No one staff member should ever be indispensable to a practice. All staff members should be
equally trained in their position and then some.
Every staff member should learn certain job tasks and procedures besides their own daily job tasks.
Remember, this is why we developed protocols. There is a certain danger in having some tasks only
learned and performed by one staff member. What if they get sick or take a new job?
Have you ever called a medical office for a referral and been told that the referral coordinator is out on
vacation? What? The daily functions of the office should not stop because one person is gone.
Having an office staff of cross-trained individuals will give your practice the infrastructure is needs
to be able to withstand absent or loss of employees. This also includes certain tasks of management positions.
Although cross-training may result in some short-term loss in productivity as employees learn each
others job tasks it is a small price to pay for the value and benefits it brings in producing a high functioning and efficient staff.
How do you decide what tasks should be cross-trained? Make a list of the daily tasks of each staff
member’s position. Then ask if that person were gone for a day or two what tasks would other staff
members need to know how to do to keep the office functioning as it normally would.
For example: The office has two full-time back office medical assistants that assist the doctor. They
perform patient intakes, vitals, charting, set up for procedures and dispense DME and products.
One day they are both sick, will the office still be able to function normally? Will it appear to the
patients that the office is in chaos?
The office should be able to function normally, although it may be a challenge and some things may
not get done, but overall there should be no noticeable chaos to your patients.
Cross training not only adds to the functionality of the practice when it is short-staff, it adds to the
value of each staff member as they become trained to step in and take over in other areas besides
their normal job tasks.
It is a proven fact that staff members who are cross-trained and can step in and help one another
become more cohesive team players. They adhere to the motto of the Three Musketeers “all for one
and one for all.” And that is a good thing