An office manager/administrator for a medical practice has a great deal of responsibility including everything from managing personnel problems to budgeting and handling the payroll. In between all the tasks that an office manager is required to handle, there is usually a steady stream of interruptions from staff members and others which constitute the latest crisis occurring in the office area.
If you don’t have a strategy for staying organized, details can get lost very quickly and that can increase the stress level for yourself and for all those around you. When this happens, it invariably results in decreased productivity for the entire office staff and the office manager having to repeat work in order to ensure each project was completed. An excellent office manager or administrator will recognize this and take steps to keep everything organized.
The first step in establishing order in the office area is to set some priorities. Recognizing that absolutely everything is not going to get done in a given day, it’s very important to prioritize what’s most important and tackle those projects before anything else. One of the best ways of handling this is to create a To Do list so you give visibility to those tasks which need to be done first. While this may result in some low priority tasks being pushed off for weeks or even months, this is still a much better scenario than overlooking high priority tasks.
Maintain a Calendar
Maintaining an office calendar is in the same vein as establishing a To Do list of high priority items: it offers visibility to important events and activities so they aren’t overlooked or forgotten altogether. Every month, you’ll have a new set of deadlines, training requirements, project milestones, financial reports and 401(k) filings to handle, so these should all be planned for at the beginning of every month.
If you participate in government programs such as e-prescribing, these should be designated on your calendar, along with any training requirements for OSHA and HIPAA. Your office calendar should also include board meetings, staff meetings, group meetings for recognition and any other reminders of important deadlines which are upcoming.
Designate a Time for Mail
Another great tip for maintaining organization in the office area is to designate a specific time each day for opening mail and answering emails. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up doing it intermittently all day long and that will distract you from larger tasks that you have scheduled for the day. If you typically experience a high volume of emails and regular mail, it might be worth your while to establish a three-pronged approach to dealing with the mail by labeling everything as Urgent, Important and Less Important. This is a good way to make sure you don’t overlook anything super-critical and it will also save you considerable time by temporarily ignoring the Less Important group until you have more time available.
Order Office Supplies Online
By ordering all your office supplies online, you may reduce your need to make a mad dash to a supply store to replenish supplies. However, this will only be effective if you develop a system of alerts or notifications when supplies are dwindling and require re-ordering. This is especially true of critical supplies in the office area, those you cannot operate without. The internet makes ordering easy; it’s one more way to keep your office running smoothly and efficiently.
Is an Open Door Best for Your Office?
Having an open door policy sounds like a wonderful thing and it really can enhance communications throughout your office work area. However, it can also lead to endless distractions if you’re an office administrator or manager and that can prevent you from accomplishing anything during the day. If the open door policy is working in your medical practice, but it’s also causing endless distractions, you should establish a one-hour window where the open door policy is in effect and funnel all communications through at that time.
Another aspect of the open door policy is to identify the reasons that employees come to your office in the first place. If you are constantly being bothered about things that employees could probably do better themselves, it’s to your advantage to empower them to do so. Many distractions can be eliminated simply by empowering employees to manage things on their own without your personal intervention.
Have an Emergency Plan
Now that you’ve prepared your medical office area to handle day-to-day activities in the most organized way, you should also establish a contingency plan for things that don’t happen on a daily basis, especially emergencies. To be ready for all emergencies, your medical office area should have a backup system in place which can reproduce personnel records, financial records and other data needed to operate your practice on a daily basis.
You should also be prepared for a power outage, any kind of IT outage, a fire emergency, any kind of hazardous spill and even security breaches. Important phone numbers should be easily accessible for reaching the fire department, the building manager, insurance carriers and all of your employees. A little bit of planning and prioritizing will go a long way toward creating order out of the typical chaos prevalent in most busy medical office areas.
Need Recruiting Help?
If you are struggling to find an efficient and effective office manager or administrator for your ophthalmology practice, hiring a recruiting partner could help. Medical personnel recruitment is one of the many services offered under The Administrative Advantage MSO®. This Management Services Organization, owned by Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration, allows ophthalmology practices to become members of the MSO in order to have access to (and incredible savings on) a wide variety of products and services they need to operate effectively every day.
We’ve done the research to identify ophthalmic recruitment options to help you meet your goals of better organization in your practice. We’re ready to share those resources with you and help your practice save money at the same time. To learn more about how Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration, can help your ophthalmology practice grow, contact us today.