- Do not allow telephone interruptions while seeing patients.
-Leaving a room to take a phone call makes the patient feel like they are not important. However, if it is a true emergency, please tell the patient you are sorry and that you have to speak to this doctor due to an urgent matter. They will understand if you explain them the situation.
- Handle all paperwork and mail only once.
How many times do you take a piece of mail, look at it, and say, “I can do this later?” Then you pick it up again, and say the same thing. Don’t look at your mail, unless you have time to take action immediately. Now, the action that is required might take longer than you thought, so get yourself a pending bin and schedule a time to finish this task.
- Finish your notes immediately.
You should have an EMR system, which allows you to finish your notes while seeing the patient. The medical assistant, nurse, or PA can put in all the history information and chief complaint. They can stay in the room and put in the examination data or you can do that as well. Your system should be easy enough to click through everything, including your plan. The best systems will tie in with your practice management software. The key to the EMR is taking time to put in your templates. You should be able to pull up a specific problem and all your procedures for that problem should pop up.
You should aim to get to 90% of your notes done in the room. New patient notes might need to be finished later, but definitely get them done the same day.
- Plan your week.
Use some sort of planner, either paper or electronic. Schedule all the important events coming up for the week. Write down all the people you need to call back. Have one planner and one system that you can take with you. Whenever you have a free moment, take a look at this planner and see what you can do now to save time later.
- Schedule your patients appropriately.
Do you frequently double or even triple book your patients? It is fine to double book if one of the patients is mainly being treated by your nurse, medical assistant or PA and all you have to do is go in and do a final check. The same goes for your post-operative patients. If you are running behind, you should do a time-motion analysis, where you take a 3x5 index card and time the patient’s appointment.
- Have patient education information to handout.
When seeing a patient, you should make treatment packets for the top 10-20 diagnoses. Include in these packets, the following:
-Treatment options. All the possible options you might discuss with the patient at the time of service. Circle the ones you recommend initially.
-Educational information in order for the patient to review the problem and its causes.
-Educational Videos on that specific problem. There are companies that have ready-made videos that you can purchase. In addition, you can just take a video camera and make a 2-3 minute video and put it on a disc.
-Patient testimonials. If your state allows it, having other patients discuss their experiences is priceless. The testimonials make the patient feel comfortable and trusting. Make sure you get the patient’s written agreement to publish these success stories.
-Information about the doctor and the practice. Again, this increases the trust effect and makes them think you are the expert and that they made the right choice in seeing you.
- Learn to delegate and empower your staff.
Your staff wants to help out and when you delegate important tasks, it empowers them. It makes them feel you trust them to handle such a task. The key to delegating is not just to give someone a job to do so you can forget about it. It is important to follow-up with the person who is doing the task, and find out the outcome of the assignment. Delegating saves you time in the end. You might need to train someone on the task, but after you do, that employee will now know how to do something.
- Wasting precious time between surgical cases.
Use this time to make phone calls, dictate the operative note, sign charts, or even bring a book that helps with your mindset or with how to run your office more efficiently.
- Take time to rejuvenate yourself.
Exercising, yoga, or meditation will help you with clearing your stress. This will make you feel more relaxed, thus you will become more efficient.