While this may seem to be a no brainer; too many times, employees are left to their own devices in completing their daily assigned tasks. We hire people because we have a need; training gets cut short as the daily routine of the practice pace leaves little room for proper orientation. Or even worse we ask them to read through policy and procedure manuals without making the time to really explain why the practice developed those policies.
Focused and on-going training to encourage employees to higher levels of competency and problem solving skills are rarely taught. Of course the employees need system skills; but too often we only give employees pieces of the puzzle of AR. By not giving employees a thorough knowledge of AR and how the pieces all fit together, we miss the opportunity to allow them to see the importance of their role and how what happens before their specific task and after they finish their specific task meets specific CBO goals.
I recently heard a consultant say that they were working in a large business office and stressing the importance of keeping AR days at a specific target. During a meeting, an employee asked, “what are AR days?” And then several others said, they wanted to ask that too. As managers, we tend to use what we believe are common terms in healthcare business and fail to teach and train employees on what these terms really mean and how their specific jobs relate to organization goals. When employees really understand the “big picture” goals and terms and how what they do contributes to meeting those goals light bulbs begin to go off and you immediately reap the rewards of employees “connecting the dots” of AR.
This of course takes time and effort. But the value of that time spent enables employees to develop critical thinking skills related to their specific jobs. This translates to dollars not “falling through the cracks” because an employee is task orientated instead of verifying that the data they are looking at is valid and complete. Teaching an employee to question a result that is different instead of simply plugging in the number on the paper will increase their value.
Building a staff that is focused on goals, understand their role in meeting those goals and taking pride in their contribution to organizational success will build a team that works together, communicates effectively, is adaptable to change and isn’t afraid of incorporating new business strategies into their routine. This translates to easier change management.
Managers that spend time mentoring employees, teaching AR terms and functionality reap success. Failure to train creates confusion, job boredom, and employee dissatisfaction. Over time, employees should become more competent, cross-trained, and ready to tackle new challenges. The job of managers is not only to be sure goals are met; but that employees have the skills needed to meet them.
This strategy also works if incorporated into clinical staff training as well. Too often there is a front end vs. backend mentality. Neither really understands the value the other brings to the whole practice. Clinical staff does not need to know AR terms per se; but their understanding of some of the details that business staff must have to perform their jobs efficiently may give them a willingness to provide those details more accurately and efficiently.
The whole practice either all win or all lose. The us vs. them mentality fosters the blame game where no one takes responsibility. Shared responsibility, shared accountability comes by a thorough understanding of how each position contributes to the success of the practice.