Doctors must prioritize the patient above all else, which occasionally creates a conflict of interest when it comes to running the business side of their practice. Consequently, many doctors don’t always make the best businessmen. Between dealing with constantly fluctuating insurance regulations, scheduling conflicts and authorization/claims management, doctors often find themselves spread quite thin. Even highly educated individuals disciplined enough to dedicate their lives to pursuing and achieving a postgraduate degree aren’t exempt from being subjected to Maslow’s unforgiving hierarchy of needs. In fact, medical professionals are affected by it more than other individuals due to the nature of their work and the way the medical industry operates. While not the only variables; adequate rest and downtime share a significant and direct correlation with physical and psychological health. It is for this reason that practice management and support staff both play a decisive role in the medical professional’s work-life balance, and overall financial success.
Depending on the size and multitude of the practices, strong benefits may be realized by finding and utilizing a capable Executive Director or Office Manager. A qualified manager or director can run the practice full time; removing any duality from the doctor’s functions, and allowing each individual to focus on their field of specialty. Executive Directors are particularly beneficial for multiple practices or clinics; in the case of a smaller practice, an Office Manager would fill the role. It is therefore intuitive that the quality of the director or office manager is a major contributing factor to the overall success of the practice. One of the common elements shared among flourishing practices is the concept of the doctor having the time and resources to be a doctor. The foundation of this concept begins at an efficient division of labor.
The annual salary for office managers can average from 70k-90k, and their employment growth from 2010-2020 is predicted to be +22% due to the overall growth of the medical industry. Regardless of whether the practice size validates the employment of a full-time office manager, doctors must seek an effective solution in finding capable employees for their practice without incurring losses to their productivity or cutting hours out of the little personal time they have available. Great care must be taken when delegating the task of hiring to an internal employee who lacks the expertise of a hiring manager. If an error is made at any point, it entails the loss of productivity of the person doing the hiring, the costs of training a hire who may not stay for long, and the overall drain an incompatible hire creates on a business.
Finding competent employees can make the difference in influencing the medical professional’s life satisfaction and the success of their practice. Yet finding employees truly compatible with a practice costs time and resources which the majority of doctors simply do not have to spare. Most analyses of an employee’s potential are entirely based on previous work history; allowing candidates with ample experience to bump up their salary expectations. Experience on paper is neither a guarantee of productivity nor an excuse to hire someone at double the salary. Though many are unaware of this; employers now have the flexibility to hire exceptional workers at an average salary, simply by utilizing aptitude and personality testing in their candidate selection process.
Ilan Cohen, MD
Founding President of