There are some mornings that fall flat and start to get away from us way sooner than we expect them to. Mornings that even Starbucks can’t fix! You get to the office and open up the computer to an unfinished email you started mid-day yesterday, the first patient of the day is 15 minutes late, you get a notification that a patient posted a negative review that now needs addressing, collections are far from where you’d like them to be at this point in the month, and out of all the days of the week, today is the day everyone decides to call first thing in the morning to schedule their overdue appointments.
Starting off the work day right and with a game plan is optimal, and maintaining maximum productivity throughout it is what every practice strives for. There will always be days out of every week that are less chaotic and more productive than others. By incorporating some organizational strategies and daily habits to reduce some of the stress created by the unexpected and the unfinished, those days will start to become more the norm. If you can get into the habit of wrapping up each day nice and neat knowing what to expect for the next, it will allow you to leave the office feeling more calm and accomplished and to walk in the door more confident, prepared and ready to take on your task list for the current day.
Here is one example of a 5-step routine that could transform your office environment and productivity:
- Do an End-of-Day Email Check- Inevitably, there will be times throughout the day that you start drafting an email to a patient, specialist, supplier, etc., only to be interrupted by something that takes priority. Often, especially after a non-stop hectic day, getting back to finishing those partially written emails slips your mind until you jump on tomorrow to send out the monthly patient newsletter and see them still sitting on your screen–unsent! Making it a habit at the close of day to check your email drafts will ensure you don’t forget to finish them up and hit the send button!
- Use an Online Scheduling Tool- With recent advances in healthcare technology, spending valuable time throughout the day and perhaps more importantly, first thing in the morning, is largely unnecessary. Implementing a real-time online digital scheduling tool, where patients can schedule their own appointments will help cut back significantly on phone time wasted scheduling and rescheduling appointments.
- Incorporate a Daily Afternoon “Stand-up”- Originally a strategy implemented into engineering teams, this is a highly effective activity that can be adopted by any type of business and only takes a few minutes. As a team, review your progress for the day and identify and prioritize remaining tasks to be finished that day.
a. Are there unfinished tasks from yesterday (x-rays that need to be unloaded to patient portals, insurances claims that still need to be processed, etc.,) that still need to be completed?
b. What items on your Action List have to be finished today?
c. What items have you not had time to get around to that can be pushed to tomorrow? (Or, if you’re done with today’s task list—what can you pull from tomorrow’s and get a head start on?)
d. What procedures and appointments do you need to prep for or confirm today?
- Review Tomorrow’s Calendar and Patient Schedule- Knowing what to expect for tomorrow’s schedule, what patient information still needs to be gathered or updated and where the holes in your schedule are that need to be filled, is critical to maintaining the highest level of practice productivity and profitability. Integrating a tool such as Action List into your EHR can help you accomplish this.
- Update Tomorrow’s Task List- At end-of-day and when you are confident you have accomplished your daily task list, or at least to the team’s satisfaction, take a couple of minutes to review tomorrow’s to-do list, evaluate and rank items, procedures, communications, etc. by priority, determine and designate deadlines and assign task items to each team member.
Starting off each morning ready to tackle the current day’s list rather than trying to catch up on or complete yesterday’s will allow you to improve your practice management skills and office efficiency. Setting the expectation with all staff members by having an established routine and daily “stand-ups” will allow everyone to reap the benefits of this strategy. With a more structured and organized working environment, staff and patient satisfaction are bound to be the result!
For more information on tips, tricks and tools to help your practice reach new heights, contact us here.