself) to fix this problem.
Have a short meeting about this with everyone present and invite communication of problem areas and work out solutions. Make one person take notes and be accountable for following up to ensure the decisions and systems are implemented.
Keeping all the little bits aligned in a practice creates increased efficiency and makes for a happier team! An eye for detail is a skill that can be learned.