Chapter 4:
Organizing Operations & Human Resources

5-minute read

In chapter 3, we went over the importance of having the right clinical and day-to-day office equipment in place for your medical practice so you can start serving your patients.

This chapter goes over how to effectively organize your operations and human resources by creating your medical office policies and procedures, and setting up your office. A medical office policy and procedure manual is critical to the smooth operation of your practice. Plan to do this about 2-3 months before opening your medical practice.

Your Medical Office Policy

Having your policies and procedures in writing, no matter how simple or lengthy they are, is important so that you and your team are all aware of the vision you have set out for your practice. Here are a few things you need to do to create a medical office policy and procedure manual:

  1. Appointing a policy decision team of the staff members you would most like to have involved. The development of your policy and procedure manual will involve lots of research and attention to detail, so it’s best to choose a team of people who are strong in these areas.
  2. Researching what you need to include, which will depend on your practice’s specific needs. Address what sort of policies you absolutely need to have in place, and which ones would be nice to see. Topics will include things such as insurance, health and safety, regulations, and employment. Consult with experts in these fields to make sure that your policy manual aligns with standards expected by regulatory bodies.
  3. Organizing topic areas to make your manual easy to use and read. Begin by creating an outline for your document and separating out the sections you’re including, for instance, medical office and employment standards, emergency and office procedures, customer service, and patient security.
  4. Making a list of procedures for each process in each area. This could include things like your billing process, your appointment setting process, and the information you need for standard appointments, including height and weight measurements, the materials involved, and the expected duration. Consult experts or review templates to ensure the language you use is in line with the standards required by appropriate regulatory bodies.
  5. Setting up job descriptions and expectations for each staff role in your practice. These include physicians, nurses, administrative staff, and other key roles needed in the daily operations of your medical practice.
  6. Planning your long-term goals and ways to assess what successful implementation of your policies looks like. You might want to measure patient satisfaction and retention, for instance. Setting measurable goals for your practice will help you understand whether you’re adhering to the guidelines that you’ve set out for yourself.

Setting Up your Office

Very important to smooth practice operations is how well you set up your office and make it patient-friendly. The quality, competition, and survival of your practice depend on how you treat, and the impression you give, your patients. There are many factors that contribute to this, including:

Exam and Waiting Rooms

Things like furniture, ambiance, functionality, entertainment, and how they facilitate staff communication are key. It’s important to assess your exam rooms and check things like whether you have all the necessary supplies available and the counter looks neat and clean. Keep in mind that exam rooms can also function as a room for other steps in your patients’ visit. Think of ways to eliminate the need to return to the front desk for check-out to make your patients’ experience more private and seamless.

Your waiting room is your patients’ initial exposure to your office and offers you an opportunity to leave a good impression. Waiting is an inevitable part of a patient’s experience, but since they can be anxious before seeing their physician, making them feel welcome and comfortable benefits everyone.

Layout and use of any Flex or Extra Space

You might have more flexibility with your space for things like multiple waiting rooms, consultation rooms, and separate check-in and check-out areas. Try to utilize your layout as best you can by analyzing any possible adjustments to create more room. Careful and deliberate use of spaces can improve staff efficiency and the flow of patients. Patients may feel they’re moving through the practice in a timely manner, as those sitting in a crowded waiting room often wonder how long they will wait to be seen.

For example, you could share a single room for patient consultations to free up space for more exam rooms or meeting rooms for medical staff. To maximize patient privacy, many practices are opting for a second area for check-in, payment, and completion of paperwork. A separate waiting room, big enough to accommodate family members or escorts, could be utilized. While these things may not seem important at first, how you set up your office to make it patient-friendly will affect the impression your patients have toward you, your practice or their overall care.

Chapter 5: Managing & Marketing Your Practice

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