I can’t think of anything better than a well-trained team that works together to keep a chiropractic office running smoothly. I’m sure it’s every doctor’s goal to build a team with longevity, where everyone knows his or her job and does it well.
Unfortunately, this is sometimes the exception rather than the rule. You aren’t alone if you’ve struggled with an employee who walked out on the job with no notice, or the “revolving-door” staffing dilemma.
I spoke recently with one chiropractor who lost his insurance CA of many years. He sounded frustrated as he sat at her desk rummaging through the piles of incomplete paperwork, trying to figure out what needed to be done. Worse yet, this doctor didn’t know how to use the computer. Very often, an employee termination creates extreme turmoil, especially when there’s no one else who knows the job responsibilities and can step in.
A situation such as this creates major stress and distraction in the office, almost always affecting the productivity of the practice. There are very few practices that don’t experience this type of setback at one time or another. The trick is to regroup as quickly as possible and learn a lesson from it. The lesson to be learned is that the practice owner should always know what the employees are doing and how to do their jobs – especially when it comes work that’s done on computers.
The following system can help you stay on track if you encounter staff turnover. First, you’ll need to purchase several photo albums; get the kind that allows you to slip the picture into the pockets. The pockets are about the size of index cards.
Give a photo album to each chiropractic assistant in the office. The album became a position book. Each CA should write up an index card (in pencil) for every task for which they are responsible – especially computer-oriented tasks, because they tend to be the most complex. For instance, the front desk CA would create a card for entering a new patient in the computer, adding DX, posting patient charges and payments, scheduling appointments, creating a birthday list, printing a statement, etc.
The insurance CA would make cards for posting insurance payments, posting partial payments, generating reports, lists, billing claims electronically, aging accounts receivable reports, ledgers, statements, reactivation letters, mail merges, queries, etc.
Every single task each position is responsible for, must have an index card explaining exactly how to execute it. With computer-related tasks, especially, all directions should be very thorough and contain the exact procedures for getting to the appropriate screens from the main menu, and all the key strokes from beginning to end. You (or a staff member) can test the procedures by following the card’s directions without help from anyone.
The beauty of this system is that it takes very little time for a CA to write the card out while he or she is doing a particular task. Once the cards are completed, literally anyone can fill in for a particular position during vacation or sick times. It also becomes easier to train a replacement, and the sudden absence of an employee does not have to send the entire office into chaos. Finally, each position book stays at that staff member’s desk, terminal or “home base,” and it’s not allowed out of the office for any reason.
Finally, never allow yourself to become uninvolved in the daily processes of your office. Hands-on management is always the best management.