There are certain people that we meet in life that always seem to have everything “together.” These individuals are organized to the max…and then there are the rest of us. We might be able to muddle through this way in our personal lives, but in a medical practice, organization is not only important, it is critical. Lack of organization can be the cause of lost productivity, a decrease in income, and patient loss. Poor organization also wreaks havoc on everyone’s patience as they feel like they are entrenched in chaos.
However, being organized doesn’t require a degree, it just requires some management. There is hope at the end of the tunnel that everyone can take and it only requires taking one step at a time.
Think of your medical practice using the same approach that you use in treating illnesses. The triage attitude means prioritizing the most important duties first. There will always be a ton of smaller and medium-sized tasks, but to get to them, you need to take care of those that offer the most risk if they are ignored. The priorities will depend upon your practice type, but they can include everything from paying the electric bill to ensuring that you have sufficient staff or even getting those all-important credentials. Anything that involves local, state, and federal laws and compliance is on the top of the list.
Examine what absolutely must be done to allow your medical practice to continue unimpeded. You will also want to look at any tasks that are causing unusually high time demands and attack those so that there is more time to accomplish other duties.
Each month will bring some of the same calendar-specific needs along with new ones. Keeping a calendar that has specific time slots separated to accomplish those required goals will give a focus on the other days to get things done. It’s suggested to set aside an end of the year time period to map out things for the New Year such as HIPAA and OSHA training for staff, attending specific tradeshows or presentations, reviewing technology upgrades that will be needed, board meetings, and any new laws or guidelines that are in the works. Creating a timeline for each priority along with a follow up response establishes the important deadlines that must be kept.
Getting things done means that those responsible must have the time to do them. However, if you or others are constantly being interrupted, you will quickly find that you not only lost your place but haven’t accomplished what you need to do. Set aside specific “do not disturb” time segments for you and important staff to accomplish the priorities. You will have to close your door and possibly even put a sign on it. Make sure all staff are aware of the reason and the importance of this time.
One of the easiest interruptions in every day is the constant influx of email communications. Make a decision to set aside specific times of the day to address and respond to email so that you can focus on it without interruption and so that the email doesn’t interrupt the important priorities that you are working on. Treat opening physical mail in the same manner. Leave the envelopes sit until you are ready to deal with them.
Saving time is of the essence in getting organized and since we live in an internet world, set up online accounts for both you and your staff to place orders. Almost every retailer that you use offers online ordering and includes everything from medical equipment to office items. Online ordering is a major time saver, eliminating lengthy personal trips or long telephone conversations.
Your medical organization should have specific plans in case of an emergency and designated individuals in charge of each topic. Your IT people (or person), should coordinate offsite backups in the case of any malware or breach. An important topic in the medical industry is the potential for a medical waste accident. You should have clear and concise instructions and equipment in case of a spill or accident as well as an emergency contact with your medical waste management company to assist in containing. Local, state and federal emergency contacts should be posted so that all staff has easy access.
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