|Doctors: Streamline office processes to improve your profits|
Healthcare delivery is transforming into a more competitive, market-driven business. As a healthcare provider, you must cope with a heavily regulated delivery system that is labor-reliant and paper-intensive. Leaders in the healthcare industry are turning to business solutions such as redefining work processes and improving technology to help them cope and ensure financial success.
Although once thought of as a business or manufacturing solution, re-engineering is becoming critical for healthcare providers as well. Re-engineering can help you streamline personnel, resources, and processes while continuing to focus on quality service. Driven by management, the solutions can range from fundamental work flow process improvements to high-tech image and information support.
Analyzing and solving paperwork problems is one good place to begin re-engineering. Studies have shown that the cost of generating, moving, and tracking great volumes of paperwork now account for more than 25 cents of every healthcare dollar.
Healthcare providers who have redesigned their work processes have reaped savings from reduced cost and improved productivity in many areas, including:
Redesigning and enhancing information systems can improve cash flow. If you can handle patient registration and eligibility verification more efficiently, for example, you may see a reduction of bad debt expense. Similarly, you may reduce fee collection time because information is immediately available to resolve claims.
Re-engineering requires commitment
Support from all levels of staff is essential to successfully redesign work processes. The process may run into obstacles, including a lack of personnel to dedicate to redesign teams, a general reluctance to seek outside expertise, and lack of support from management who must sell the process to the staff. Re-engineering requires serious commitment from everyone involved. Implement clear lines of authority and accountability, and assure the staff that the processes will positively affect the work environment.
Here are some of the particular tasks you need to do:
Initiate a re-engineering campaign during stable economic times, preferably during a period of robust organizational performance. Although there might never be a perfect time, it is nevertheless important to consider economic stability. If you institute the re-engineering campaign during rough economic times, the rumor may spread among staff that it is a work force reduction in disguise. Support for redesign could cease, leading to total failure. This is especially true with smaller providers where the grapevine is quick. Avoid rumors and maintain support by making a guarantee against layoffs early in the process, particularly if the timing coincides with an economic slump.
Finally, management should encourage team members to keep in mind that redesign ideas
need to transcend the operational, financial, clinical, and marketing objectives of the
organization. Stressing both practical and creative considerations during brainstorming
sessions will yield valuable results, leading to solutions that will position the
organization to meet future challenges, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
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|Kenneth D. Eichner P.C.
Certified Public Accountants
Houston, TX 77042