Balancing work flow and eliminating troublesome bottlenecks in a busy medical practice are chronic problems, but if ignored they become a financial drain and compromise patient service. In fact, a decline in profits and patient gripes are often the things that alert the physician or manager that workflow problems have gotten out of hand. But what’s the best approach to getting to the root of your problems and finding the best solution?

Start with communication. Meet with staff and enlist their support in clearly identifying where the bottlenecks are, what is causing them and what are the most reasonable solutions to pursue. It is leaderships job to be sure staff feels important and comfortable enough to come to you when they have a problem and believe they will get your support.

Analyze the processes. Look for where the errors occur and where there are unnecessary steps or duplication of tasks. Even better, are there steps that can be eliminated through technology that save time, reduce errors and improve outcome?

Invest in staff. Errors often occur and go undetected when new staff is not properly trained and when existing staff does not get on-going training to stay at the top of their game. This can result in frustration, poor morale and compromised outcomes, as well as causing division among the troops. Everyone needs the support of management; beginning with training and ending with performance evaluation and getting the tools to enhance performance.

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