All practices share a basic need for infrastructure and governance, because this has direct implications on success. Regardless of the type of practice or location, there should be processes in place to monitor the execution of the entire business operation. Although not everyone in the practice will need to be proficient in this area, it’s important for physician managers and practice administrators to be held accountable as leaders.
Explore this issueAugust 2015
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What is organizational governance in a medical practice? Organizational governance in a medical practice consists of developing long-term strategies and a strategic direction of the practice. This involves the ability to simplify the legal structure, enhance the policies and procedures, as well as define the culture of the organization.
This should be an integral part of a practice’s plan for development and growth. Having a functioning governance system will allow a practice to be able to effectively deal with important issues that drive performance, in areas such as how to grow the practice, what new services to offer, or even how to develop affiliation partners. Although several or most decisions are made by the physician, creating an organizational dynamic that fosters group development can make a difference in the culture and success of a practice.
Practices need an administrative position to handle the day-to-day management, which includes work assignments for staff, as well as other billing and business issues. Depending on the size of a practice and its operational needs, creating a committee or group to review the governance structure and process can foster a turning point in any organization. This group will have the privilege of reviewing the key interests of the practice, focusing on the vision of the organization, creating consensus and building credibility for their recommendations. It is important for this group to have a transparent process as it works on the main issues that are important to address in the practice.
A review of governance structure and processes presents an important potential turning point for a practice. It is crucial for an effective governance structure to promote physician engagement in the process. This structure also provides leadership with the necessary tools to guide the practice through difficult decisions and choices that may not be popular among everyone. Ongoing communication with staff is critical to building the needed relationships so they understand the framework that is ahead. Physician leaders and management should be visible and approachable. Staff usually have valuable perspectives and ideas, and although they are not a part of the final decision-making process, they should always feel valued. Management of a practice goes well beyond making staff schedules, determining duty assignments and granting time off. Practices should have established means to ensure that interpersonal relationships among colleagues are valued.
Practices should have established means to ensure that interpersonal relationships among colleagues are valued.
The importance of governance should be evident because the structure and processes for governance set the tone, internally and externally, and this is how the practice is perceived and how it operates. The approach to governance demonstrates how the practice leaders exercise their authority to provide direction and oversight to the staff and to be involved with what is being done.