Getting On Top of PT Workflow

download-20Time to Grow Up, Not Just Grow

Could empowering her staff help Shannon get on top of workflow in her physical therapy practice?

Shannon was still upset when she got to work. She and her husband didn’t quarrel often, and this time they’d fought in front of the kids. “At least I’m on time,” she told herself. She greeted the office manager and headed for the break room. “How come we never have doughnuts in here?” she called, pouring a cup of coffee.

Theresa appeared in the doorway. “My boss doesn’t approve of doughnuts,” she said with a raised eyebrow. “Are you feeling stressed?”

“I am,” Shannon admitted. “Mike basically told me I’m incompetent at my job.”

“How can he say that? You’re great with patients, and you’ve built this practice up from nothing.”

“We built this practice, Theresa, not just me. But Mike says I’m always responding to crises, instead of getting systems right ahead of time. I feel like we’ve improved a lot in that area recently. But I admit I do spend a lot of time putting out fires.”

“Me too,” Theresa agreed. “I feel like I’m always responding to whatever comes up, and I know that sometimes things fall through the cracks — or get lost in reports. That may just be the nature of my job, but I think it would be better if I had more clarity about what the day would bring. I could plan better and have fewer things just being pushed further down my to-do list. It seems like I never check anything off that list.”

“But hasn’t it gotten better since we’ve been making changes in the way we manage our practice?”

Theresa sighed. “We haven’t actually made most of the changes we’ve talked about. Just like we haven’t redecorated the building. It’s just more stuff at the bottom of the to-do list.”

Shannon felt like crying. The coffee wasn’t helping.

“What about the rest of the team?” she asked quietly. “Do you think they feel the same way?”

Theresa thought for a moment. “I’m sure that it would be better if everyone could know exactly what their daily workload was. As long as we just deal with things as they come up, nobody is really accountable for anything except just doing their best — and who knows what that means? It’s hard to feel like we’ve accomplished anything besides making it through the day.”

Shannon shook her head. “You know, I really felt like things were going well, like we were making real improvements.”

“We’ve made some improvements. We’ve made some changes in our attitudes, too. And things are going well. But I think I get what Mike was talking about. We need a little more action on the plans we’ve made. We need this practice to grow up, not just grow”

Shannon stared into her coffee cup.

“You know,” Theresa said gently, “it’s not just you. Empowering the staff to take responsibility for their workloads would mean you wouldn’t have to micromanage so much. We’d all get more done and we wouldn’t be working on top of each other so much.”

Shannon took a deep breath. “Speaking of workloads, we’d better get to it. Thank you for your honesty.”

Theresa’s lips curled in a smile. “Are you going to say that to Mike, too?”

Shannon laughed. “I’ll try.”

Could empowering her staff help Shannon get on top of workflow in her physical therapy practice?

Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.