Your practice is finally where your dreamed it would be, way back when you first started it. A loyal base of regular patients, an excellent reputation and a great team of doctors providing outstanding patient care.
Things are going so well you can even afford a Practice Manager - and it turns out, they're fantastic too! They take care of everything. Suppliers, accounts, administration, IT, staffing - all the things that used to distract you from focussing on patients and developing your junior doctors. You rely on them for everything.
And then one day they're gone...
It doesn't matter why. All that matters is that the practice that used to run like a formula one racer, is now spluttering like a clapped out old Commodore. What do you do?
The reality is, it's always hard to replace a good Practice Manager - that's why they're so valuable. But there are ways to ensure your practice is able to keep functioning if you suddenly lose the one person you rely on for everything. And the first part of that is don't rely on one person for everything!
Few practices have the resources to employ a Deputy Practice Manager, but you can ensure that as many essential tasks as possible are covered by at least two people. When discussing practice procedures with your Practice Manager, insist that at least one other person has a thorough understanding of all their essential responsibilities. You can't clone your Practice Manager, but you can ensure backup for all the things that keep your practice running.
A good Practice Manager will be able to document the key elements of their role. This isn't just important if they suddenly decide to backpack through South America for 12 months if your Practice Manager has a serious illness or needs to deal with a family emergency, it's important that other staff have an easy-to-understand guide that allows them to pick up the ball. And that means it's also important to
It's not out of line to insist there's a specific plan in place to deal with the absence of your Practice Manager in fact, it's just good business. Your Practice Manager should be able to produce a strategy to deal with their temporary absence and even facilitate a smooth handover to a new person in the role. It's also critical that this strategy isn't just something they've discussed with you it's needs to be documented in explicit detail.
Good practice management software isn't cheap, but it's a vital investment. If your Practice Manager is suddenly out of action, the right software can help smooth the transition to a new staffing set up. A good software program will maintain patient records, billings and receipting, and will be very intuitive for new users.
A good Practice Manager can help take your business to the next level. And when you find that special person it's natural to entrust them with the essentials of running of your practice. But it's critical that you always plan for the worst-case scenario and that means ensuring that no one in your practice is irreplaceable.
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