5 Steps to Improve Medical Office Employee Performance

1
Set Clear Expectations for Each Job Role in the Medical Office

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Improving employee performance must begin with having clear expectations. This sets the foundation for ensuring that both the manager and the staff are aware of what the job requirements of their role.​

Without clear expectations, it's impossible to determine whether an employee is doing the job well or poorly. It is unrealistic to assume that an employee knows what the expectations of the job are without going over it with them.

The expectations should include measurable goals as well as quality goals. Include ancillary tasks such as cross-coverage of the other positions. For example, is your medical biller expected to cover the front desk when the medical receptionist is sick or at lunch? Who is expected to pick up the phones when the receptionist is busy serving patients?

2
Provide Staff With the Tools They Need

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Once the manager and staff are both aware of expectations, it is necessary to ensure that each staff member has the tools they need to effectively do their job. Staff cannot be held accountable for accomplishing work if they do not have all the tools they need. Do you have updated coding books, software, computers, communications systems? Are workstations set up ergonomically? Do you have policies and procedures in place and accessible so they refer to them?

Not only is it important to have the tools to complete their job, but it is also necessary to make sure these tools are effective. It would be a good idea to evaluate the tools available to staff when setting expectations. Who knows more than the staff themselves what tools they need to work more effectively and efficiently.

3
Provide Ongoing Education and Training

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The healthcare industry is ever-changing, and the only way that staff can continuously achieve expectations is to receive ongoing education and training. Billing and coding requirements change annually, and for staff to keep up with these changes, there must be a system in place to stay up-to-date with these changes.

At least once a year, staff should go to Medicare and Medicaid seminars or set up a training session with the local representative to conduct in-service training. Other types of training can also be conducted including peer-to-peer training or super user training. For staff that may be struggling in a certain area or need a refresher on things like improving collections, customer service, telephone etiquette, and more, there are online training programs that are available.  

4
Provide Guidance and Direction When Needed

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Many managers expect that their employees have the education, training, and tools to achieve the expectations of their job.  For the most part, they can. However, no one ever knows everything there is to know about their job and still may need additional assistance.  As a medical office manager, it is your job to provide guidance and direction to your staff when needed. Unique situations arise that require input or a decision by a manager.

Employees need to feel secure that if they don't know the answer, there is at least one person they can come to that they can depend on. Managers must be a resource for their employees. Even if you don't know all the answers as the manager, you can direct your staff to the right place to find the answers.

5
Provide Feedback at Least Twice a Year

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To recap:

  1. You have set clear expectations for each job role
  2. You have provided the necessary tools for staff to effectively perform their jobs
  3. You have provided the staff with ongoing education and training for staff to achieve expectations
  4. You have given your staff guidance and direction when they need it.

Now it is time conduct semi-annual and annual reviews. Managers and staff usually have different ideas about the purpose of an employee evaluation or review. Some believe it is to determine pay increases, to identify areas of improvement, or to have documentation for future use. For some, it could be all of these. It is also a tool for improving employee performance.  Managers can use this tool to identify the level an employee is at in achieving expectations and provide feedback to help them grow in their job.