“There are days when I feel like I’m Dr. Behram’s right arm,” says Randi Mandell, Practice Administrator at Congressional OB GYN in Rockville, Maryland. A typical work day may include meeting with providers, evaluating workflow and finances, or filling in at the front desk, though Randi will be the first to tell you, “I wear so many hats; there is no typical work day for me.”
Michelle Spence, Practice Administrator at Rockville Internal Medicine Group (RIMG), echoes Mandell’s description of her role that involves a range of activity and is integral to her practice’s success. Both describe the synergistic relationship they have with their physicians, noting that their roles require expertise, collaboration, and dedication to constantly improve practice performance.
In today’s hectic healthcare space, doctors rightly want to focus on caring for their patients, but they face increasing administrative burdens, never-ending legislative mandates, evolving technology, and complex data requirements. For these reasons, many physicians rely heavily on office managers to shoulder administrative duties and drive practice operation improvements.
Many office administrators thrive in such a dynamic position. “I really enjoy strategic planning,” Spence says of what she calls the most fulfilling, and challenging, aspect of her role. “I enjoy strategizing with my team about how to get the practice to where it needs to be.” But even the savviest practice admins can benefit from help. This is where collaboration is key.
To keep their practices at peak performance, Michelle Spence, Randi Mandell and other Privia practice administrators take advantage of what might the best resource there is: the experiences of other office managers. Each month, they attend Privia Regional Council meetings, where practice administrators and office managers come together in a collaborative setting that allows them to strategize with their peers. There, they discuss best practices, current issues, and process improvements.
Resources developed from these meetings include best practice “cheat sheets” that the administrators compile based on shared insights. Most recently, council members leveraged their collective experience to draft an on-boarding and credentialing checklist for new providers joining their practices.
The meetings have also yielded tangible results. Michelle Spence recounts a win she achieved in her practice when she modeled off another practice’s success. “We knew that [another practice’s] walk-in clinic had grown and proved to be a success, so our administrative team created an operations management plan to implement walk-in hours at RIMG. At the Council meetings, I gathered tips from other large groups on how to make the walk-in hours flourish. By analyzing data, consulting with staff and adopting innovative practices from my Privia counterparts, our administrative team was better equipped to manage the walk-in hours.”
At RIMG, hours were first expanded to allow walk-in hours in the morning. Later, the practice opened its evening hours to walk-ins. “Now, we are preparing to offer walk-ins hours all day with extended times on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.” The key, Spence says, is to have dedicated providers and structure to ensure minimal wait time. “Our patients love the convenience of the walk-in hours and we have the opportunity to capture patients who are due for annual wellness visits or have quality gaps. Overall, walk-in hours have proven to be a successful business endeavor and access benefit for our patients.”
Beyond collaborating on resources and accomplishing practical objectives for strategic planning, Spence highlights networking with counterparts as an invaluable opportunity. In a job that leaves many feeling siloed in his or her individual practice, having a chance to engage with others who share similar roles and burdens is an appreciated resource. By coming together at monthly council meetings, office managers have a venue to share ideas, interact, and influence one another’s success.
Privia provides office managers with a variety of support, from credentialing, training, workflow enhancements, resources, to guidance through complex compliance requirements. Contact us to learn how we can free your time to focus on daily practice management while Privia handles the heavy lifting for your practice.