Less Efficiency with New Employee - What to do?

by  Brandy Brimhall, CPC, CMCO, CCCPC, CPCO, CPMA
March 29th, 2017

Q:  I have recently hired a new staff person.  We have conducted training, and I feel like she is a great addition to my practice; however, a couple of the basic job duties and required procedures we have in place aren't being done as efficiently as they had been with the previous person in her role.  For example, our filing is usually always done at the end of the shift, and it seems to take her much longer.  Also, we call patients that have missed appointments within 15 minutes from the time they were scheduled.  I don't want these systems to slip and not be done efficiently.  Do you have suggestions that might help?
 
A:  The systems that practices have to conduct general job duties are generally established the first time by the person conducting those duties, and of course the preference of the doctor.  It is important to realize that not every person operates alike.  So, when a new person comes to fill a role in your practice, there is a learning curve at this time for not only the new employee but also for the practice.  This means, too, that as the provider discovers things that are less efficient with a new employee than with a previous employee, this is a time that the systems in place may need to be evaluated and updated to best fit with the new employee.  For those duties that you have described above, even though you have clear systems in place, it would be recommended to meet with your new employee and discuss possibilities for improvement.  
Here are a few suggestions for you to include:
1.  More training or a friendly and professional discussion of policies and expectations may be all that is necessary.  It's possible that your new employee may not recognize the importance of these systems and just simply isn't handling them as you prefer.  
2.  There is more than one way to accomplish the same thing.  Perhaps the systems in place are not efficient or comfortable for your new employee.  Both of the systems you mentioned can be altered without causing any hardship to your practice.  If it is determined that the current systems in place for these duties are difficult for the new employee to accomplish in this manner, have a discussion with her to determine what can be changed in order to improve her efficiency. 
A couple of suggestions for you may include:
 
-Reactivation Systems:  Perhaps being confined to a 15 minute time period for calling missed appointments feels too cumbersome or overwhelming.  By the time a patient is 15 minutes late anyway, if you called them, they're probably not going to be able to come right in without interfering with your practice schedule when they do get there.  Sometimes too, she may have found that she's left a message for a patient as they walk in your office door, which is counterproductive.  Maybe you'd like to re-evaluate this system to having these missed appointments called after 30 minutes to 1 full hour has passed from their missed appointment time.  Or, maybe you'd like to have the missed appointments for the morning schedule called before your employee leaves at lunch time, and the afternoon's missed appointments called at the end of the business day.  
If you have a lot of missed appointments, possibly putting an appointment reminder system in place could be helpful as well or evaluating the current reminder system that you do have.  Appointment reminder systems can be very efficient and include not only a personal call but can also be done using an automated call system, e-mail, text and other approved and authorized methods.  
 
-Filing:  Filing can be hard to do at the end of a shift since this is the same time the employee is likely handling shift-ending or closing procedures to prepare their work space for the next person or the next day.  Consider when else the employee may be able to use her time to work on filing.  Since filing is a duty that can be frequently interrupted from doing, maybe filing can be done through out the day as there are a few extra minutes in between other responsibilities.  Your policy might be, that all filing is done by closing time or at the end of a shift because it doesn't matter really, when the filing is actually being done.  Remember that your job is to help your employees learn to maximize their own time and productivity and sometimes this must be done according to what is best fitting to their own personality and work style.  
 
Making adjustments to predetermined duties and procedures doesn't mean that your office systems have to suffer at all. Rather, it means that they just may need to be restructured slightly in order to be most productive.
 
Regardless, it would be best to address the obstacle now rather than waiting until the systems have come completely off the tracks, and other areas of your practice are impacted.  

Less Efficiency with New Employee - What to do?. (2017, March 29). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from https://www.findacode.com/articles/less-efficiency-with-new-employee-what-to-do-26628.html

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