9 Key Areas Every Great Practice Manager Needs to Master

What you need to know as a Practice Manager

Healthcare practice management is an aspiring career that promises immense rewards and satisfaction. Like any career, success as a practice manager involves mastering a few key areas as expanded below.

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How to be a good practice manager

A practice manager may be known as the CEO, business manager, executive director, director, or another title. The Australian Association of Practice Management states that overall, a practice manager must contribute to ‘excellence in healthcare.’ An attitude of constant improvement and lifelong learning is essential.

A good practice manager will successfully focus on both staff and clients. They will contribute to increasing the quality of a workplace for staff and be inspired to create a practice where clients have the best chance for increased quality of life. A healthcare practice is a dynamic environment where each day brings new challenges and opportunities to serve. A good practice manager is a leader who will master a range of generalised skills and be able to apply them in a health-focused business.

We’ve found the nine key areas that a good practice manager needs to master to bring excellence to their healthcare practice.

1. Strategic planning as a practice manager

Plan for future business direction and allocate resources to achieving the plan, including regular review and adjustment.

2. Governance in practice management

Knowledge of structures and systems that support the right decision-making, accreditations and certifications, change management, and leadership, including relationships with stakeholders.

3. Risk management for practice managers

A thorough understanding and awareness of risk applied to financial, legal, human resource, security (people, data, property, and equipment), infection control, and physical and clinical incidents. Risk overlays all areas of a practice, and a great practice manager will be able to identify and prioritise risk, maintain compliance and insurance, settle grievances (internal and external), conduct audits, and negotiate and maintain contracts.

4. Financial management for practice managers

Proficient financial literacy in budgeting, cash flow, accounting systems, reporting, inventory, compliance, contracts, superannuation, tax, and filing.

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5. Human resources in practice management

Covers a wide range of skills normally utilised by experienced HR professionals, from big-picture organisational leadership and culture, to employment and labour law compliance. This also covers recruitment, training, assessment, and rewarding employees.

6. Marketing as a practice manager

Manage a marketing plan that includes areas for public relations, customer relating and satisfaction, advertising and brand awareness.

7. Information management for practice managers

Ability to assess, use, and maintain information technology to efficiently contribute to the excellence of the practice in areas such as database management, security systems, accounting, team collaboration, and operations.

8. Clinical operations within practice management

An understanding that the clinic is a business that needs to maximise productivity and profit while servicing the needs of clients. A practice manager will often need to educate practitioners in good business management, develop quality assurance programs, establish clinical support services, manage licenses as well as manage general inventory, suppliers, staffing and communication systems.

9. Professional responsibility as a practice manager

A legal and moral commitment to hold ethical standards in behaviour and decision-making, including continuing professional development, enhanced interpersonal and leadership skills, and professional networking.

Why healthcare practitioners rely on a great practice manager

Practitioners are most often focused on increasing their skill set and knowledge in their chosen healthcare profession. They rely on a great practice manager to be an effective decision-maker and the key driver in making improvements to the healthcare practice. The practice owner will value a manager who has worked to achieve the necessary practice management diploma and is passionate about making a difference to staff and clients.

In some circumstances, the practitioner may want to enhance their skills in practice management, take on the role, or job-share the role across the health practice. In that case, an online diploma in practice management will allow practitioners the flexibility and confidence to achieve study around their work and family commitments.