Have clear expectations for your chiropractic assistant.
Depending on your situation, it is likely that at some point in your career you’ll be hiring a chiropractic assistant (CA). The majority of DCs run small practices, sometimes just the chiropractor and one employee. And that one employee is probably going to be a CA.
It’s a big job
The CA’s role is often a combination of receptionist, office manager, billing and collections clerk, scheduler, and HIPAA compliance officer. The duties of a CA vary from office-to-office and depend largely on the type of practice and the interests and skills of the DC being assisted.
If the DC puts a high value on patient interaction, then he or she may choose to do new patient intakes, take vital signs, and educate patients. But if the practice is especially busy, or the DC is more interested in performing adjustments, those things may be part of the CA’s job.
What you can expect from a CA is largely based on what you’ve asked for when you hired the CA. When you consider hiring someone, think carefully about what you need. Do you need someone to answer the phone and greet patients? Are you looking for help with insurance and billing? How many hours should the duties take to complete? Even if you don’t plan to advertise the position, write out a job description. List the duties and requirements so you and your new hire know exactly what to expect. When estimating the time required for tasks, how long they would take you to complete them yourself may not be salient. You are most likely overworked and you may well have designed the systems in place, therefore those tasks are second nature to you.
Communication is key
If you resist listing duties because you want to keep some flexibility, don’t worry. You can (and should) periodically review your entire business, including the CA’s work. Make a quarterly or yearly review a part of the job. The CA may find the review important as well. Rather than using the review as a time to tell the CA what he or she is doing wrong, see it as a chance to evaluate how the position fits into the larger context of your business, and as a time to consider suggestions from the CA. Of course, if there are problems, a built-in review is a perfect time to address them. As with any relationship, there will be times when you are frustrated with your CA or the assistant is irritated with you. Having a system such as reviews in place to handle those normal frustrations and irritations is important for success.
Meeting the mark
In the end, expect your CA to do what you have asked them to do. If you have expected too much, you may have set your CA up for failure. Clear expectations coupled with good communication provides a great foundation for a successful, working relationship. In turn, a successful working relationship can increase productivity and improve the bottom line.
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