Do you ever get to the end of the day and realize that you didn’t get half of the things done that you intended to get done?
Do you find yourself giving endless streams of orders and then having to spend time following up to make sure everything was really done?
Do you often have to redo work because it was not done correctly the first time by someone else?
Is scheduling a problem?
Managing time in a healthcare practice is an art. Unique problems arise because, as the doctor, your main priority is treating patients. But, how are you supposed to keep your full attention on patients and at the same time stay on top of the crucial administrative work that is paramount to maintaining a thriving practice? The essence of successful time management is the attainment of a level of organization which facilitates the goal of a healthcare practice, a high quantity of well and happy patients.
Simply stated, how well you organize determines how many hours you work and how productive you are during those hours.
If you are having difficulty managing your time, the first action you should take is to keep a time log during a typical work week. While this may be arduous at first glance, you will find it well worth the time and energy you put into it. Carry a small notebook with you throughout the day and log everything you do along with the amount of time you spent doing each. This is best done by logging the events as they happen and avoid trying to reconstruct the information at a later point in time.
At the end of the week, you will be able to look over the information and tabulate how much time was spent on the various activities you engaged in. This exact record will help you isolate areas of the practice that are not being competently handled by your employees and/or are problematic to the point of requiring much of your attention.
The next action you should take is to have each one of your employees keep their own time log, just as you did yours. At the end of the week, you can gather the logs and review the activity of each staff member.
Finally, you need to compare your personal log with those of your employees and evaluate the data you collected. Notice where you spent your time and what other staff in the office were doing with their time. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are:
- Is much of your time being spent on a task that you have assigned to someone else?
- Do you have more than one person working on a particular project or job?
- Are you or one of your staff constantly covering for another employee?
- Do you experience continuous interruptions throughout the day? If so, is there one particular “offender?”
- Are you interrupted for the same type of issue time after time after time?
- Have you found yourself having to repeat instructions often?
- Does the log show that you or your staff are unable to fully complete one task before moving on to another one?
- Does the office have a number of half-completed projects that have been abandoned?
- How does the amount of time you spend with patients compare to the amount spent on administrative and/or management duties?
- Do you spend time finding out if your requests have been complied with?
- How much time do you spend solving problems for your employees?
Whether you are in a large or small practice, assigning specific duties to your staff members and training them, so they can perform those duties competently is one of the keys to controlling your time and your income. Keeping time logs for a week is a simple way to document the information that you will need to reorganize and streamline your office. Knowing what to look for and why you should look for it is critical to your evaluation and any subsequent changes you make.
Your time log project may reveal troublesome areas. However, if you do not have access to workable office communication procedures, systems for evaluating your employees’ job performances, time-tested office policies, job descriptions or training formats for every position, and formulas to help you determine how to manage your finances, you are going to be operating at a disadvantage and solutions may not be so easily discovered or implemented without having the above knowledge. If after you complete your weekly log, and you run into any specific issue where you are unable to find a solution or if you feel you would benefit from a free one on one consultation on any practice management questions or concerns, please fill out the form on this page and we would be more than willing to assist you.