A Common OMS Admin Dilemma Solved:
Why You Need Clear Policies in Place

12/19/2019 | Hiring Employees

man pondering

Guest Contributor: Scott Graham, CEO, OMS Consulting Firm

Being an OMS practice administrator for over 19 years, I am always happy to take phone calls or answer emails from younger colleagues. I enjoy speaking with admins just entering the world of OMS practice management, seeing sage advice. They’ll come at you with a plethora of problems, scenarios, and questions. 

Recently, an interesting practice admin dilemma came to my attention. I thought it might be worth sharing here for any of the other new OMS practice managers and SOMSA members experiencing something similar. (After all, we’re all in this together.)

A Surgical Assistant Predicament

I talked with a practice manager who had a group of surgical assistants who were concerned. They were unsure about when patients be able to leave post surgery. Patients were actually be leaving before feeling fully recovered from their procedures. 

What happened next is not good, as we all know. Patients were beginning to take to the internet, leaving online reviews saying they felt rushed after surgery. The practice also discovered that a few referring dentists had recently forwarded complaints from their patients.

A Communication Breakdown

What happened to the lines of communication here between the surgical staff and the OMS surgeons? How can no one be sure of how long it takes for a patient feel normal again after treatment? What happened here is pretty common. It usually occurs when one or all of these things happen:

  1. There’s staff turnover
  2. There are new hires
  3. There’s no clear policy in place for people to follow
  4. Things were always done a certain way

That’s what happened to this practice. Some staff left requiring an influx of new employees recovering patients after surgery without a full understanding of the discharge criteria. But it’s not all their fault. The office had outdated post-op policies and procedures, few formal checklists, and a shortage of recovery documentation. It’s safe to say they everyone here needed clear guidelines in several areas: 

  • What are the policies and procedures for post-op care? 
  • What documentation is required pre- and post-surgery? 
  • What documentation is required in the patient’s recovery room?

A Simple Solution

Can you identify with this office? It’s struggling due to a few things. People with knowledge and understanding left, without every sharing what they know for the next crew or team. New people struggle due to lack of information or formal training. When you have policies and systems that are up-to-date you create both a historical record and a great training tool.

When everyone on your team is trained the same way and written, clear rules are easily accessible to them, everyone knows what’s expected of them. You can also hold staff more accountable if something is missed or done incorrectly. What’s best about getting organized and everyone on the same page? Patients take notice when offices run smoothly and have a well-trained staff! They appreciate the consistency in the care they receive and will gravitate towards OMS offices who make them feel cared for as a person. They want a practice that gives them confidence they’re in the right hands.

Having documented policies and protocols leads to well-trained, happier staff, which leads to a better workflow, which leads to better patient care, which leads to happier patients. It’s a domino effect. If you’re struggling with a similar situation, reach out to SOMSA or a fellow member. Everyone is here to help in a world where OMS practice managers and administrators are always boss!