Your clinical staff is there to work for you and provide the best care and experience possible to your patients, and doing this effectively requires their expertise to be of par. Here are five simple yet critical things you should ensure your clinical staff is trained in:
1. Cross Train As Many Staff As Possible
Your clinical staff should all be cross-trained as much as possible. There should never (in any business) be only one person that knows how to do it “all”. From answering telephones, to directing patients, to collecting payments, they each should have at least a familiarity with these processes.
Your staff should also have a basic understanding of the tools you use in your office should an emergency arise and you call out for these items. So in essence, your reimbursements and accounting department should have a fair understanding of what each does, and their systems & processes. For example, the scheduler and the nurses should have an idea of how to perform each other’s duties, at least as stop-gaps. This leads to a productive office environment, no matter who may be out of the office on sick leave.
The best way to ensure everyone is cross-trained is to allow time for one on one job shadowing once or twice a month. Your staff will appreciate being able to add this working skill to their resume, which they didn’t pay a dime for training.
2. Conduct In-Service Triage Training a Few Times a Year
Triage is the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. (Source: Wikipedia)
You may not feel there’s much value to it since your staff may not be utilizing triaging daily. However, just think of how stress-free your office would be should an emergency arise, and everyone is skilled and ready to tackle the tasks at hand. It’s important to host triage trainings & mock drills at least 3 times a year to refresh older staff as well as prep new staff members.
As documentation and procedures change, new and seasoned staff needs reminders as well. The majority of training should be in-service, which should be a live presentation or a mock drill.
3. Using the EMR Software
EMR software has so many benefits for a physician’s office. From saving staff time by reducing effort in recording redundant information, to saving money by avoiding costly mistakes, your office should be transitioning over to use it. However, you just can’t install a new software system and expect your employees to understand it. Some may not be tech savvy while others may feel they are being replaced.
To get the process started, you ideally should get together an implementation team. This team will be responsible for testing the system out and then supporting any questions, and should ideally be composed of a doctor, a staff member and a representative from the vendor. Your training should be held over three phases:
- Skills assessment phase – During this phase, staff are brought up to speed on the to-be changes and implement of the EMR system.
- Basic skills phase – Staff get to know the system and have a full overview. Depending on your system this can be a few days to a week at the most. Have the vendor sit in on a few of these training sessions and be sure to have a thorough document available, ideally online, for staff to quickly reference the procedures.
- Application training phase – This is the hands-on training where staff members will walk through a simulated visit from beginning to end. They’ll learn the ins, outs, and shortcuts to the system.
4. Best Practices for Conflict Resolution
A medical establishment is full of stressful situations, making conflict easy to arise amongst office peers and patients. So it’s important that staff members know your offices best practice for conflict resolution. Staff should be trained on:
- Solving conflicts amongst each other
- Knowing when to bring in a third party to neutrally mediate the situation
- Laying out the consequences of not following management’s resolution
5. Overall Case Management
Finally, your staff should be well-versed in case management. This training focuses on clinical functions and financial resolutions and helps the staff manage your patients better. Topics to address include:
- Understanding payment options and if the patient’s insurance will cover a particular treatment
- Knowing if prior authorization is needed for visits or procedures
- Being a reference to patients that need help with insurance documentation, medications and instructions
This is just the tip of the iceberg as there are many other things your clinical staff must be trained on. Eventually, after working closely with your staff and developing these training modules, you will create a staff that is well equipped to handle most clinical situations.
How do you handle training your clinical staff? Do you find it time consuming or is that just a part of the business?