You've heard the phrase, "communication is key" many times – but there is something very true about that statement, especially if you want to make sure that your staff is staying happy and productive with their medical billing and coding tasks.

We all want to hear that we're doing a great job, but not everyone is good at communicating these things to their staff. This can impede your business in two ways: Bad staff morale can reflect poorly to your patients, and your staff won't have the ambition to continue to do a good job. While this principle can work for just about any field or profession, the case is definitely true in the medical billing industry.

Letting your staff know you appreciate their hard work
Bob Levoy, a respected seminar speaker on human resource and management, recently wrote about this topic in Physicians Practice. He stated that when he asked 2,500 doctors to answer the following statement, "I let my employees know when they're doing a good job," then rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 5 based on how often they praised their employees, the average response score was a 4.4. However, when Levoy posed the statement, "The doctor lets me know when I'm doing a good job" to medical staff while using the same scale, the total average was a 1.7.

Levoy explained that for many doctors, there is a major communication gap between physicians and employees, especially in regards to feeling appreciated at work. Many staff members might only hear negative feedback when they make a mistake, then never receive positive feedback when they do something great for the practice. Although as a physician you might be perfectly happy with your staff, your employees may not know that you feel this way.

High morale leads to better medical practice
It's understandable that this communication gap exists. The health care industry is a stressful and fast-paced job that requires a lot of energy. Doctors usually prefer to work autonomously, which isn't typically conducive to team building. However, if you are in an operating room or medical facility, you want to know that your staff is rested, productive and well-adjusted to their role. This helps with everything from patient satisfaction to error reduction to more efficient medical billing services.

The National Institutes of Health states that better communication not only directly contributes to high-performing employees, it can also increase family and patient satisfaction, give your practice better information flow and improve the safety of your office.

So, how do you get started? The NIH recommends that doctors understand the typical barriers for interprofessional communication. Here are a few to keep on your radar so that your office is more in-tune with each other and promotes positivity:

  • Differences in personality
  • Interprofessional and intraprofessional rivalries
  • Hierarchical structures with payment and rewards
  • Differences in values, expectations, culture, ethnicity, gender, language and jargon
  • Schedules and routines

It can be tough for some doctors to learn how to communicate with their staff, but it's important that you are counseling your practice through every step of the health care billing services procedure. Keep in mind that making errors will happen and employees should be aware of these mistakes. However, your practice works hard and should be acknowledged and rewarded for the many times that they have done excellent work in their field as well. Creating an environment that enhances teamwork is always better for any practice if they want to meet long-term goals.