When Was the Last Time You Updated Your Job Descriptions?

June 19, 2019

Job position descriptions are essential hiring, management, and staff accountability tools. If you have developed position descriptions for each role in the practice, good work.
These documents are not ‘one and done.’ Changes in automation technology or the EHR, practice management software updates, organizational growth, and other practice evolutions require that each and every position and task be reviewed and evaluated annually, as well as prior to recruiting a new employee for any vacated position. Just because an employee is leaving the organization does not mean the position needs to be filled as it was.
Here are some best practices for updating the practice’s position descriptions:

1. Shore up the Position Summary.

This section provides a high level overview of the role and includes title, reporting structure, and a summary of the position. Review your job descriptions with the following in mind:
Position Title. Create a title that most accurately describes the position and dignifies the role in the organization. Titles that include secretary or clerk are outdated. Instead use terms such as surgery/financial counselor, patient services coordinator, or team lead.
Responsible to. List the title(s) of the position(s) to whom the role reports.
Position Summary. One or two sentences describing and summarizing the focus of the position. This assists in confirming that assigned tasks are in alignment with the position focus rather than diminishing the employee’s ability to succeed in the position.

2. Make sure the education, licensing, or certification requirements sections reflect current needs.

Each position should include a bulleted list of the requirements for the role. Be specific, and list verifiable degrees and certifications such as:
– High school diploma
– Bachelor’s Degree
– Certified Medical Assistant
– Licensed, Registered Nurse
– Certified Coder

3. Review the qualifications and experience necessary to do the job.

Again, use a bulleted format and list specific qualifications, skills, and experience. Some examples:
– 4-5 years in medical office or service-based position, with increasing responsibilities
– At least 2 years’ experience supervising the workloads and performance of others
– Type 40 WPM
– Proficient in a recognized EMR/PMS system, ______ preferred
– Able to communicate effectively in writing
– Experience with service recovery and customer service

4. Ask each employee to review and update the responsibilities in their position description:

Staff know best what they do on a daily basis. Ask them to review and update their position description, and deliver it using the following format. This provides the most current and accurate picture of who is doing what in the practice.
Responsibilities and tasks include but are not limited to:
– List/describe each task/responsibility succinctly but specifically – for instance:
> Analyzes the A/R report and delivers a monthly status update and action plan to the physicians
> Prepares pre-surgical cost estimates and discusses with each patient recommended for surgery
– Begin each point with a verb.
– Use sub-headings to group tasks in various areas of the role.
– List no more than 15 tasks in each area.

5. Include standard working conditions and expectations.

These provide employees and job candidates with a realistic description of the working conditions and are specific to each position. Some examples for various positions:
– Normal office environment. Occasional evening or weekend work.
– Frequent exposure to communicable diseases, toxic substances, ionizing radiation, medicinal preparations, and other conditions common to a clinical environment.

6. Make sure your position descriptions include these things.

To provide managerial flexibility, these three statements should appear in each job description, at the end of the “responsibilities.”
– Attends regular organizational meetings as requested.
– Attends continuing education sessions as requested.
– Performs additional duties as requested by _____ (title of supervisor and other leader(s) _____.
And to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, be sure to state each position’s physical requirements. An example might be: Position requires full range of body motion including handling and lifting patients, manual and finger dexterity, and eye-hand coordination. Involves standing and walking.
Ask your attorney approve ADA statements before you finalize position descriptions.

 

Author - Karen Zupko, President
An internationally recognized thought leader and speaker, Karen Zupko advises physicians and healthcare managers about the challenges and trends impacting the practice of medicine. Click here for more info about the author. 

 

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