AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 36

RUNNING THE PRACTICE // ADVANCED ADMINISTRATION

"

Financial and
psychological
setbacks,
including
stress,
burnout, and
absenteeism,
were the
unfortunate
first-quarter
surprises in
most private
or group
ophthalmology
practices.

36

including those in the healthcare industry. With clinics
closing (except for emergency office visit or surgery),
practice administrators, clinic managers, and billing
managers began to work from home. Table 1 compares
the percentage of remote work during the shutdown to
the percentage after re-opening.
An unexpected finding of working remotely was
increased efficiency. For example, one practice administrator stated, " I get several things done in record time.
My productivity has increased without constant interruptions. When I go to the office one day a week, I can
be totally focused on the staff. " Could a trend of 3-2-2
(three remote days, two in-the-office days, and two days
off) workweek become a common practice for those
who don't really need to be at the office five days a week?
When research participants were asked " What is
one thing you would want to be better in the clinic? "
half of them included " absenteeism " or " turnover "
in their responses. (Some mentioned, however, that
absenteeism was a challenge before the pandemic.)
Responses also included mentions of stress levels,
interdepartmental conflict, finances, and the need for
patients to feel safe. 
Eighty-five percent of participants said the
pandemic was a " somewhat influential " or " very
influential " factor impacting absenteeism in their
practice. Several factors were responsible: staying
home to school and care for children during virtual
school and daycare shutdowns, contracting COVID19, having to quarantine because of exposure to
COVID-19, and taking mental health days to deal
with stress and depression.

Table 1. Remote work during shutdown
and after reopening
Remote Work

During Shutdown

After
Re-Opening

Doctor

33%

0%

Practice
Administrator

67%

40%

Clinical Lead

17%

0%

Billing Manager

33%

40%

Billing Staff

33%

40%

AE // May/June 21

Table 2. Stress levels
Rating the Level
of Stress

Mild 

Moderate

Severe

Respondents'
rating of the
level of personal
job stress

17%

33%

50%

83%

17%

Respondents'
rating of the
level of job stress
of staff

PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT
The stress and anxiety of having to deal with a
new disease overwhelmed many, and isolation and
social distancing created strong emotions of worry
and loneliness. A KFF Tracking Poll² conducted in
mid-July found 53% of adults in the United States
reported the pandemic negatively impacted their
mental health with worry and stress. The percentage was a significant increase from 32% reported in
March. Table 2 indicates the rate of stress among
those within ASOA who responded to my request
for research.
The increased organizational stress resulted from
several factors: absenteeism, the constant changes to
COVID protocols, office flow challenges with waiting
rooms being abandoned to meet CDC guidelines,
and the increased cleaning and sterilization of exam
rooms and offices. Increased personal pressures resulted
from closures of schools and daycares, isolation from
elderly parents, job loss, and income insecurity. Table
3 indicates the symptoms of increased stress among
administration and staff from those ASOA members
participating in the research.
Although stress was a significant finding of the
research, 83% of the ASOA respondents participating
in the research reported feeling they have a healthy
work-life balance. Additional research is needed to
understand that positive balance. 
SILVER LININGS
Increased efficiency of patient flow and processes was
mentioned in almost every interview. Eliminating
the waiting room meant patients went directly to
the exam room and experienced an overall shorter
appointment time.



AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3

AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover1
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover2
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 1
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 2
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 3
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 4
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 5
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AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover3
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae-may-june-2021-vol-30-no-3
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae-march-april-2021-vol-30-no-2
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae-january-february-2021-vol-30-no-1
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_nov_dec_20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_sept_aug_20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_july_aug_20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_may_jun_20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_mar_apr_20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_jan_feb_20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_nov_dec19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_septoct19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g107843_ae_julyaug19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g105962_ae_mayjun19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g104576_ae_marapr19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g103212_ae_janfeb19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g99529_ae_novdec18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g97160_ae_septoct18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g96528_ae_julyaugust18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g93925_ae_mayjune18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g92298_ae_marapr18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g89361_ae_janfeb18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g86698_ae_novdec17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g81746_ae_septoct17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g80299_ae_julaug17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g77256_ae_mayjun17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g74401_ae_marapr17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g72340_ae_janfeb17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_novdec16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_septoct16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_julaug16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_mayjune2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_marapr2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_janfeb16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_novdec15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_sepoct15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/APTA/g52750_apta_25ada
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_julyaug2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_mayjune2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_marapr2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_janfeb15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_novdec14
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_sepoct14_AE
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_julaug14
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ASOA_MayJunAE
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ASOA_MarAprAE
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ASOA_JanFebAE
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ASOA_no4eZine
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_fall_2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_no3_ezine
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa/asoa_summer_2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ehr_cust_survey_Apr2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_no2_2013_ezine
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