The Power of Delegating: Improving Practice Efficiency

DelegatingObviously, performing the duties of a physician is what a physician does best. So why is it that physicians often spend valuable time taking care of financial, recordkeeping or other functions unrelated to their medical responsibilities? Delegating is hard. But from a business perspective, spending too much time on nonmedical concerns can reduce profits in the long run.

6 tips to consider

Being a leader in service to other people requires giving control, not taking control. Here are six quick tips for delegating:

  1. Ask why you’re not delegating a particular task and make sure your reasons are good ones.
  2. Choose the right person. (Not everybody is suitable for every job.)
  3. Avoid vagueness and clarify the job’s mission as completely and as accurately as possible — including your reasons for wanting the task done in a specific way.
  4. Note the difference between micromanaging and managing, and stay open to the possibility your staffers might have a better way of doing things.
  5. Communicate quality and quantity expectations so that staff understand the task’s parameters.
  6. Praise staff members when they’ve done a good job and tell them specifically what pleases you about their work.

Don’t be surprised if delegating doesn’t go perfectly right away. Be prepared to switch around assignments to find the best fit.

Smart safeguards

It’s possible to trust your staff and still install safeguards so you know where your practice’s money is going. Who makes the deposits? How is it monitored? Who has access? Who reconciles the bank account?

It’s a good idea to meet regularly with your accountant to review monthly financial statements. Hold weekly meetings with your business office manager and practice manager, too, so everyone is on the same page.

Give and take

In nonfinancial areas, evaluate whether you can delegate. Some duties can’t be delegated because of legal and medical issues — but most can be. It’s important to assign jobs that can be quickly taught and that you’re comfortable giving up. After you’re satisfied with how those jobs are being done, move on to bigger things. Your CPA can assist you in determining what and how to delegate.

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