One of the biggest challenges a leader in any organization faces is building accountability into their workflow. While we’d all like to think that we’re hiring great people that will always work at a high level, we all know that even the best people’s work improves when you build in some accountability for the work they do.
What I’ve found in the hundreds of practices I’ve seen is that the majority of people in a medical practice are working hard. Sure, there are the outliers that are just coasting through the day, watching the clock for when they can punch out, but we all can recognize and deal with those people pretty well. The harder challenge is those staff who are working really hard, but are busy working on the wrong things.
How do you make sure that someone in your practice is working on the right things? The simple answer is to track and report on the work that matters most in your office. In some cases, this report can be something as simple as a text message or email. In other cases, you might automate the reporting so that the accountability is built directly into the practice’s regular workflow.
Reporting and accountability is an extremely powerful concept for a practice. Not only does it ensure that the practice is working on the right things, but it improves productivity as well. Reports that are collected and checked regularly encourage your employees to work harder and be more productive. It’s just human nature for people to want to look good on a report. This is a powerful part of accountability and reporting.
However, let me offer a few words of caution when it comes to measuring, tracking, and reporting on productivity in your office. First, make sure that you’re clear with your staff on why these reports are important to the office. Second, be sure they understand that you’ll be working together with them to make sure that you’re tracking and reporting is accurate and focused on the right things. Accountability and reporting is a double edged sword. If you’re tracking the right things, it can lead to tremendous results. If you’re tracking the wrong things, it can lead to negative results. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to what you’re doing. Also, be generous with your staff and understanding when something doesn’t look or feel right. Dig into the data with them to find the real story before jumping to conclusions. Then, make corrections if necessary.
Be sure to leverage technology where it makes sense to automatically track and report the data that matters. Your goal should be to work with your staff to create a consistent and expected workflow that efficiently measures and reports on the key metrics for your organization. Not only will this consistency make your staff more efficient, but it will make it much easier when staff don’t show up to work due to some family emergency or the inevitable staff turnover.
When you create a practice that is process dependent instead of people dependent, it opens up all sorts of options and flexibility for your practice. This shift in mentality provides a buffer where a strategic sourcing partner can cover any “down time” your office may experience during staff emergencies or staff turnover. Plus, your ongoing tracking and reporting is the perfect way to hold this sourcing partner accountable for the work they do for your practice.
These measurements and reports also serve as a baseline benchmark for your practice going forward. As your staff turns over, you can easily assess the health of your practice and the quality of your future hires using these benchmarks. Plus, as you improve your clinic’s efficiency, you and your staff will be able to celebrate the success of beating previous benchmarks. In future posts, we’ll look at what benchmarks matter most and comparing your practice’s benchmarks against national benchmark data.