Physicians are already busy, but with the impending implementation of the Affordable Care Act, they’re about to get a whole lot busier.
According to Harvard University research, there could be as many as 22.4 million new patients flooding the market once the program is up and running. With patients’ health on the line, you don’t want increased demand to lead to sloppy service, which means now’s the time to start honing your time management skills.
Here are six time management tips for healthcare professionals that should allow you to treat more patients:
1. Establish Goals
When things get busy, the last thing you want to do is run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Take time to establish goals and create a sense of purpose for your work week. Set goals for 30, 60, and 90 days. Write them down, and discuss them with your supervisor to gain additional input. Then, schedule a few moments at the beginning and end of each week to review your goals, action items, and progress.
For information on prepping your practice for an EHR transition, check out this article: Organize Your Efforts: EHR Planning Task List
2. Prioritize Your Work Day
It can be tough to hit the ground running when you arrive for work, but time spent drinking coffee, wandering the halls, or checking Facebook is time wasted. Write out the specific tasks you need to complete each day and the time you need to complete them by. Check your list as soon as you get to work and post it in a prominent location. Stay on track by checking your list often and adjusting it as needed. You’d be surprised how much you can complete when you keep yourself accountable to a to-do list.
Read how EHRs can help you get better organized at the beginning of your workday: Can EHRs Rescue Doctors from Physician Burnout?
3. Take Advantage of Technology
Check out CareCloud, a software technology system designed to streamline healthcare practices by optimizing practice management and organizing health records. When your practice is online and organized, you and your patients save time. There’s even a mobile app for patients that allows them to review records, make appointments, and communicate with your staff. The less time you spend juggling administrative paperwork and phone calls, the more time you’ll have for patient care.
For more information on how CareCloud can provide the right set of tools to help you provide better care, visit their website.
4. Ask Your Organization to Use Electronic Health Records
If your employer hasn’t already done so, request that the organization switch to electronic health records. Electronic records cut down on paperwork while making it easier to find pertinent patient information. The faster you can access and update patient records, the more everyone benefits.
For more information on the benefits of transitioning from paper charts to an electronic record solution, check out this article: EHR Design: The Key to Moving Beyond Paper
5. Delegate When Possible
Don’t assume you can do it all on your own. If there’s extra help available, use it. Medical assistants, administrative staff, interns, and volunteers are there for a reason, so take advantage of their help.
6. Know When to Say No
Your coworkers probably know you’re busy, but that won’t stop them from asking for help. Be realistic about your workload and only agree to take on projects or patients if you have the time. You may think you’re improving yourself and your career by taking on every project that comes your way, but if you end up overwhelmed, no one benefits. Increased stress and decreased productivity aren’t goals you should strive for, so carefully consider requests and know when to turn someone down.
Use these 4 Tips for Designing a More Productive Practice to help alleviate the workload at your practice.
Did you know that one hour of wasted time each day could result in 152 days lost during your career? Look into these time-saving tips and implement the ones you find promising. As your career progresses, you’ll be glad you did.
What time management tips can you offer to other healthcare professionals? Let us know in the comments section below.
John Taylor is a writer who focuses on personal development, health and fitness, and technology.