The start of a new year is a time for many of us to look at our visions for the upcoming year and identify what we can change or improve, both in our personal lives and in our careers. Setting these goals at the start of the year can keep you on track with the big picture and really make you feel like you contributed something meaningful when you look back at the end of the year.
Where do you start? Your goals should be meaningful both to you and to your organization. Once you have chosen your goals, make sure that they are front and center so that you aren’t revisiting these same thoughts at this time next year. Writing them down and placing them somewhere you will see on a daily basis helps, as well as setting aside a regular time on your calendar to check in on your progress. Break big goals down into smaller pieces to make them more manageable. Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking about the upcoming year and where you can focus your efforts:
These can be easy to neglect over the years, but proper maintenance and review will help to ensure that your department runs smoothly.
Who will replace you if you decide to retire tomorrow? These are questions that may take time to answer or change over time as your team evolves, but they are critical to the long-term success of your department. Begin to include team members on projects or work that they may not have a direct hand in, but that could be a valuable learning experience for them. Talk with your team about career paths and growth and how they see themselves fitting into your organization in the future.
While many organizations have at least begun this, very few are fully paperless, and while an online application is certainly a great start, there are many more opportunities here. If you are currently carting around stacks of paper files to your committees, it may be a good time to consider an electronic review and approval process. Are there verifications you’re faxing that could be sent electronically instead? Are you conducting your audits directly in your software? Is creating your payer rosters a manual process each month? Try to consider your daily work with fresh eyes and identify opportunities to streamline, automate, and go electronic.
This information can help you evaluate what in your department is working and what is not as you make changes in your processes and see your metrics change. It can also provide valuable information to your leadership about the services that your department provides and help to establish reasonable expectations. Breaking down your metrics into very specific components, such as average turnaround time for peer reference verifications or how long it takes a provider to submit a complete application, can also help you consider process changes that may help you to reduce your turnaround times. If your peer reference verifications are usually taking three weeks to come back on, might it be time to consider an electronic tool to allow providers to complete references quickly and easily on the go?
Too many organizations operate in silos where many different groups are asking providers for the same information. Take the time to meet and build relationships with these other departments. You may be able to come up with solutions that allow you to easily share information.
When you pull a report, do you have to consistently go back to clean things up? Do you have standards outlined for everyone who touches your system? Get any issues identified now so that you can prioritize cleanup that needs to happen, and establish processes to prevent these issues from reoccurring in the future.