Medical Practice Staffing: Best Practices & Beyond

May 18, 2021

Any physician knows that the business side of medical practice has been tough in the past few years. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost. For many hospitals and private practices, revenues have plummeted. Healthcare practitioners are burnt out. And demographic shifts are leading us toward a major nursing shortage.

Medical practices right now are faced with tighter budgets and fewer job candidates. On top of that, as jobs are lost, so is the longstanding practice knowledge that those employees had. Constantly training new employees because of high turnover has become a major time investment for many practices.

Still, every medical practice needs talented, passionate staff. Here’s how you can find them – and convince them to work for you.

Respondents were asked whether they’ve considered leaving their job since the beginning of the coronavirus

Audit your practice first

Before the recruiting for a new hire begins, take the time to get a clear look at the current operations. This is an opportunity to improve everyone’s work life.

Consult with current staff

Each person on your staff has a unique role and a unique perspective on the business. They know your practice as well as anybody. This is an opportunity to gain their insight on specific questions:

  • What support do they expect from a given position?
  • What were some of the challenges faced by the last person in that position?
  • Are any current staff interested in any of these available responsibilities?  

Take fresh inventory of your budget

Investigate your budget in a holistic way, with an eye toward optimizing current operations and creating new positions that will keep the practice growing and innovating:

  • How much have you earmarked for a given position? 
  • Does that include the costs of materials and tech that the position requires? 
  • Is it possible to shift some roles to a more cost efficient position or outsourced solution?

Consider restructuring

A new hire is a new opportunity to optimize your operations. So before hiring a new person to fill an administrative position, analyze the responsibilities of that position. 

  • Would any current staff be better suited for a given task? 
  • What tasks could be automated or outsourced?
  • What new duties and services might a new hire bring to the business?

Invest in Human Resources

There’s a reason why hospitals and other large medical businesses have entire departments devoted to HR: it’s fundamental to overall success. If you give the staffing the respect that it’s due, you’ll see better long term results

Prioritize the process

For tiny independent physician practices, you may not have the budget (or need) for a full-time HR person. But you do need to allocate time and money to the process. Based on your available resources, consider allocating

  • Staff members to share responsibility for the process
  • Time to focus exclusively on the staffing project
  • Money for recruiting agencies

Target your recruitment

Looking for nurses? Seek out nursing associations that are active in your region. Trying to recruit administrators? Looking for a specific technical or administrative skill set? Consider platforms tailored to those groups, such as Linkedin.

Find competitive salaries

When it comes to finances, candidates do their research. If you want competitive candidates, you need to offer a competitive salary. Do your research for related compensation:

  • Benefits
  • Paid vacation time
  • Schedule for pay increases

If possible, you should aim to be competitive in all of those categories. If finances feel tight, look for tasks that can be automated or outsourced, eliminating unnecessary labor hours.

Embrace the benefits of tech and managed services

Staff members fall ill from time to time. They take emergency family leave. It’s part of the human condition, as the COVID-19 pandemic made painfully clear. Respecting this fact is essential, but the disruption caused by staffing fluctuations can be avoided.

Crucial administrative tasks can be assigned to software platforms. Automating tasks with tech is like hiring an employee who never needs to take a sick day.

Work with a healthcare partner to manage services

When you work with a skilled partner, you can free up your current providers and staff to focus on the high-value work that they do best. At Quatris Healthco, we empower practices with athenahealth technology and take on burdensome tasks to reduce your staff’s administrative workload and offer your patients the conveniences that today’s consumers expect.

We help practices streamline their day-to-day workflows in many different ways, including:

  • Onboarding and training support
  • The creation and maintenance of practice created rules and templates
  • Running financial, clinical and operational reports
  • Hands-on hardware and software support

Automate your revenue cycle management

You know how essential the Accounts Receivable team is to a medical practice. To attract the best possible candidates, consider automating your revenue systems. By removing the rote tasks from a job description, you can attract more experienced, ambitious hires. 

Automation is the key. A revenue cycle management platform takes over some of the most laborious steps in revenue cycle management:

  • Tracking changes to payer requirements
  • Submitting and optimizing claims
  • Sending bills and reminders to patients

Revenue cycle platforms also empower patients to pay their balances directly, via online portals, freeing up the inboxes, phone lines, and work hours for your team members. 

Keep your current staff happy

Employee churn is expensive – the cost of recruiting, hiring, signing bonuses add up. On top of this, the lost revenue and unseen patients that result from being understaffed. One of the best ways to improve your staffing is to keep your amazing employees on staff as long as possible.

Promote professional growth

Your staff is brilliant. Keep them engaged by giving them the challenges that satisfy them at work. 

  • Encourage (and pay for) continual trainings
  • Give people opportunities to take on more skilled roles
  • Find mentors for ambitious staff

Maintain a positive workplace culture

As demanding as the medical profession is, your practice can still be a place that energizes its staff. Like any vital piece of infrastructure, the culture of your practice needs active maintenance:

  • Celebrate successes
  • Discuss the shared purpose, and the joy it brings clients
  • Schedule check-ins with every staff member

Support your staff beyond the paycheck 

Show your team that you see them as more than just employees. They’re complex people with busy lives. Find structural ways to show this belief:

  • Build flexibility into staff scheduling
  • Encourage people to take vacation time
  • Schedule family-friendly social events

The Future of Medical Practice Staffing

Hiring is as difficult as ever. Your practice can still win amazing candidates – so long as you’re prepared to be an amazing employer.

Before you create any job listing, take a clear-eyed look at your business – its budget, its workflow, its growth opportunities. Make space for the hiring process to stand on equal footing with any other ongoing workplace service. And encourage a culture of mutual support, respect, and inspiration throughout the practice.

This might require a revision of longstanding systems in your business. It might mean updating systems to free up your staff to focus on the more important work. Discuss the possibilities with Quatris Healthco.

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