It’s 2020, folks. Time to up your game, increase your productivity, and make more room for growth. Don’t be like one of the countless healthcare practices that fall prey to outdated processes and systems. Instead, evaluate time-sucks and the root causes of disorganization, and look for new ways to increase your practice’s productivity.
Productivity = Profits
We all know what it means to be a productive individual–someone who uses their time wisely to knock out tasks, produce meaningful work, and avoid distractions. But what does it mean to be a productive practice?
A productive healthcare practice has integrated systems that reduce wasteful administrative tasks. A productive practice is focused on moving forward–not putting out fires. A productive practice makes the most of its resources (human capital, financial resources, and maybe most importantly, time) to serve its patients well and fulfill its mission as a business. Finally, a productive practice is profitable…and growing.
If you’re interested in developing a more productive healthcare practice in 2020, read on for 5 key strategies you can use to streamline your processes, optimize your care, and make more room for profitable growth.
Strategy #1: Shift to an electronic paperwork system
Most of us know the headache and hassle of dealing with an endless flood of paperwork. Not only is a great amount of information required to onboard a patient, exchange medical information such as test results and diagnoses, communicate with insurance, deal with liability issues, bill patients, and more–but such communication typically must meet detailed HIPAA regulations.
Needless to say, dealing with conventional paperwork can be a significant drain on a practice’s capacity.
EMR allows you to safely exchange and store data on a cloud-based storage system, sending and receiving forms via email, and even giving patients and providers the ability to access those forms on their mobile phones. Not only that, but using EMR can reduce the likelihood of administrative errors and mix-ups–costly hiccups that have the potential to put your patient and your practice in danger.
Although converting to an EMR system may seem overwhelming, it can be done efficiently and effectively. And, at the end of the day, the payoff in productivity will be well worth the time and effort.
Strategy #2: Consider reducing your staff
Productivity means that you’re using your resources as efficiently as possible. Chances are that if you’ve continued to hire more and more staff members as your patient load has increased, you may be missing out on key systems that allow you to scale administrative output without hiring, training, and paying an additional employee.
Here are a few ways to streamline your administrative processes:
- Use online scheduling (We’ll explain in greater detail in just a moment)
- Use an electronic system for easier insurance billing
- Try an electronic check-in system in your office
Depending on the size of your office, it may even be possible to hire just one admin staff to handle scheduling, paperwork, and more (This practice with three locations and 500+ appointments every month has downsized to a single admin by relying on IntakeQ).
Strategy #3: Send a detailed pre-appointment questionnaire.
Most practices gather basic details about a patient before an appointment: contact information, basic symptoms, a brief medical history, and perhaps medication usage.
But a truly detailed pre-appointment evaluation can create more productive and efficient appointments by doing the following:
- Asking patients for a detailed medical history, including present and past physical symptoms and conditions–providing a more comprehensive view of their health
- Asking patients to define their goals and objectives when it comes to their health–giving providers an idea of what patients are looking for before they come in
- Preparing providers with a richer, more in-depth level of insight into a patient’s condition, giving them time to do some brief research if necessary
- Creating a more effective, in-depth first appointment by expediting the “introductory” period between patient and provider
Of course, a pre-appointment questionnaire can only achieve the above if it’s sent and received well before the appointment…not in the waiting room five minutes prior. That being the case, sending an electronic form (rather than by mail or PDF) gives patient and provider an opportunity to sufficiently prepare.
Strategy #4: Schedule appointments online
Making and receiving phone calls to schedule, confirm, and cancel appointments may consume hours each work day. In fact, you may even have an admin staff that is solely responsible for these tasks. Not only that, but relying on a phone line for scheduling can be frustrating for patients, who must often make multiple calls and experience long wait times just to schedule or cancel an appointment.
What’s the solution?
Shift to online scheduling.
Giving patients the ability to schedule, reschedule, cancel, and confirm their appointments could be a total game-changer for your practice, saving hours of work each day. Plus, it’s easier, more convenient, and more efficient than scheduling over the phone.
Here are a few different ways to do online scheduling:
- Use an online booking widget
- Allow patients to cancel or confirm appointments via text message
- Use a ChatBot on your site to allow patients to make new appointments
Regardless of the method, online scheduling will offload significant administrative work from your practice and make it easier and more convenient for patients to get time with you. In other words, it’s a win-win for everybody.
Strategy #5: Track your time
Using your time wisely is the foundation of productivity.
And while it may feel unconventional to track time at a healthcare practice, doing so can help you gauge overall productivity and efficiency, for both you and your staff.
For example, you might see that you’re spending an inordinate amount of time doing paperwork. Can any of this work be offloaded or streamlined to leave more time for you to do research and meet with patients?
Or, you may see that your administrative staff spends a large majority of the day dealing with insurance. How can you improve this process to give your team more time to focus on patient engagement?
Try using an automatic time-tracking application that will also allow you to manually input tasks and projects. At the end of each day or week, evaluate how working hours were spent…and consider how you might shift things around to focus on higher priorities (like face-to-face time with patients and strategies for improving and expanding your practice).
Free Download: How Productive is Your Practice Worksheet.
Getting a Start on Improving Productivity in 2020
Ready to get a start on improving your productivity? IntakeQ is an electronic paperwork platform that can help you with all of the above and more by providing:
- Electronic intake forms–HIPAA-compliant, easy to use, and customizable, you can send (and receive) pre-appointment questionnaires, release forms, and more to patients before their appointment
- Online booking widget–giving patients the ability to schedule, check, and cancel upcoming appointments right from their smartphones
- Messaging portal–providing a place for patient and provider to communicate efficiently and effectively
- Appointment reminders–reminders are sent automatically via text message, reducing no-shows
- Patient notes and profile–gives providers the ability to quickly and conveniently access a patient’s information, including appointment notes, progress updates, and upcoming appointments
To give IntakeQ a try for free, click here.