How to Optimize Medical Practice Process Management and Performance Improvement
Medical practice performance and process management is being dominated by mergers, affiliations, and external strategic initiatives aimed at optimizing ROI and performance within a rapidly-changing healthcare industry. Preserving market share, improving contracting capabilities, seeking technological improvements and innovation, and creating cost efficiencies are some of the key objectives sought, leaving little time for much else when it comes to day-to-day operations and processes.
While focus has been on driving revenue, some of the basic and fundamental aspects of medical practice performance have been shifted further down the to-do list. As a result, the general health care industry, and especially physician-group medical practices have lagged other industries in areas of technological innovation and core business process improvement opportunities.
Many common processes and procedures in medical practices today are by-products of years of previous habits based on outdated methodology. This set it and forget it strategy can impact the bottom line in a big way. Alarmingly few processes and performance strategies were developed based upon formal study and analysis of patient flow or physician and staff work flow. As a result, medical practices have core processes that are inefficient and/or contain redundant activities that provide little or no value-add to either the patient experience or the business enterprise or medical practice financial or performance goals. Perhaps the brightest light in all of this, at a time when nearly all medical practices are particularly interested in identifying ideas that can add weight to their bottom line, many of these processes are ripe for improvement.
A Successful Starting Point
The starting point for a successful medical practice process improvement project is to determine what constitutes genuine improvement. What are the definable goals? Knowing that you want a given process to be “efficient” or “effective” does not provide concrete identification of key process improvement measures. What we can measure, we can manage. Objective self-evaluation can be a challenge. It is often difficult to find on your own good benchmark information. Be sure not to short-change this step. This is where our decades of experience help us look under the hood for you. We can find inefficiencies within your processes that you may be unaware.
Within billing and collection processes, focal points can include:
- Reduce and where possible eliminate paper, especially redundancy in data gathering and paper storage processes.
- Increase use of technology where cost efficiency and patient convenience are quantifiable.
- Create efficient physician work flow process. Identify ways to enhance physician time management, and create new patient appointment slots within the newly identified available time.
- Create a friendly and efficient patient environment; one that minimizes complexities within receipt of care, form processing, billing, account management, etc.
- Create a secure environment for patients; one that promotes confidence in confidentiality, cyber security and privacy.
- Maximize human resource productivity and efficiency by eliminating job function and/or processes duplications.
- Utilize square footage and facilities most efficiently and cost effectively.
Existing Policies and Procedures Review
After initial analysis and determination of primary medical practice process improvement objectives, the next step is to review the existing written policies and procedures for that process. If such documentation doesn’t currently exist, then it will be necessary to review and document the flow of the clinical and business operations pertaining to the process under review. In other words, you want to outline and flowchart each office process that needs to be analyzed and improved.
Flowcharts Can Tell Us A Lot
After flowcharting, let’s stand back and look at our current process. Make sure that each flowcharted area within the process has rules, procedures, regulations, and responsible parties, etc. detailed, in writing, what is required to efficiently and effectively complete the new task flow.
Fine Tune, And Then Fine Tune Some More
When all elements of the process have been documented, management’s responsibility is to ratify how each process works, fine tune policies and procedures, look for inefficiencies, and remove redundant steps and redundant personnel that come to light through a thorough process improvement and medical practice performance consulting review. Results may be a complete overhaul or all of the practice processes and procedures or honing of a specific high traffic revenue generation area.
Address Medical Practice Process Improvement Now
Now is the time to take a careful look at each and every process within your medical practice front and back offices. Improve revenue by identifying and improving inefficiencies. With continual changes in the healthcare marketplace and pressures on your bottom line, including COVID-19 and reimbursement, there is no time like the present to give your medical practice a thorough and educated checkup on some of its fundamental processes as they relate to overall performance.
Schedule Now to Prepare for the New Year
Schedule a call today to talk with our Tinsley Medical Practice Brokers team to schedule a Medical Practice Performance Consulting assessment. Find out where you can tighten up and improve your bottom line in 2021.