Valuing Your Time as a Physician: Part 1

You only have 24 hours in a day.  Your white coat does not magically give you extra hours in a day.  It is up to you how you use them. Your 24 hours will define who you are, what your practice becomes and what legacy you leave behind.

Time Management For Physicians

When I shadow doctors in their office, physicians feel like they constantly rush around with no time to eat or even use the restroom.  Yet, the amount of time they waste is extraordinary.  This is due to the endless number of tasks that physicians feel they need to perform, however approximately 50-75% of these tasks are not required to be accomplished by the physician.

Start taking back your time.  I challenge you to write out your job description by answering the following three questions:

  1. What services do I provide in my office that require a medical license to perform? (EX: surgery, nerve block injections, diagnosing)
  2. What do I love to do?
  3. Is it worth my time?

Question 1: What Services Require a Medical License?

  • Are you required to type all your notes? NO!
  • Are you required to sign and review your notes? Yes
  • Are you required to do a nerve block injection?  Yes
  • Are you required to remove the ingrown nail? Yes
  • Are you required to draw up the medication, clean the toe, bandage the toe, set up for the procedure, document the procedure, give post-op instructions, review insurance information, take vitals? NO, NO, NO, NO!

Question 2:  What Do I Love to Do?

Do you love drawing smiley faces on bandages?  Does it give you 2 seconds of joy in your day?

If Yes – Do it!

If you could care less, then stop and let your MA do it.

Question 3:  Is it Worth My Time?

Are there things you do that are not truly worth your time?  If there are, stop doing them!

For example, if you have an insurance company that requires you to pre-authorize everything with a peer-to-peer review, it must be the physician; not your biller or MA.  This requires you to take an hour out of your day and slows down the clinic.

The answer is simple, stop accepting that insurance.  It is not worth your time to jump through the hoops they require. Your clinic will not go bankrupt because you stop taking that particular insurance.

In Conclusion:

Train your staff to do those tasks that are not in your job description, do not bring you joy, or is not worth your time.  It will allow you to become more productive in your office.   Stop running around your office doing hundreds of things that are NOT your responsibility.

Make your time matter. Make your staff’s time matter.

Your white coat allows you to make more money per hour, it allows you to heal people, it even allows you to change people's lives, but it will NEVER give you more hours in a day.  Choose what you do wisely.

Next month:  Do I need another medical assistant?

Do you have a question about protocols or practice management?  Submit your question to Holly Burkman, so she can cover it in a future blog post.

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About the Author

Holly Burkman

Holly is a recognized international speaker and author. Working with her husband to build a medical practice from the ground up, she has handled all aspects of the podiatry field from medical assisting to billing and practice management. Currently, she spends her time as a practice management consultant helping physicians learn how to run successful medical practices by implementing protocols. Holly holds numerous degrees and certificates that give her the credibility to help practices; however, it is the years of personal in-office experience that allow her to offer personalized solutions that make practices profitable again.

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