Do You Need An Office Manager?

Lynn Homisak PRT

Have you thought about adding an office manager to your practice? Take this quiz.

1. Is there ongoing friction between your front desk and back office staff?
2. Are you often bothered by staff complaints regarding co-worker personality issues?
3. Do the staff interrupt you with questions during patient care?
4. Do you avoid conducting annual performance evaluations or monitoring staff productivity?
5. Are you concerned that staff might not be handling phone conversations with patients as properly as they should be?
6. Are you responsible for all hiring, training and firing activities?
7. Is there frequent staff turnover in your office?
8. Do you receive little communication or reporting from the billing office?
9. Are you at a loss to know your practice data trends and benchmarks?
10. Do you avoid conducting staff meetings because they are mostly unproductive and a waste of time?
11. Are concise, written employee job descriptions absent from your practice?
12. Do you have difficulty enforcing policy?
13. Do you find it difficult disciplining those who disregard policy?
14. Does your office lack an up-to-date employee manual?
15. Do you ever worry about potential embezzlement?
16. Have you noticed low morale, little motivation and diminishing incentive among your staff?
17. Are you the one responsible for all compliance issues (including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Medicare, human resources, electronic medical records, etc.)?
18. Are you responsible for approving, scheduling and tracking all paid time off for your employees?
19. Are you responsible for monitoring and/or submitting all payroll activities?
20. Are you responsible to see that all staff follow through with delegated instructions?
21. Do you feel compelled to stay on top of everything in addition to treating patients?
22. Does it feel like you spend more time correcting mistakes than you should?
23. Do you feel like you are running around in circles on a regular basis, feeling more stress than you would like to?

Be honest. If you answered “yes” to more than five of those questions, you would benefit from the support that a qualified office manager can bring to your practice. If you determine that you are in fact in a position to go that route, the next question you are likely asking yourself is, “Can I afford to hire one?”

A qualified office manager gets training to successfully offload some of your stressors by taking on certain administrative/managerial duties and responsibilities. This then allows you bonus time to perform more of the “revenue-producing doctor tasks” that you were medically trained to do. So then the question is not whether you can afford to hire an office manager … it’s whether you can afford not to. Not convinced? I encourage you to read more in a related article I wrote for Podiatry Today entitled, “Do You Need An Office Manager?” (see http://tinyurl.com/l6yhm45 ).

I emphasized “qualified” in the above paragraph because not everyone has the knowledge, demeanor or skill to walk in those shoes effectively. Your long-time clinical assistant may be excellent at what she does but without proper training, moving her into the management seat could be setting her up for failure. For as many good reasons that there are to hire an office manager, employing the wrong individual can end up being a disaster and unfortunately will leave a sour taste in your mouth. What has been your experience?

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