Medical Practice Management Responsibilities
Medical practice management is a widely varied job with a myriad of responsibilities. In a nutshell, the medical practice manager oversees all aspects of the medical office except direct patient care. Most of the work occurs behind the scenes of the office, away from patients. While the patients may not come into contact with a practice manager, or even know that one is there, they benefit from the organization and coordination that the manager instills in the office. Ineffective management procedures lead to long patient wait times, overloaded staff, and billing errors. Such problems frequently cause patients to seek care elsewhere. Accordingly, medical practice management is an extremely important component of any successful medical office.
- Financial Management
- Patient Communication
- Personnel Management
- Insurance Coding and Billing
- Medical Records Management
- Appointment Scheduling
- Office Operations
One of the most important duties of the medical practice manager is financial planning. Financial planning is the creation of a strategy for financial success. Within the medical practice setting, this includes creating a budget, planning for expensive equipment purchases or staffing increases, billing and collections, and much more. The daily operations and future goals of the office must be continually accounted for and updated as needed. Any errors in the financial organization of a medical practice can quickly result in office closure. Understandably, this aspect of practice management generally requires much of a manager’s time.
Associated with billing is medical record management, an extremely sensitive function due to the security requirements associated with patient information. The United States has laws in place designed to protect patient privacy. Failure to protect patient records may result in lawsuits or even imprisonment. It is up to the medical practice manager to ensure these policies are strictly adhered to by every person in the office.
The job also includes managing human resources. This encompasses everything from determining optimal staffing requirements to maintaining a pleasurable workplace. Practice managers of small firms may perform all personnel management functions themselves. They may place advertisements for new staff members, organize employee benefit packages, create training manuals, and evaluate employee performance. A larger practice may have one or several employees working exclusively in human resources. In these practices, the manager serves as a leader, overseeing their work and making sure their goals match that of the practice as a whole.
In small practices the practice manager may also handle all appointment scheduling. This is more complicated than it sounds, what with patients missing, rescheduling, or simply being late for their appointments. One late patient can gum up an entire day’s schedule if not handled properly. Today there are
excellent software programs to assist with appointment scheduling, and most offices do hire someone with the appropriate computer training to handle this job.
Reading through all the job functions associated with medical practice management may seem overwhelming, but it is important to realize that a manager would not be hired unless they were prepared. Moreover, the variety in daily duties makes working in medical practice management a very exciting career. Nothing is routine! Each day presents new challenges and opportunities, something not true of many jobs. It must also be remembered that medical management is critical for helping patients receive the ideal level of care they need for good health and well-being. While the practice manager may not be actually treating the patient, no patient could receive adequate care without a highly organized office run by an expert medical practice manager.