The Importance of “Depth” in your Practice

When we look at professional sports teams, there is ONE commonality that exists across the board that is a basic requirement particularly if they are successful.  That is DEPTH.  DEPTH in talented personnel.  There are always the starters however good coaches and managers know that things change, players get hurt, loose focus and get distracted.  There has to be a “back-up” or a “second line” that can continue the MISSION of the team and implement the plan.

Your practice is NO different.  I just had a conversation with a successful doctor who just lost a key staff member due to a family emergency.  That situation is now creating a lot of stress since there is a “hole” in the day to day operations of the office.  Secondly, the person that he will eventually put into that positon has to be trained which is another layer of stress and time away from marketing and treating patients.  Here is my take on this situation AND I SHOULD MENTION THAT I HAVE GONE THROUGH THIS MYSELF as well.  Learn from these situations so that you can stay AHEAD of the game.

 Always be interviewing and collecting resumes

You want to have a “working” file that contains back up players that can be called when you need them to come up out of the minors (sorry for the giant sports analogy).  Cutting down on the time it takes to interview and hire will save you a lot of time.

 Have training manuals for each area of your office

These can be video, printed or on the computer.  They don’t have to be fancy, but the #1 suggestion that I would give you is have your CURRENT STAFF as a part of their postion, outline what they do STEP BY STEP.  That will first, allow them to get better at their positon by creating a particular focus on tasks. Secondly, it will provide you a way to see what they are actually doing!  This manual can then be expanded on, items can be explained and now you have something for the NEW HIRE to read and study.  Having a “play book” (sports again) will be a welcomed asset to a new employee that gets thrown into a busy office.

Cross Train

Each of your employees should be CROSS TRAINED on the other positions.  You clinical person should be able to answer phones, schedule patients, take co-pays and assist new patients with paperwork.  It times of stress (loss of employee, someone is sick) having a “EMERGENCY PLAN” in place to keep the office going is critically important.  We have had time with illness that everyone is doing everything.  Doctors are rooming, clinical people are answering phones or taking co-pays and billing staff is coming down to the front desk.  We have the ability to scramble to ensure our numbers keep going, if we have admin work, it is done after hours.  You can’t accomplish that unless everyone knows a little of everyone else’s job.  That is important. 

Those are the most important aspects of creating depth in staffing in your practice. Remember, CREATE THE MANUALS, CONTINUE INTERVIEWING and CROSS TRAIN.


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