How to Determine Physician Office Staffing Needs

Physician's Office Staffing Needs


The first step in staffing a physician's office is determining the type of staff needed to provide patient care. This can be accomplished by utilizing health care and office professionals. Make a list of each service offered to patients at the physician's office. Health care professionals capable of providing the desired services should be hired to assist the doctor with patient assessment, care and treatment. Specific services such as physical therapy, radiology or mental health requires health care professionals who are trained and licensed in these specific specialties. Obtaining vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature), drawing blood samples and recording a patient's medical history can be performed by health care professionals trained in generalized medicine such as a medical assistant or nurse.


Utilize office professionals. Administrative assistants, billing specialists, office managers or medical secretaries are office professionals who provide the clerical duties needed to keep the office running smoothly. Office professionals are needed to answer phones, keep schedules, file medical records and bill patients and insurance companies. An office professional will manage the front desk and greet patients, sign patients in when they arrive for their appointment and pull patients medical charts. They can be responsible for keeping, updating and maintaining the doctor's schedule. They make changes and adjustments when necessary to keep the office organized and efficient. Hiring office professionals to run the office part of the physician's practice allows the medical professionals to focus on patient care and treatment.


Determine the amount of staff needed. To determine the amount of staff needed one must consider the number of patients seen in the physician's office on a daily basis. Having several employees who do the same job allows multiple patients to be seen at once. If there are six patient exam rooms in the office than six patients can be taken back at once. Hiring three medical assistants means that half the patients placed in the exam rooms can be seen simultaneously. Assessing patients (vital signs, history, chief complaint that brought them to the office) and pulling their medical charts prior to the doctor entering the exam room allows the physician to spend more time with the patients answering questions and providing quality care. These tasks can be done by the medical assistants and office staff. This will reduce patient waiting time and allows the doctor to see more patients per day.


Provide equipment and supplies. For the physician's office to run more efficiently, each staff member must be able to perform their duties in a timely manner. Proper equipment and supplies provided to employees helps them perform their job properly and more quickly. Office personnel should be equipped with a computer which has the desired programs allowing them to keep an up-to-date schedule, billing and patient information, an address book and other programs that may help the front office stay organized.

Medical supplies needed to perform patient assessments and treatments, such as a blood pressure cuff, thermometer, disinfecting cleansers and treatment supplies, should be kept in stock and available to the medical staff for use when needed. Stocking exam rooms with the supplies necessary to perform patient care reduces the amount of time spent preparing the patient for the doctor and helps the physician's office be more productive.


Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure all medical professionals have current licenses to practice prior to employment
  • Staffing a physician's office with the best employees and equipment can prove difficult at times. Keeping in mind certain considerations can help the make this process easier. A physician's office manager's main job is to make sure the office runs efficiently while providing quality care for patients. Determining the type and amount of staff will allow the office manager to hire the right employees to perform the jobs needed to keep the office running smoothly. Providing employees with the equipment and supplies needed to perform their job will allow them to provide patients with the best possible care in a timely manner.