Whether you are a large specialty medical practice of 20 physicians or a smaller gathering of 2, it’s important to know what your staff is capable of. Not only that, but to gauge how long tasks take and to delegate said tasks appropriately. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) offers valuable advice around finding your ideal staff “utopia.”
In this article, we are going to go over a few tips on how to find that balance in your office and not offset this based on the workload or amount of patients. This will help you find the right healthcare staffing balance for your medical practice!
Things to Look for
When tasked with staffing your medical office appropriately, there are multiple angles of attack. Make sure you aren’t reactionary or abrasive based on changes in your office: for example, if the workload increases, retaliate by hiring extra staff, and vice versa.
Some other things to consider are:
What are the industry benchmarks for staff in your specialty?
Do you have high turnover?
What is the number of support staff per full-time equivalent (FTE) physician?
Are services performed outside of your practice (i.e. hospital or management service organization, or MSO)?
Do you have nurse practitioners or physician assistants?
The MGMA is a great resource to look up for their Cost Survey and other data concerning medical practice logistics and the “median number of staff members per FTE physician by job responsibility.” These are important factors when trying to find an ideal staff amount. Also keep in mind that you may not always have a perfect balance—throughout the year, things are bound to fluctuate, from number of patients to services to your MSO.
While there are many formulas and benchmarks you can use for your metrics, all of it cycles back into your practice management. It goes without saying that you’ll need less staff for an organized office than an untidy one.
Stay on top of your patient demographics too, as well as the patient experience; this will help you see if your staff, if a high number, is justified or not. However, this also means you shouldn’t understaff and run your support staff ragged, either. Burnout happens to everyone, not just physicians, after all.
Do you have an EHR? If so, do you have experienced staff that knows how to use it? This can affect the level of productivity in your practice and be a determining factor for how many staff members you need. Also, if you outsource, your amount of full-time staff will most likely be less than what other logistics such as MGMA’s Cost Survey calculates that we mentioned earlier.
Don’t make rash decisions when it comes to your physician and support staff: think it through first, and the AAFP suggests you ask yourself questions about whether you’re happy with the functions of your practice, and if you’re willing to improve your own rate of productivity so you don’t require as much staffing time. It is through these questions and benchmarks that you can be on the road to attaining the right number of staff for your specialty practice.
Are you still feeling like you’re at a crossroads? PracticeForces provides efficient medical billing solutions to practices—let us find a customized package that works best for your situation today!