A new article from Slate.com is generating a lot of heat online with its controversial headline, “Why Are Doctors’ Offices So Badly Run?”
Many doctors would argue that the headline is not only a huge generalization, but also a gross exaggeration. The article itself attempts to address a valid issue, the burnout some doctors feel when they’re forced to act as both a physician and a business administrator simultaneously. By some estimates, the average primary care doctor can only spend 30-40 hours on patient care because of paperwork and administrative work loads.
As one doctor explained to the author:
“Katherine White was feeling burned out. The Massachusetts dermatologist runs a private practice at which she oversees a nurse, two medical assistants, two receptionists, and an esthetician. Dr. White’s practice sees about 40 patients per day, which means that she’s on a tight schedule that often has her rushing from one patient to the next. But her staff used to bother her constantly with questions — about billing, about lab reports, about pharmacy refills — and White always felt compelled to stop and fix the problem.”
Eventually, that micromanaging caught up with Dr. White, who nearly missed a skin cancer diagnosis because a patient was forced to languish on a waiting list for months.
So while the article’s click-baity headline is rightfully drawing ire, the article does make one valid point, that “Seven years of medical school doesn’t prepare you to run a business.” In fact, it looks like the article’s original title was far less critical, reading “Doctors need to learn to be better managers to run their practices.” And what do good managers have in common? They delegate…
Increasingly, many physicians and healthcare companies are finding that it’s far more efficient to outsource certain tasks. For instance, it’s virtually impossible for a business to succeed without a virtual presence, but many doctors don’t have the time to spend on things like referral tracking.
If you’re ready to stop micromanaging, then there are two primary ways to free up your time. The first is to hire a digital vendor to take on things like healthcare website design, SEO, or digital marketing. According to Google, at least 77% of Americans will use a search engine before they book an appointment, while 75% judge a company’s credibility based on their website. While a functional website is non-optional, taking on this task yourself is. The less time you spend worrying about the minutiae of healthcare website design, the more time you have to focus on your practice.
The second option is turning to software solutions. For instance, many physicians are now utilizing referral management software. Again, by using medical referral tracking software, physicians can automate time consuming tasks that burden staff with unnecessary work loads. Not only that but healthcare and physician referral tracking software is often more accurate and reliable, reducing human error and other money-wasting mistakes.
Whether you need referral management software or not, the fact is that more doctors are realizing they can no longer do everything themselves. The less time you spend on healthcare website design update, micromanaging, and paperwork, the more time you can give to your patients.