At one time or another, most patients have been left in an examination room for at least half an hour waiting to see a busy doctor who was tied up somewhere else. Medical practice has many moving parts, and aside from caring for patients, there is an essential business side that has to be managed. Things like invoicing, ordering supplies, handling payroll, paying bills, and filing insurance paperwork cannot be ignored—but when they continue to interfere with patient care it’s time to take another look at efficiency.
With so much happening behind the scenes, the title "medical practice" takes on more than one meaning. A practice today requires an office of highly-trained business people to keep the engine running, and even in that case, more can be learned in terms of operating efficiently and saving time. Remember, your bottom line depends on patient satisfaction.
Here are a few cost-effective business techniques (including automated report scheduling) that can help free up your healthcare staff so that more time can be spent focusing on patients.
1. Focus medical talent on patient care.
You must learn to manage your practice effectively. Medical talent should be focused on patients. Physicians and other providers should have the capacity to spend at least 37 hours per week providing direct patient care in order to maximize their value to the practice. There are plenty of people, technologies and systems to shoulder the business side of the health industry.
Medical billing and coding specialists, medical office managers, and medical assistants can help your practice run smoothly. That way, those who are the reason the practice exists (doctors) aren't bogged down with lesser duties.
2. Optimize patient flow.
Efficient scheduling is the key to a well-run healthcare practice. When visits are appropriately scheduled, most physicians can manage four patient visits per hour. Focus on providing appropriate care to as large a population of patients as possible. If the current system doesn't allow for a patient to be seen every 20 minutes, it may need examination and reform.
3. Employ digital (portable) health record technologies.
Electronic health records are basically a digital version of medical charts. They include everything from a patient's medical history including diagnoses, treatment plans, immunization dates, and test results. Identifying information like home address, employment history, and financial/insurance information are also included.
Digital transformation in healthcare puts all necessary patient information at your fingertips. You can access pertinent patient information in seconds cutting back on time spent locating and managing these materials.
4. Use a good scheduling system.
Take advantage of a software scheduling system to streamline scheduling and make the whole thing more user-friendly. Include mobile apps to make it possible for patients to schedule their own appointments, review records, and communicate with staff. When your staff is freed from having to juggle massive amounts of paperwork and phone calls related to scheduling, your patients win.
5. Group related tasks or procedures.
By scheduling related activities in a block together, your staff can conserve time that would be spent in preparation and ultimately see more patients. For instance, if you have patients wanting to come in for a flu shot, try to schedule your patient visits on the same day or group of days. This way, the practice is meeting the needs of patients who expect a quick visit and you have more time to devote to patient consultations.
6. Create goals.
When you establish goals and develop a plan to meet them, you are able to organize your workdays effectively. Evaluating your goals and adjusting them as needed helps to create a sense of purpose for your workweek. If the entire staff works toward the same goal of patient satisfaction, the level of healthcare can only improve.
7. Delegate tasks.
If one person is trying to do too much in any office situation, it will create chaos. In healthcare practice, the consequences could be devastating. Delegate duties to administrative staff, medical assistants, interns, and volunteers whenever possible. When everyone is carrying the load, non-healthcare-related activities can be handled quickly, so that more time can be spent on the top priorities.
8. Use mid-level providers.
Employing medical staff who can handle specialized tasks like prescribing medications or conducting outpatient surgeries can take a lot of the weight off the physicians. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are a good investment for a medical facility where the main physician(s) are over-taxed.
9. Evaluate your systems and procedures.
Make sure your healthcare office is functioning at its optimum by testing your procedures periodically. Get professional help if you need it to evaluate how you do things and their effectiveness in maximizing time and patient care. Get rid of redundant practices that no longer serve your patients or your staff.
10. Utilize Automated Report Scheduling to save time.
Automated report scheduling is a method of delivering timely data reports, so users can access it. In the case of healthcare, this would include medical information compiled during office visits.
Automated reporting helps busy workers access examination room schedules. This prevents schedule conflicts well in advance of an appointment. It can be used for monthly P&L statements to get this information into the right hands at the beginning of every shift.
Using automated report delivery in addition to these other tips can help you save time during the workday that can be used to treat patients. Find out more about how ChristianSteven Software can help your practice take advantage of time-saving, automated report distribution solutions, browser-based data analytics, dashboards, and automation of business processes for increased accuracy and time conservation. You will benefit, your staff with thank you and your patients will enjoy more of your valuable time and attention.