Ways to be more effective and efficient as an Office Manager

For a practice to run as smoothly as possible, an office manager needs to be at the top of their game, oiling the wheels to ensure that physicians can efficiently go about their work of healing people. However, this is easier said than done.

After all, you have to manage both the doctors’ and patients’ needs. Additionally, you need to keep a handle on other administrative aspects of the practice. Therefore, effectiveness and efficiency are vital skills required to keep the practice humming along without any critical issues.

Read on to find out how you can bolster your efforts to be a more accomplished office manager.

How can you be a more effective and efficient office manager?

As earlier stated, the onus is on you to ensure the day-to-day operations carry on as smoothly as possible through all departments. So what qualities will better your level of efficiency?

1. Leave room for professional development and education

As the office manager, you ought to be on top of your game. This is because of the dynamic nature of an office environment - more so a busy physician practice. Therefore, you should be open to learning new things to evolve in the role.

So while you might be faced with a time scarcity, it does pay to pick up an extra skill to help you better execute your role. For a time-barred professional, you might be interested in a plethora of online courses and toolkits for which you can sign up. These can help you expand your range of management skills.

If you have a mentor or leading industry player you look up to, you can aspire to emulate them, adopting skills to take on new facets of office management like in-house billing and taking on new technology.

2. Refine your communication skills

Communication is the backbone of everything you are going to do. After all, you have to liaise between patients, physicians and other managers on the floor of the practice. You’ll have to employ different communication skills when talking to these different groups of people.

Public speaking is an essential skill for an effective office manager as you will have to chair and speak in meetings. However, beyond the verbal aspect, you need to hone your digital communication skills.

And in your position as office manager, this means you should have a firm grasp on utilizing the practice’s social media presence for communication. Of course, it also wouldn’t hurt if you know your way around using emails for internal and external correspondence.

With all this in check, you can quickly rally your team to make for an efficient office environment. It can also help you keep patients on an even keel; many are already quite apprehensive about going to the doctor.

3. Adopt technology and automation tools

Managing patient relations, clerking and scheduling can eat up a significant chunk of your workday, leaving you with no room to attend other office matters. Therefore, you must adopt automation and learn to use technology to ease some of this burden. 

Technology has made sure we have applications for calendars, storage, accounting, internal company communication, project management, and customer relations. 

Some applications accept third-party integrations and can easily take care of tasks like leads classification and management, scheduling, financial management, and marketing automation.

4. Have some fun

A little fun goes a long way to improve the atmosphere in the office. As the office manager, you should push for the fun activities to be as inclusive as the other tasks in the office.  Regular fun and bonding activities are highly advised to foster togetherness and improve productivity.

Fun activities often improve the creativity of the team members, which could foster ideas that can benefit the company. Furthermore, fun activities help break barriers in communication and build collaboration. It is an excellent practice to have employees who relate easily with each other, making for a more productive bunch.

By reducing employee turnover, these activities reduce the operational costs in hiring, interviewing, and training new employees. And if you’re freed from staffing duties, you can allocate quality time to other pending critical aspects in the practice.

5. Sharpen your people management skills

An office manager needs to have a relatively highly evolved emotional intelligence. In other words, you should understand emotions to communicate effectively, address concerns, resolve conflict and empathize with others.

This particularly comes in handy in a medical practice setting where you’re likely to come across different personalities from various backgrounds. And this diversity doesn’t start and stop with the patients. It also extends to the individual physicians and other staff.

To deal with all this, you need to have plenty of patience and tact while dealing with different people.

Whereas many believe emotional intelligence is a natural-born skill, it is a skill that can be developed. Emotional intelligence is about feelings and vulnerability, which makes it possible to learn because everyone has feelings.

Endeavor to make sure that your colleagues feel valued and comfortable around you enough to trust and confide in you. Maintain streamlined communication channels with your employees so they understand that you can always lend them an ear.

6. Be flexible

Despite your managerial role, you needn’t be in the driving seat whenever a situation rears its head. In an ever-evolving world, colleagues at different administrative positions or other standing learn from one another at the workplace. 

To foster an environment that promotes creativity and open learning, you should always be available for suggestions from the employees and work in tandem to see how they can help you grow.

Give them chances to speak in meetings and constantly present their ideas. When your colleagues know that they are valued and will be listened to, they’re more willing to engage with you to point out potential bottlenecks in the way you run the practice.

7. Care to learn about the business

Being the office manager can provide a sense of assuming you know everything there is about the business. However, you can never know everything about the practice because of the ever-changing rules and ways of doing things.

An effective office manager should always be interested in various aspects of the practice, becoming familiar with other areas outside their official job description. This knowledge will come in handy when monitoring the progress of multiple departments.

For instance, learning the specifics of the physician’s interactions with the patients doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be allowed to wield surgical instruments. Instead, putting yourself in that position can help you quickly anticipate the physician’s or patient’s needs.

The same applies to other departments within the practice. When you’re up to speed with everyone’s goals and objectives, you’ll be in a position to appropriately make their jobs easier. And that makes yours more straightforward, too.

Wrapping up

Being an office manager is a juggling act that requires you to be comfortable in whichever hat you put on. The methods discussed above play a central role in helping you grow into the position, making you a more effective and efficient office manager.

Once you achieve that, the practice’s financial health will hum along nicely, making you a trusted and valuable team member.

In-house Medical Billing

Initially, physician’s offices had a person in-house that handled everything having to do with billing for the practice. This person added to the overhead of the office – about 10 – 12% and handled everything from A-Z in the billing process. General knowledge of codes was all that was needed to ensure reimbursement from insurance companies as this was before managed care.

The beginning of managed care brought to the industry fee schedules, preferred provider contracts, the need for pre-authorizations and more. These changes meant a more intensive knowledge of medical codes was required as well as continuing to keep updated as codes were added and deleted.  These changes increased cost and time required to handle billing.

Outsourced to Medical Billing Companies

Initially, physician’s offices had a person in-house that handled everything having to do with billing for the practice. This person added to the overhead of the office – about 10 – 12% and handled everything from A-Z in the billing process. General knowledge of codes was all that was needed to ensure reimbursement from insurance companies as this was before managed care.

The beginning of managed care brought to the industry fee schedules, preferred provider contracts, the need for pre-authorizations and more. These changes meant a more intensive knowledge of medical codes was required as well as continuing to keep updated as codes were added and deleted.  These changes increased cost and time required to handle billing.

At PRM, we pride ourselves on exceptional expertise, dedicated specialists, and exceptional customer service so you can worry less and focus on patient care.

Our Complimentary Consultation is a discovery and feedback initiative built to help practices. You get one on one advice from our experts, plus a report for your practice to use, absolutely free for you.

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In-house Medical Billing

After listening to what clients were asking for, a more robust system was created that covered more than just standard medical billing. This full-cycle revenue management system saved doctors time and money by eliminating the need to have different people handling all other aspects. Revenue Cycle Management includes:

  • Insurance Eligibility – insurance verification and patient eligibility details checked two days ahead of a patient’s appointment ensuring 100% upfront collection.
  • Charge Posting – ensuring demographic information is entered in the system accurately helping to eliminate rejections or denial from the payer which can prolong the reimbursement turnaround time
  • Documentation Review – once visit notes are locked coding team retrieves a random sampling of the weekly visits to review and ensure proper guidelines were followed. We also provide education to the doctor and staff on their usage of CPT/ICD -10 to help them improve on future documentation
  • Claim Submission – claims are reviewed and scrubbed to ensure that all information in the claim is correct to help eliminate a denial
  • Denial Management – when payment for services is denied, we follow up with the insurance carrier to determine if it is a coding error or something else that has facilitated the denial. We complete appeals and add any supporting documentation submitted through your software
  • Payment Posting – critical to the health of your AR – insurance payments posted to patient accounts from EOB’s in the doctor’s system with a turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours. With daily payments accessible via the practice management system
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