From the Desk of Paul:

Productivity-Killer #1 - your staff doesn't know the score!

Imagine a sporting event where the scoreboard didn’t work and the players and spectators had no idea at any given point who was winning!  The fact is scores influence behaviors.  When a team knows it is down by a touchdown or a goal and the game is winding down, they play more inspired to score again.  When we, the leaders and managers, fail to set proper expectations for outcomes, key performance metrics and productivity measurements, then employees are left to assume that they are being productive.  Most employees will likely assume that they are being productive and successful because they know they did work each day; however, what if the work they are doing is not the highest priority work to be done?  In a given day, the work that is to be done is all over the “value” spectrum.  Meaning, completing some work types brings more value to the organization than completing other work types.  Employees have to know what the expectations are.  Leaders and managers can help to provide those clear expectations by developing a simple system established key metrics that the employee needs to achieve each day.  Those metrics may not be the same each day and certainly wouldn’t be the same from one employee to the next in different business units or departments.  I would also recommend focusing on “lead measures” (things we can control) over “lag measures” (things that have already occurred, where we can look back and see the metric, but our ability to change the outcome has already passed).

Here are some examples that you might consider:

  • Front Desk staff - Suppose you would like to improve patient satisfaction as an important objective of the practice:
    • ___ number of patient satisfaction surveys completed (lag measure)
    • ___number of patient satisfaction surveys distributed with the request to complete during checkout
  • Billing staff –
    • ___days to pay less than 90 days (lag measure, because you can influence this but you cannot control the entire outcome)
    • ___100% of claims sent out were clean (lead measure)
  • Scheduling staff
    • No empty slots in the schedule for the next ___ weeks

These are just a few suggestions and may not even be the best metrics to help your staff to know the “score”.  However, my hope is that you begin to think about this idea in the context of your own medical practice.  If you can provide each staff member (and maybe providers too!) a number or two that helps them to know if they are being successful, you will immediately see improvements in productivity.  This will also allow you to know who in your practice is notoriously productive and who is not!

Paul Meadows,