Keeping your physician practice employees off the web during work hours

August 1, 2018

You probably need to give employees access to the Internet so they can do their jobs, such as checking payer websites. But you might also worry that they’re wasting hours on non-work-related web surfing. There are many ways a practice can structure employees’ access to specific websites and technologies. For example, practices can install relatively inexpensive software that allows employees to access just websites listed on an approved “white list” or keep people off of prohibited sites that they “black list.” These settings can be specified to meet the needs of each employee group.

However as administrative colleagues have found out, web-monitoring technology, on the other hand, may cause more trouble than it’s worth; There may be a simpler–if counter-intuitive–solution to this human resources problem.

Rather than putting in the effort required to watch every keystroke, it’s easier just to walk around and see what everyone is doing – You can quickly find out what people have up on their screens. Physical oversight of out-of-the way workstations has to be very deliberate – The practice manager should routinely pop by the front desk and workstations unannounced.

But while you should discourage employees from abusing Internet privileges while on the job, a study from PLos ONE found that strict Internet-usage policies only make employees more tempted to surf. According to the researchers, a better alternative to banning personal web use is to give employees Internet breaks similar to cigarette or coffee breaks.

Which leads to a final question: Does your medical practice have a policy on Web Surfing in your human resource policy manual?

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