“One tip: Use pre-visit calls to patients to obtain information about medications and hospitalizations” - Fred N. Pelzman, M.D.
There are the standard ways to reduce costs, such as firing office staff or increasing workload, or both. Sometimes, one or the other is inevitable. However, it is important to also think creatively about how to maximize office work flow efficiency in an ever changing world of healthcare.
Dr. Fred N. Pelzman, as referenced in “How to cut practice payroll without losing muscle” (reference link at bottom), believes that employees who call patients for pre-appointment reminders could utilize this time to review basic chart information with the patient. This could include gathering information regarding any hospitalizations the patient has had or new medications the patient went on since the last appointment, and enter that information into the patient's EHR while they are on the phone. This could prove to be an effective idea. Ideally, patients will begin to become more comfortable with EHR systems, and EHR systems will also be compatible with one another and easily accessible via smartphone. But until then, fully utilizing the time a patient is out of the office could be very beneficial.
Seeing the doctor is of course the most expensive part of a visit for both the office and the patient. The patient because they pay for this visit, and the doctor because the more people they see the more they can get paid. So, updates that can be acquired easily from office staff prior to visits, may prove to be a temporarily effective measure to help reduce the time the patient is in the office, as well as the time the doctor or other higher salaried staff has to spend per patient.
This is seemingly a small improvement to office efficiency. Although, in a day in age where doctors see 30-40 or more patients in a day, and patients find themselves waiting longer and longer to see a doctor, every few minutes count.
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David Eisenberg is currently a medical student at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, PA, and a contributor to Medical Groups. David believes that it is critically important for physicians to not only be well rounded clinically, but also financially. In an ever changing healthcare system, David hopes to help physicians not only understand how to successfully navigate the dynamic healthcare landscape, but also how to take a leadership role in continuing to develop the medical profession that so many have diligently dedicated their life’s work to. In addition to contributing to Medical Groups, David works with thedoctorschannel.com, as well as helps to run an app for pre-med students that he co-founded, PreMD Tracker.
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