It’s a scenario every medical office has experienced. The phone is ringing, the waiting room is full, and a baby cries in the distance — it’s going to be a long day.
Now, imagine that this same medical office lacks the basics of organization and efficiency, leaving both office managers and doctors feeling disheveled and overwhelmed.
Office organization is critical to the operation and success of your medical practice, but where do you start?
In this guide, we share nine strategies for how to organize a small medical office to improve functionality and save your sanity.
Introducing the Flexbase Card: Enhancing Small Medical Offices’ Ability to Prioritize Patients’ Needs First
Whether you’re a start-up practice or have been practicing for years, small medical offices need easier expense management and credit solutions to help them stay organized. Focusing on multiple credit card bills or lines of credit can be time-consuming and exhausting.
With Flexbase, small medical offices reap the benefits of a credit card that offers:
- 0% interest for 60 days
- Expense management and receipt tracking built into the app
- Unlimited employee cards
- Spending limits and controls per employee
Flexbase allows you to give your small practice team autonomy over their positions with easy credit card tracking and spending limit controls.
Don’t get buried in a pile of expense receipts every month when you can track all your receipts and spending in our easy-to-use app, designed with small businesses in mind.
9 Tips on How To Organize a Small Medical Office & Improve Functionality
#1: Utilize Technology
Twenty-first-century medical offices demand twenty-first-century solutions — especially where technology is concerned.
Technology improves functionality, saves time, and promotes efficiency by allowing:
- Faster check-in
- Improved patient engagement
- Secure storage of patient information
- Quick access to patient records
- Enhanced appointment scheduling
Utilizing technology for your day-to-day processes also minimizes medical errors and speeds up the transfer of patient records when needed.
Enable Online Scheduling
Medical office assistants have a lot of value to add to your practice. A dedicated appointment scheduler is a waste of time and resources.
By enabling an online scheduling system, you put your patients in charge of scheduling, rescheduling, and canceling appointments.
This frees up time for improved patient engagement strategies, such as patient education and follow-up, and it allows office managers to better delegate office talent where it’s needed most.
Streamline Billing and Coding Processes
Billing and accounts must be prioritized in a medical office. Cash flow is crucial to ensuring all expenses are covered, including equipment fees, employee wages, and medical supplies.
Automating your billing to include patient reminders, arrears notifications, and more is critical to the success of your practice.
Alongside an efficient billing system is a clinical coding process that utilizes internationally recognized coding standards when recording diagnoses and treatment of care.
These internationally recognized codes include:
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
- Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)
- International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10)
Medical office assistants should be specially trained to review records and ensure proper coding has been used.
These processes ensure your cash flow is in check and your billing and coding are efficient.
#2: Modernize Your Inventory Processes
Medical offices are often guilty of having too much inventory. From tongue depressors, syringes, ice packs, patient gowns, and more, doctors never want to run out of the inventory that keeps their practice alive.
However, tracking inventory using antiquated methods can be costly and confusing. The frustration of tracking where inventory is kept, what’s on auto-ship, and what needs to be special ordered can be overwhelming for any office assistant.
With all the money spent on inventory, a modern system is necessary to ensure stock levels are maintained and all items are accounted for.
Inventory management software is an effective solution for medical offices because it's constantly synching and alerting your staff to low or expiring stock levels. Software like this saves both time and money.
#3: Create an Interactive Calendar
Every month, you’ll have various deadlines that must be met to maintain organization and efficiency in your practice. These range from:
- Financial reporting
- 401(k) filings
- OSHA and HIPAA training requirements
- Project milestones
- Staff meetings
- E-prescribing program requirements
- And more
Documenting every deadline, meeting, and reminder is critical in keeping your office staff informed and organized. An interactive, functioning company calendar is critical for the success of your medical office.
#4: Standardize Your Processes
Taking a hard look at your current practices and processes should be ongoing. Whether you’re investigating secure messaging systems for patient-to-doctor and doctor-to-doctor communication, or you’re finding ways to modernize your new patient paperwork process, standardizing will make everyone’s day easier.
Uniform, reliable, and consistent processes not only give your patient’s confidence in your practice, but they reduce workload and save your practice from costly mistakes.
#5: Stay In Compliance By Keeping Employees Cross-Trained
Keeping your employees informed, trained, and in compliance requires an investment and a learning curve. However, if your office administrator takes a sabbatical, you’ll need a well-trained employee to fill the gap.
Cross-training employees not only requires a practice that promotes teamwork and flexibility, but it requires that all employees are certified in healthcare compliance to ensure your office is in constant compliance and mitigating any compliance-related risks.
This process may seem expensive and time-consuming, but it’s worth it to avoid any issues with undertrained staff.
#6: Build and Maintain a Realistic Budget
A critical component of managing and organizing your small medical office is the implementation of a budget.
You want to be on the same page as your office administrator or manager where expense allocation is concerned, otherwise you could end up spending more than you’re bringing in — especially if you’re a start-up practice.
Follow these four steps to budget management:
- Determine where you want to use the budget. Operational triggers such as permits, logistics, supplies, insurances, etc. are all important to consider when allocating funds.
- Decide on a budgeting method. If you’re an existing practice of three years or more, the historical method works best. New practices will want to use the zero-based budgeting method until historical data is established.
- Learn about revenue and expenses. You didn’t go to school for accounting, but unless you hire an in-house accountant, you or our office manager will need to understand variables vs. fixed costs, budget balancing, and ways to increase revenue.
- Review and renegotiate contracts with service and care providers. Now is the time to review any contracts to check if the level and quality of services offered are in line with what you’re paying.
Organizing your budget will take your mind off your finances and ensure you’re operating a profitable practice.
#7: Collect Co-Pays Prior to Providing Services
The collection rate for insured patients drops drastically once that patient walks out the door. Collecting co-pays before or during a visit is vital to the financial health and organization of your practice.
Co-pay collection can be one of the more difficult aspects of managing your practice, but a well-trained staff and a streamlined process for collection will save you and your staff a lot of headaches and wasted time.
#8: Adopt a Centralized Record System
An effective centralized record system consists of a filing system and an electronic health record.
Every medical office should consist of an alphanumeric and tabular filing system that makes it easy for medical assistants to locate paper records when needed.
However, online files are just as important. An electronic health record (EHR) stores a patient’s entire medical history, making it easy to access by all medical providers, not just the patient’s GP.
An EHR can be shared in just minutes, saving precious time when health information must be accessed in an emergency situation or to ensure the best healthcare is administered by a patient’s provider.
The information recorded in an EHR includes:
- Personal information of the patient
- Medical history
- Laboratory test results
- Immunization status
- Vital signs; and
- Insurance and billing information.
Electronic health records must only be accessed by authorized medical staff and abide by HIPAA guidelines.
#9: Outsource Certain Tasks
If your budget allows, outsourcing some of your office tasks can help your staff remain patient-focused, save you money, and establish clear control over your processes.
Common medical office tasks to be outsourced include:
- Medical transcription
- Medical billing and coding
- IT handling; and
- Patient support, such as:
- Inbound and outbound calls
- Billing concerns
- Social media messages
- And more
Outsourcing can prove effective in managing both time and cost constraints and ensures your patients are getting the best care possible.
Build a Better Practice With Flexbase by Your Side
Flexbase is the answer to your expense management problems. So often, small medical practices get caught up in the endless cycle of receipt tracking and expenditure allocation that they lose sight of what matters most — their patients.
With Flexbase, you’ll enjoy zero interest for 60 days. The Flexbase card offers up to 10 times more credit than traditional cards, which is especially helpful for smaller practices that struggle to cover large start-up or growth expenses
Take your financial organization to the next level with Flexbase.