What makes a good practice manager?
- On 05/05/2016
Your practice manager can make or break your practice.
As a doctor, you want to be able to focus on what you do best – caring for patients. Therefore when it comes to business side of the equation, it’s best to lean on someone who is an expert in managing medical practices.
Here are a few things to look for in an effective practice manager:
Your practice manager will take on the lion’s share of liaising with staff members, and occasionally will have to deal with patient complaints. Navigating the pay issues, or inter-office conflicts takes someone with diplomacy and confidence. They must have strong leadership and communication skills. The Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) estimates practice managers spend approximately 21% of their time on HR. This includes hiring/firing, awards, Fair Work Act, wages, rosters, hours, performance appraisals and remuneration.
A practice manager’s IT activities may involve software and hardware maintenance, new technology/service adoption, troubleshooting, eHealth and telehealth skills, software training and website maintenance. The AAPM estimates practice manager’s spend at least 7% of their day on IT and information management. As a result, you need a practice manager who is comfortable using technology and learning new platforms.
Taking care of the financial management of the practice is one of the practice manager’s core responsibilities. Not only will they be involved in ensuring the profitability of the practice, but they will also help develop a financial strategy that reflects the business plan. They should be involved with budget development, financial reporting, income development and expense maintenance.
Marketing and planning
Having a good understanding of marketing, social media and web presence, and the ability to follow strategic plans for the practice means your practice will continue to grow its patient base and expand its offering. A good practice manager will be in charge of the website, newsletters, communication with community groups and referrals from other practitioners.
Practice managers should maintain knowledge of, and comply with changes in legislation. They need to be aware of contractual obligations of the practice and understand employment regulations. The compliance aspect of a practice manager’s role is complex and increasing. This includes knowledge of: Medicare, ATO, Federal, State and local legislation, as well as Industrial Relations.