There is an assumption among doctors in private practice that people working as Practice Managers manage practices. This is not surprising given the job-title, but beyond the descriptor the role of a Practice Manager (PM) is often poorly defined, or worst.
The senior post in a medical practice may be defined by what the PM does rather than what they should be doing. In interviews I conduct for HoxtonMPM I frequently ask candidates what is it that makes them a PM. The responses include: “because that’s the name of my role”; “I have a team of three receptionists”; “I’ve done a Cert III in Management” and “I’ve been in the practice the longest”.
Sadly the point is often missed that the PM is a role that should be the pinnacle of the administration team. Not simply the best task oriented secretary. The person in the Manager role should be responsible for strategic vision, compliance and implementing business thinking to ensure that the practice is operating efficiently. And profitably. That is, they should Manage the practice.
I have seen many examples where this works well, and a vibrant and business oriented relationship between the practitioner and the PM leads to sustained and resilient success. However, the majority of practices I come across do not make the most of the role of Practice Manager. The elephant in those rooms is that no one is taking responsibility for the business: the practitioner lacks the business knowledge and the “PM” is unskilled, unprepared or un-resourced.
Are you getting the most out of your Practice Manager?
3 questions to ask:
- Does your PM prepare monthly reports that summarize your business activity?
- Can your PM outline the processes in place to meet obligations for OH&S, Workcover, APP and FairWork Australia?
- What are the KPIs that you have set for the PM?
Is your Practice Manager a ‘task-oriented’ secretary in disguise?
3 questions to ask:
- Does the role have a position description that outlines management deliverables (e.g. reporting requirements, strategic changes)?
- Has your PM undertaken any formal study, peer training or skills courses in practice management?
- Is your PM financially literate, and able to clearly outline the state of the practice finances on request (e.g. expenses, debtors, un-submitted accounts, employee entitlements) ?