One of the biggest challenges in managing a sleep center is offering the best patient care, while ensuring that costs are low and your staff is happy. No matter how difficult it seems, it is essential that you put in the required efforts to ensure excellent patient care if you want to grow your practice. Here are a few ways to improve efficiency and productivity of your staff, and improve the patient care provided at your sleep center.
For several reasons, even a highly talented sleep technician or sleep lab specialist may fail to deliver 100% of his or her potential all the time. A lot of times, lack of resources and skills that are required for the job is the cause for underperformance of sleep center staff. So the first step to improve your sleep center services is to ensure that your staff is updated and aware of the latest technologies and developments in the field of sleep medicine.
Training your employees to use the latest equipment and sleep study processes is important. One way to train your sleep center staff is to seek help of experts in the field, or have a subject matter expert (SME) within the facility. The role of the SME would include staying updated and training the remaining staff on them. Care should also be taken to ensure that your sleep center staff is properly skilled and equipped to tackle the new processes or equipment in the right way.
Another way to keep your sleep center staff updated with the latest developments is through staff meetings. When you are pressed for time, attending to patients and conducting sleep studies, long training sessions may not be very practical. In such cases, quick huddles or staff meetings are the best way to update your staff on any changes to ensure compliance of the processes.
No matter how skilled or knowledgeable the staff is, they won't be able to perform optimally unless they are motivated. And if you want to ensure excellent services at your sleep center, you need work on developing a positive work environment that can encourage your employees to give in their best.
Sleep center professionals often have to work in long shifts, especially during nights. Scheduling of these shifts should be done in such a way that all the employees are fairly and reasonably scheduled for these odd-hour shifts. This means, no employee should be singled out for a particular shift, and should not be made to work more than the accepted number of hours during the week.
The workload that your employees get should also be reasonable. Depending on the category of patients you cater to - adults, children or seniors with medical conditions - you need to decide on a suitable staff-to-patient ratio. For example, when catering to children and infants, it is best to have a single doctor assigned to a single patient. Compromising a little on productivity, improve the quality of patient care at the facility, is at times necessary.
Sleep center managers and supervisors should ensure that the channels of communications are open for their employees. In addition to providing feedback, management should also encourage employees to come up with feedback, suggestions and ideas for improving the management and patient care at the facility.
Lack of recognition is one of the reasons for employee underperformance. To make sure that you retain good and performing employees, it is important to review their performance and offer incentives from time to time.
Celebrating employee birthdays and having social events at the facility is another way to maintain a positive working environment.
One of the most important things for offering better patient care is to ensure that your staff is prepared to deal with different kinds of patients and a variety of situations. Along with the knowledge of equipment and the sleep study processes, your employees should also know how to handle emergencies, patients with special medical conditions and difficult patients.
Children and infants, and senior patients with sleeping disorders and other respiratory problems or medical conditions may also need medical supervision. In such a case, it is best to have a medical professional within the facility, and have your sleep specialist equipped with skills and knowledge of how to handle such emergencies.
Children and older patients with medical conditions like Alzheimer's usually fall into the category of difficult patients. To keep the patients and the staff safe from the unpredictable behavior of difficult patients, having a process in place is important. For example, you can have security personnel in place and have them keep vigil on such patients and the staff attending to them. Providing case studies to the sleep specialists and attendants, about different types of patients can also be helpful.