Who’s Looking After the Health of Your Practice?
Over the last 15- 20 years there has been a paradigm shift in the healthcare setting. It is no longer good enough to simply be a great practitioner, there is an expectation amongst patients that they will receive excellent healthcare.
Health consumers have raised the bar when it comes to what they expect from not only their practitioners and other healthcare providers, but also from the extended team such as the nursing and administration staff.
The concept of a practice manager adding value to a practice is an essential component in the delivery of high quality healthcare and the successful operation of the business.
Practice managers come with several different titles such as Business Manager or Operations Manager, but the core responsibilities typically cross over whatever the title may be. These responsibilities include human resources, financial management, business planning, marketing, IMIT and service delivery just to name a few.
You need to remember that your practice is a small to medium business, it’s just in the business of delivering healthcare and to survive you need to adopt sound business practices and professional management strategies.
Survey data suggests that the average practice principal can spend 20% of their time working on administrative or management duties. These duties are not higher level duties such as strategic planning but day to day functions. If these duties are carried out after hours there is likely to be an impact on family life. If carried out during hours then this equates to potential 20% loss of income.
The benefits of a good, well-educated practice manager can contribute to increased efficiency, increased revenue, robust systems and the overall notion of ‘excellence in healthcare’ for patients. Just like practitioners require continuous professional development to ensure they are keeping up with current guidelines, practice managers’ skills need to be continually refined through a combination of ongoing education, networking and applying skills learnt on a daily basis. They have the opportunity to be recognised in their profession by obtaining fellowship or certified status after completing appropriate tertiary qualifications.
Some smaller size practices may not require a full time practice manager. The role can be part time or alternatively the practice can utilise the services of a consultant practice manager who may provide this service to a number of smaller size practices.
Consider whether your practice could benefit from having a qualified practice manager leading the team.
By Debra Smith
FAAPM, CPM, JP