Article Date: 3/1/2013

Staffing by the Numbers
staffing

Staffing by the Numbers

Use these calculations to determine your ideal number of staff members.

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REBECCA L. JOHNSON, CPOT, COT, COE

What do you do when your accountant tells you that your payroll should be decreased, while your employees say they cannot get everything done and need help? You need to figure out whether you have too many or too few staff.

To get a rough idea, use the benchmarks provided below.

Gross revenue per staff hour

To determine gross revenue per staff hour, divide the gross revenue for a minimum of three months by the total number of staff hours worked during the same time period. (See “Gross Revenue Per Staff Hour Example,” below.) Keep in mind that the numbers need to be calculated for minimum of three months to determine a trend.1

This ratio may range from $52 to $147 per hour. As a general rule if the ratio is below $75, then you are likely overstaffed, or the staff is not productive enough. If the number is greater than $100, you may want to start looking for more help to avoid staff burnout.

Staff hours per doctor hours

Divide the total staff hours over the total doctor hours to determine how many staff members each provider needs to be effective. This ratio should involve all staff members except for lab employees. If staff is split between multiple providers, divide their hours accordingly. If productivity increases and the ratio stays the same, then the collections per staff hour should also go up. If the productivity goes up while the staff hour per doctor hour ratio does as well, then you only increased overhead.

Gross Revenue Per Staff Hour Example
(3 month period)

4 full-time employees work 160 hours/month 160 × 4 = 640 total hours/month 640 hours × 3 months = 1,920 full-time hours

1 part-time employee works 20 hours/week or 80 hours/month. 80 hours/month × 3 months = 240 part-time hours

1,920 + 240 = 2,160 paid employee hours

Practice gross revenue for 3 months = $200,000. $200,000/2,160 = $92.59 Revenue/staff hour

Additional factors

Keep in mind that cutting staff can sometimes also cut revenue and that better-performing practices tend to have more staff than the norm, not fewer. If hiring an additional technician allows you to significantly increase the number of patients per day, the extra revenue would more than pay for the added staff.

If you have a large number of patients walking out the door with prescriptions because the optician is tied up with another patient, consider hiring another optician. If the accounts receivable is high because the biller has additional responsibilities, consider a part-time person to take on some of the biller’s responsibilities so that she can concentrate on collecting the money that you have already earned.

Profitability

The real question is how many staff members are needed to generate the most possible revenue without creating turnover from burnout. Using the calculations above helps you determine this number. OM

1. Management & Business Academy for Eye Care Professionals. Key Metrics: Assessing Optometric Practice Performance. http://www.mba-ce.com/data/site/1/paa_keymetrics_2012_lr.pdf (Accessed February 6, 2013).

REBECCA JOHNSON IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF EYETRAIN4YOU, AN OPHTHALMIC STAFF COACHING AND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY. E-MAIL HER AT REBECCA@EYETRAIN4YOU.COM, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.



Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: March 2013, page(s): 42