Health Care Clinics

Just as with offices and hospitals, health care clinics require excellent medical practice management. Health clinic managers are responsible for creating an efficient office environment. An efficient office leads to improved patient care and a better patient experience, which may lead to a larger patient volume and increased revenue. The most important skills needed by health clinic managers are leadership, interpersonal communication, strategic planning, and budgeting.

Leadership is a necessary quality of any health clinic manager. It is the manager’s responsibility to set the tone of the workplace, inspiring an air of professionalism and caring in all the employees. If the manager is unable to effectively lead, the office personnel will not work as a consistent or cohesive team. Ideas for improving workflow may not be effectively implemented and errors are more likely to occur. Errors in a health clinic may be more costly than just dollars and cents! Accordingly, strong leadership skills are critical in a health clinic manager. However, it is important not to lead with too heavy a hand or resentment may occur. Leading through example and motivation is the best method.

Health clinic managers must also have excellent interpersonal communication. Managers must be able to work closely with all clinic employees, rectifying problems and creating optimal work practices. Many people may resent being told how best to do their jobs, or they may resist change. A manager must be able to effectively direct their employees without instigating anger or creating a negative atmosphere. Additionally, many clinic managers have duties requiring patient contact, such as in scheduling or billing or when a patient has a complaint. It is imperative that the manager handle patients respectfully and resolve problems with an eye to keeping the patient as a client. Health issues can be extremely emotional for patients and simple matters such as scheduling or a billing problem can quickly become tense situations. Keeping a cool head and knowing how to effectively communicate can make the difference in patient satisfaction.

Strategic planning is another skill health clinic managers must possess. Health clinics tend to be large and may keep irregular hours. Additionally, clinics employ a large number of staff working irregular shifts to cover the odd times of operation. Strategic planning and effective use of all resources is necessary for successful clinic operation. For example, a clinic manager needs to assess patient volume throughout the day and over the course of the week. Mapping this data will provide a guide for employee scheduling. During periods of high patient volume, adding additional office and medical staff will reduce wait times. Conversely, staff numbers can be reduced during regular intervals of low patient numbers. Similar studies should be performed on supply utilization, office procedures, etc. Simple measures like this can optimize clinic operations and reduce financial waste.

Managers must be comfortable creating and sticking to a strict budget. Staff and bills must be paid on time and money must be saved and allocated toward future goals, such as new equipment purchases or the hiring of additional employees. The complicated billing and reimbursement procedures surrounding health insurance must be accounted for when budgeting, as claims can be rejected or require several weeks or even months of arbitration until payments are finally made. The clinic manager must have a comprehensive understanding of these processes in order to keep the clinic financially sound.

Working in medical practice management at a health care clinic can be exciting and rewarding. Taking the time to hone your skills before entering the field will help make your job a successful one.

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