The operational goal of a practice is to create a complete and accurate clinical picture of the patient in the least amount of time and at the lowest possible cost—all while maintaining a positive experience for the patient. But, like anything else, this task is easier said than done. Optimizing your practice operations and workflow is not nearly as difficult as you might think, but it requires the right set of knowledge and tools.
Why Is Workflow Management Important to My Practice?
Keeping patients on protocol is important for the health of the patient as well as the practice. Any omitted step in the practice’s workflow typically translates into a missed billing opportunity. With the help of the Medical Consultants Group, one primary care physician increased practice revenue by over $2,500 per month just by keeping diabetic patients on protocol.
Patients who are on protocol also represent a lower risk for litigation. Malpractice insurance companies have recognized this and given discounts of up to 10% for practices who can keep patients on protocol. Having a well-organized and consistently administered protocol also allows practices to better forecast revenue and cash flow.
How Does Workflow Affect My Practice’s Bottom Line?
Medical practices have contracts with insurance companies that stipulate how much they will be paid for services rendered, which puts the practice in a “fixed selling price” environment. Since your practice can’t raise prices, the only way to increase profitability is to control costs.
In a typical doctor’s office, the cost of seeing a single patient consists of how much of whose time is involved. If a physician is involved in the entire patient encounter, it would cost the practice more than another medical staff member was responsible for the session. The best way to control costs is to ensure that the practice thinks about who gathers what information in what way.
A practice’s electronic health record, or EHR, plays a critical role in optimizing workflow and coordinating staff and resources. Ideally, your EHR should make it easy for the practice to organize the workflow and control time and costs. If not, the Medical Consultants Group can help you choose and personalize an EHR that is better suited to your practice’s needs.
How Do I Optimize My Practice’s Workflow?
First, your practice should have the ability to check at the end of every patient encounter and identify which steps may have been missed in any protocol. After you’ve determined who is missing steps, you can train and motivate staff based on the items that were missed.
In addition, your practice should have reports that calculate the average waiting time for patients as well as the “door to door” time for each encounter by both diagnosis and provider. “Door to door” time, or the duration of time from the patient’s entrance to the patient’s exit, is a metric that is critical to patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction is critical to patient retention, and patient retention is critical to practice profitability.
Contact the Medical Consultants Group in Atlanta, GA
At the Medical Consultants Group, we understand that workflow management is one of the keys to a successful, profitable practice. To schedule a free workflow assessment with one of our dedicated medical consultants, please call (404) 272-4883, or fill out our online contact form.