Potential ROI on Hiring A Virtual Assistant
Physicians must focus most of their time on patient centered care. This is important to optimize a physician’s value to their practice. As a physician, you should be spending at least 37 hours a week on dedicated and direct patient care. Whether you are a solo physician with a small support team or have a group practice, there are ways to set up your office procedures to create more time for patient care.
Importance of Patient Centered Care
According to studies, doctors spending more time with their patients can expect better medical outcomes. Keeping the factors of productivity and efficiency out of the picture, this is the biggest reason you would want to allow more time for patient centered care.
Here are the advantages of spending more time with patients:
- You want to know more when you meet new patients
- Studies show that more time spent with the doctor can make a difference with the patient’s health needs
- It helps in making better health care decisions
- Studies show that health outcomes improve when patients get more time with their doctors and find them to be more compassionate
- Doctors also feel happier and more satisfied with their work, lowering the potential of burnouts
Additional benefits include improved blood pressure, reduced stress, and alleviated anxiety and depression among patients. Research also shows that time is the factor that prevents more than 50% of physicians from being empathetic.
The following strategies and procedures have been proven to be effective in different types of practices. When implementing these strategies, it is important to keep your unique goals in mind. You should also leave some room to tolerate some trials and errors to create the ideal procedures.
1. Efficient Delegation
Practitioners must assess their activities regularly and get inputs from their staff about doing them more efficiently. As a simple rule, you shouldn’t be performing tasks that don’t require an MD.
- Delegate all such administrative tasks that don’t require your participation
- Delegation must be done without affecting your understanding of how your practice is running
- If you have a small team and your administrator doesn’t have the resources to manage extensive delegation, help them develop the essential skills
2. Create an Efficient Scheduling System
Efficient and effective scheduling is important to creating more time for patient care. This part of your office’s operations has a big impact on productivity. Practices should avoid the traditional practice of assigning a low-paid staff member to manually schedule appointments.
- Dedicate more resources to create an effective scheduling system
- Hire a qualified and experienced professional to manage scheduling
- Efficient scheduling can grow your patient flow, thus growing your net income
- Consider moving from a manual system to a computerized one
It is important to create scheduling policies and guidelines and upgrade your billing system if it is not already sophisticated.
3. Create a System of Visit Planning
Visit planning is an important and easy to implement patient flow strategy. It is recommended to keep the following points in mind when creating a visit planning:
- Perform a chart preview in the morning or the day before to ensure all the required documentation is in the chart
- This will help the clinical support staff to inform the practitioner of issues that may affect or curtail the visit
- A huddle should be held between the clinical/clerical support staff and the physician
- The huddle can help review the schedule and determine ways for better visit flow and plan for any unforeseen demands
4. Confirm All Your Appointments
Confirming appointments is time-intensive and labor-intensive, especially in small-group or solo practices. Even when you don’t have the manpower to confirm all appointments, you can focus on the following patients:
- New patients
- Patients requiring more time
The main goal behind this strategy is to eliminate or reduce no-shows because they are costly to practices. No-shows waste your valuable time and resources. Eliminating no-shows can allow you as a physician to spend more time providing care to other patients.
5. Streamline Check-Ins
Create check-in forms that your patients can complete easily and quickly. Eliminate sections that require a lot of time to fill but don’t save much of the physician’s time. For example, you may consider doing away with the ‘history form’. This information can usually be accessed from the electronic record. It could be even better to pre-register patients and consider using a web-based registration system.
An additional benefit of streamlining check-ins is that it grows your practice’s capacity to collect co-pays at the time of check-in.
6. Streamline Check-Outs
Streamlining check-outs can help improve the patient flow and create more time for you to care for your patients. It is generally believed that patients expect your office to schedule their appointments for them. Most patients, however, prefer making their own appointments. This especially includes those who are working and have many obligations. Keep in mind that most patients at the checkout don’t know which day would work best for them for their next appointment. The checkout staff can fill in the diagnosis written by the physician on the routing slip and ask the patient to call the office to fix the appointment.
7. Improve Your Hiring Process
It is important to hire the right people to manage the administrative tasks in your office. Otherwise, you can expect an exponential increase in stress, cost, and workload. Hiring the right people can go a long way in helping you implement the above-mentioned office procedures and create more time for patient care:
- Create skill requirements and expectations before you hire
- Develop and follow the right hiring process
- Measure the skills of candidates before hiring
- Conduct objective tests to gain key information
Make sure to communicate your expectations when hiring someone.
These are some of the most important strategies and procedures to help you find more time for patient care. If you want to explore more ways to develop a more efficient and productive office, it is recommended to get in touch with us at Neolytix. You can reach us at 224-365-8400 or write to us using this Online Form.