By Tara A. Kempfer, OD
Oct. 19, 2022
Staff management is a huge challenge, which, if mishandled, can result in a decrease in quality of patient care and profitability. Here are two improvements we made that changed how well we serve patients and run our business.
Keep Your Employees In the Loop on Practice Performance
Our staff has access to our digital accounting software. This includes production, cost of goods, expenses, income and other key numbers. The transparency of our open-book policy gives our team a better view of what exactly it takes for day-to-day business success. It allows them to monitor and track best ROI-related decisions.
The ability for our team to take accountability and ownership of their day-to-day actions, and determine how it affects the business financially, is both productive and rewarding for them. The opportunity to make changes, offer advice, and come to us with observations, enables them to feel like they are contributing to the practice as a whole–which they are.
Our team sees the ins and outs of the clinic’s expenses, which allows them to better comprehend that as owners and employees we do not bring home every penny that is collected. They have always provided amazing care to our patients, and now they also grasp the financial responsibility that comes with owning and operating a business successfully. Our staff better understands our cost of services (COS), ROI and chair-time costs after implementing this open-book policy.
We do not share salaries, but all other financial data and production reports are available. Our practice management system allows monitored access to each staff (individualized) to ensure they have appropriate access to data, financials and statistics.
We assign each staff member a practice benchmark to track and help improve. They present their latest numbers related to their stat quarterly. Examples of some of the benchmarks we monitor include: accounts receivable, total postage costs, number of statements mailed out each month, insurance write offs, contact lens profit based on brands, cost of office supplies, optical lab errors, average frame sales, average lens sales and Google Analytics for our practice website.
Upon implementation of our open-book policy in 2008, our staff became more engaged, were more mindful of wasteful spending and encouraged one another to make good financial choices for the practice. ROI-related decisions in our practice were more carefully analyzed. The policy started shortly before building our new clinic. Once in our new clinic, we grew exponentially. Our staff doubled shortly after opening the new space. Production increased, along with our total number of patients. All of these milestones ultimately resulted in increased profit-sharing with our staff.
Implement a New Way of Managing Time
We became much more productive and efficient when we implemented a time-blocking system. Time blocking is a time-management method that divides your day or week into specific blocks of time. Each block is devoted to accomplishing a specific task, and only that particular task.
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We have a “time block” for three specific areas: communication, education/training and staff. Every Tuesday 8 a.m.- 9 a.m. is blocked for “staff” time, where the entire clinic and owners meet. During this time, phones are off, doors are locked and we are 100 percent focused on staff. Thursdays, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. is blocked for communication (meeting with the clinic leads, meeting with a certain department or owners only). We also set aside block time for education. Our staff is the foundation of our clinic and our success. So, we make every effort to ensure that we are meeting their needs and providing education and training to let them to be their best.
The Results of Greater Staff Engagement & Focus
The enhanced focus enabled by our time-blocking approach, combined with the greater engagement of our staff through our open-book policy, has resulted in a 50 percent reduction in uncollected co-pays and uncollected contact lens evaluation fees.
A highly engaged and focused staff is able to partner with you to create a better practice for patients while helping you build profitability.