Time for a New Recipe?

workflow issues at PT practice call for a new recipeTime for a New Recipe?

Quality ingredients don’t guarantee success

Does Shannon need new workers, or a new approach to practice management?

Mike set a dish before his wife with a flourish. Shannon eyed it uncertainly. “It looks like chocolate mousse,” she said, “but I thought you said you were working on healthy new dishes at the restaurant.”

“Absolutely!” Mike agreed. “When people find out that I’m married to a physical therapist, they expect my menu to include all those gluten-free, dairy-free, heart-healthy paleo vegan things, and I’m trying to accommodate them.”

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“So the super-cheerful voice is designed to make me like this better?” Shannon asked, dipping a spoon into the concoction. “I don’t think that works. I tried it at the practice this morning and you should have seen how flat it fell.”

Mike sat down at the table with Shannon and took her hand. “I thought you had a great plan for getting everyone together to work on the problems with practice management that you’ve been dealing with.”

“I thought so, too,” said Shannon, with a spoonful of Mike’s mousse paused halfway to her mouth. “Instead of banding together to brainstorm solutions the way I thought we would, everybody turned on one another. You’ve never heard such a blamefest!”

“That’s a new word for me,” Mike teased, “but I know what you mean. Everyone passes the blame along to everyone else.”

“Exactly! We already have high turnover in the front office as it is, not to mention absenteeism, and now it seems like nobody wants to accept responsibility for anything. How can we make changes when they’re all convinced that they’re already perfect?”

“Speaking of perfect, how about actually tasting this scrumptious new dessert?”

Shannon peered at the spoon. “It looks creamy and delicious, but there has to be a catch. What did the kids think?”

“The kids wouldn’t eat it,” Mike admitted. “They watched me make it, and I guess I faced the same kind of bad attitude you faced at the practice. Except that I can’t fire the kids and hire new ones.”

“If firing people and hiring new ones would help, I’d do it,” Shannon laughed, “but I don’t think I have bad workers.”

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She tasted the dessert. “Hmm… this also isn’t bad. Chocolatey, but there’s something else in there I can’t quite identify. Some kind of vegetable, maybe?”

“Avocado! Instead of cream and egg yolks with all that saturated fat, I went with avocado.”

“Avocado is delicious on its own, but if there were some way to keep the texture and make the flavor a little less vegetable…”

Mike frowned thoughtfully. “Shannon, maybe that’s what’s going on with your practice, too. It’s not that the ingredients are wrong — you’ve got good people — but the recipe needs tweaking.”

Shannon nodded. “That makes sense. But where can I find a good recipe for practice management success?”

Does Shannon need new workers,

or a new approach to practice management?

Want to know how to improve your own practice workflow? Register for our webinar ’4 Steps to Stop Your Staff from Fighting.’


18 replies
  1. David
    David says:

    Ultimately, I suppose it boils down to consistency of training. Left to their own devices, employees will figure out their own ways of doing things… which makes it that much harder to cover for them in the case of absenteeism or departure.

  2. Andrew Kropff
    Andrew Kropff says:

    Many office staff are under trained for their responsibilities. This creates a lot of frustration and anxiety that leads to high turn over rates. That means newer staff with even less training! Lacking a good approach to practice management creates a this cycle of anxiety.

  3. Astrid Bidanec
    Astrid Bidanec says:

    I think the missing ingredient at Shannon’s practice is teamwork. As long as every staff member is only focused on personal tasks without working towards achieving practice goals there will always be a certain degree of chaos. Getting everyone on the same page requires training and consistent procedures for everyone to achieve optimal workflow. I highly recommend attending this educational webinar on Practice Workflow: https://yp122.infusionsoft.com/app/page/bestpt-newsletter-registration-workflow?inf_contact_key=6d58d5edd3a3e917c7cdc4006935a7c2b8eec01b47a8c5363bd5c6e6b5f50ad4

  4. George Konold
    George Konold says:

    Shannon needs a better system in her office to help with staff turnover, staff training and staff management. If she had a computer system that included task checklists, then she could automatically assign tasks to her staff and she could easily follow-up with accountability and transparency. She would be better informed too.

  5. Yuval Lirov
    Yuval Lirov says:

    Office teamwork is important because of revenue, cost and compliance implications. First, here is a positive correlation between patient referrals and staff teamwork. Conversely, uncoordinated/unprofessional handling of patients leads to attrition. Next, any time that the practice owner has to spend on front office matters is time not spent seeing patients. Compliance issues include incomplete/incorrect documentation, interrupted care plans, incorrect CPT/diagnosis codes. When front office personnel are unfamiliar with procedures, important matters could “slip through the cracks,” e.g., front office fails to collect copays and other payments could potentially lead to overpayments by payers. Shannon has a systemic problem and replacing a few staff members is not a systemic solution.

  6. Eldad De-Medonsa
    Eldad De-Medonsa says:

    Just imagine that each team member could actually see how
    much each one is contributing to the overall workload – would this eliminate
    the finger pointing and create some shared responsibility ?

  7. Robin Kortman
    Robin Kortman says:

    Staff conflict ultimately affects how a practice grows, causing decrease in patient retention and errors, Having accountable tasks for employees and cross training will decrease conflicts. Ideally building a strong team together.

  8. Charles Pritchard
    Charles Pritchard says:

    Does Shannon’s staff truly understand what her mission is? Have they bought in to what she wants to accomplish? Has she provided the necessary tools to her staff to accomplish her mission? Working together as a team toward a common goal will net good results. Not having the proper tools will result in frustration.

  9. Jason Barnes
    Jason Barnes says:

    Everyone wants to stay in control of their practice, but the game has changed and so the game plan must change. The control that everyone seeks is only gained when each member of the team knows EXACTLY what has to be done and they know how to do it. It sounds simple, but ask any stressed out practice owner, it isn’t. Defining who does what and how is the first step, then you need the ability to hold them accountable. Once that happens, then, and only then, can your office turnover stabilize because your employees will have clarity of purpose each day and a feeling of accomplishment. Then you have a team!

  10. Lisette Acevedo
    Lisette Acevedo says:

    Although the entire practice is under the responsibility of the practice owner, I don’t think it is productive to place any blame here. I have worked with practices dealing with similar issues and believe that the best thing to do here is to take a step back and get everyone on the same page. Where is the common ground? Is everyone working toward to same goals or goals? Once the goal is established, the path to accomplish it needs to be established leaving minimal margin of error. Everything will become clear at that point and the practice will run much more smoothly!

  11. Michelle Corrigan
    Michelle Corrigan says:

    Hiring new staff without commitments to teamwork will
    continue to produce the same results. The entire staff needs to understand
    the goals Shannon has for the office and their roles in that process. Implementing a
    practice management system focused on workflow will alert the staff of what
    work needs to be completed and allow Shannon to hold them accountable, thus
    ending the blame game, and allowing the entire team to focus on patient health and practice success.

  12. Heather Miller
    Heather Miller says:

    Team work seems to be what is missing. You need a workflow system that will foster team work in the office. When using a system that allows everyone in the office to see what needs to be done and by whom you can end the blame game. When everyone is on the same page then the work can continue even when someone is absent.

  13. Aseer Kailas
    Aseer Kailas says:

    Team work is like a train with several cars, if one of them has a problem it will derail the train. Keeping all the members of the team integrated ( cohesive ) and focussed on the desination is a shared responsibilty of the all the staff with the Manager as the engine. The manager should use tools to aid in detection and management of any inconsistencies.

  14. Kathleen Casbarro
    Kathleen Casbarro says:

    A good recipe for success includes:
    – 3 cups workflow management system
    – 3 cups teamwork
    – 3 cups commitment

    Why are all the parts equal? In order to succeed in business, your goals must be defined as they are above. Shannon needs all parts in order for her practice to be successful. Shannon’s staff to know that they are equally a part of her practices success.

  15. Wendy Thorington
    Wendy Thorington says:

    team work is missing from this practice, and a practice management system that will allow transparency. They need a system that will allow them to create check list of what needs to be completed and who is responsible for doing that task; keeping everyone accountable.

  16. Ashfaq Dafedar
    Ashfaq Dafedar says:

    Team work can fix 90% of this problem,Need to make sure that all of the staff is on same page in all day to day workflow and have a PM system which reflects a clear workflow and procedures and the responsible staff for that task. This may fix the remaining 10%.

  17. wilson N
    wilson N says:

    New workers or new practice management would not provide solution to Shannon. She has to work with her team and make train them to her requirements. Entire staff is equally responsible to be successful.

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