Hosting Effective Medical Office Meetings

Select the Right Timing, Set an Agenda, Discuss Items of Ongoing Importance

Medical office staff meetings can be quite effective if utilized in an efficient and productive manner. Meetings are a great form of communication for the entire practice and should be held on a regular basis. When meetings are scheduled weekly, biweekly or even monthly, managers and staff can address issues within the office in a timely fashion.

Many times meetings can become ineffective when there isn't enough planning involved to accommodate time limitations or the information presented is not properly organized. Here are several ways you can host more effective medical office meetings.

1
The Agenda

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Developing a standard agenda allows you to address key topics at each meeting in the order of importance. This allows each meeting to flow smoothly and stay on topic with enough time to discuss all of the most important topics. Many times meetings will go over the scheduled time, but your meeting could end on time as long as the important issues are addressed.

A typical meeting agenda includes:

  1. Welcome and introduction
  2. Absences
  3. Minutes of the previous meeting
  4. Issues arising from the previous meeting
  5. List of items to be discussed in order of importance
  6. Any other business allowing staff members to bring up other topics
  7. Any new business for the next meeting
  8. Close of the meeting

In the list of items, include standard items that should be addressed at each meeting. These may be infection control, HIPAA, and financial goals.

Look for recurring items from previous agendas, such as claim denials, long wait times, and patient satisfaction issues.

2
Frequency and Length of Time to Accommodate Patient Care Needs

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The frequency and length of time of office meetings depend on several factors. Due to the time restrictions of the medical office, the meetings should not interfere with patient care.

The best time to schedule a meeting would be after hours or during a slow period of the day. This way the meeting would have few or no interruptions and can start and end on time. A biweekly or monthly staff meeting that lasts no more than an hour would be more convenient.

Some managers may want also to meet once a month with smaller groups or individual staff members to address more specific topics. This is an important step that is often left out of meeting plans. Smaller groups or individual meetings allow people to bring up or discuss topics that they may not be willing to talk about in front of a larger group. Managers can also use this as an opportunity to discuss confidential issues with staff members without anyone feeling singled out.

3
Discuss Items of Importance in the Medical Setting

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Although each office is different, the dynamics of the medical office are very similar in nature. Certain topics should be touched on at each meeting to ensure that your medical office maintains compliant with state and federal guidelines.

  • HIPAA: All healthcare providers have a responsibility to keep their staff trained and informed regarding HIPAA compliance. Whether intentional or accidental, unauthorized disclosure of PHI is considered a violation of HIPAA. Remind your staff each meeting about the importance of avoiding disclosure of information through routine conversation; discussing patient information in waiting areas, hallways or elevators; proper disposal of PHI; and access to information be strictly limited to employees whose jobs require that information.
  • Infection Control: Preventing the spread of infectious diseases is the main goal of infection control in the medical office. As we all know, proper hand washing is the most effective way of preventing the spread of infections. However, hand washing alone cannot do the job. Friendly reminders will go a long way in making sure staff and patients stay safe.
  • Financial Goals: The success of any health care facility depends on the strength of the medical office's financial policy and how the office performs in reaching its financial goals. Keeping staff informed on how well or poorly the office is performing is one way to continue to perform well or improve. The financial status of the office is equally important to the staff because they know that as long as the office performs well financially, their more secure they can feel in their jobs.

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