Thursday, 31 May 2012
Bonnie Sears

Keep Your Practice Running Smoothly with Policies and Procedures

Written by  Bonnie Sears

There's no such thing as a typical day in a healthcare practice, so your staff may often have questions about how to handle a particular situation. But what happens when you can't physically be at the office to oversee your staff and assist as they make decisions that can be crucial to your business?

Communication is the true key to the seamless running of an office, and there's no better way to communicate the way you'd like the practice to operate than by outlining your wishes in a policies and procedures document, also known as a P&P. It can go a long way toward ensuring that the quality of your staff's work remains constant, whether you're at the office or not.

Taking the time to write your policies and procedures down can seem like a daunting task, but it can be easier than you might think. You can save a lot of time by opting to work off a template or by purchasing software specifically tailored toward writing policies and procedures. This makes it simple to create a professional look for your document and will ensure that you include all of the appropriate headings and sections for the processes you need to detail.

For each process you want to standardize, you can start by creating a section called “purpose,” which explains the goal of that policy or procedure, and then explain in detail the policy or procedure. Be sure to write as clearly as possible to ensure that all descriptions will be foolproof.

Be thorough, and make sure to include guidelines even for the tasks and scenarios that don't come up as frequently. You don't want there to be any confusion within your staff when it comes time to put these policies into use during a real workday. The more descriptive you are, the less likely it is that a staff member will need to turn to you for guidance during the workday. You'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that everything at the office is running smoothly and correctly -- even if you're not physically there.

If your policies and procedures document includes a section on accounting or another financial topic, consider having a certified accountant review the document before printing to ensure that the correct internal controls have been put in place. You don't want the same person who keeps the books to be signing the checks, for example. It's also a good idea to update your P&P document yearly to reflect any new practices or modified procedures that have come up since the document was created.

Any business can benefit from having its policies and procedures clearly laid out in written form, but the benefits are even greater at a healthcare practice, where a mistake or staff misjudgment can cost an incredible amount of wasted time and money. Creating a solid P&P document will not only alleviate this waste, but will also provide a solid framework to guide your staff members in doing their jobs more effectively.




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