Email Management for Medical Offices
Medical offices run on great staff, management, and organization. To keep day-to-day tasks functioning smoothly and patients care for and happy, a practice needs to have organization in every facet – from patient scheduling to filing, phone calls, and email management.
Medical office email management is not far removed from personal email management. You need to set up a system that allows you to resolve, store away, and access old files easily. Here are the six basic steps to good email management:
- Create Folders – The first step to email management for any medical practice is to create basic folders and subfolders. A few of the main ones might include “Current Patients,” “Past Patients,” “Employees,” “Educational Opportunities for Staff,” “Outside Requests/Proposals” (usually forwarded to the Medical Office Manager). Under each patient folder, there could be further “Billing and Collection,” “Health Questions,” “Insurance Claims,” and “Appointments/Requests,” each of which could include both resolved and unresolved. But keep in mind that too many folders might slow the system down, depending on the email provider. So avoid making a folder for every individual patient, case, employee, etc.
- Create Filters – Most email providers allow some kind of filter creation that funnels emails from the inbox directly into appropriate folders. You may choose not to resolve emails this way, as some could fall through the cracks. But it might simplify things to funnel all known patient emails into a general “Patient To-Dos” folder that will house them until they can be resolved. Likewise, it might simplify email management to funnel all known spam sources directly into the trash.
- “Orphan” Email Organization –
- Delete spammers and unknown senders. Jibberish in titles and email address bars are a dead giveaway that the email is garbage.
- Starting from the oldest email, open and read the content. Decide if it is a one-time task (a prospective patient with questions, etc.) or if it will be a repeat correspondent.
- Create new filters for repeat correspondents, common questions, or emails that need to be seen by the office manager or a medical staff member.
- Leave one-time tasks in the inbox until completed. Then file into a “miscellaneous” folder.
- Prioritize with Color – Color-code the emails with the highest to lowest priority in a way that makes sense and is known to all of the staff members who will be practicing email management. Generally, the more simple color scheme the better. (EX: Red = today, Yellow = this week, Green = when time permits)
- Empty Trash – Each day, it is a good practice in email management to scan through the items that have landed in the trash folder, especially if you have filters set up that send mail directly there. Once scanned, feel free to empty the trash folder. This will enable faster email navigation and clutter reduction.
- Clear Inbox by End of Day – Emails can easily pile up to a level that is difficult to resolve. Don’t let that happen in the email management of your practice! Set a habit of clearing the inbox out by the end of the day, either by deleting, sorting, or resolving the contents.
An organized email management system in a medical practice can ultimately lead to a reduction of paper filing and time lost by mailing or calling patients about results. That’s not to say that the patients in many instances should not have one-on-one consultation. Rather, email management produces an effective method to communicate the initial results of lab or x-ray results to patients who can then seek further guidance with the results in hand.
Email management may also been simplified by outsourcing your medical billing and follow-up needs to a trusted third party such as Billing Advantage. If you have questions or need other practice management consultation, contact Billing Advantage today.