How efficient is your medical practice? From the time you spend stocking your exam rooms because things aren’t in the right place, typing notes about each patient encounter into your EHR software, or trying to find a member of your staff, those minutes add up throughout the day. As more small and independent medical practices are feeling the financial squeeze, finding a few more minutes in each day could allow you to see more patients, bring in more revenue, and improve your cash flow. But how do you find the time? Here are some simple strategies and tools that can improve efficiency in your clinic and help you see more patients.
Borrow Successful Business Strategies
Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency, and it has created entire industries to learn strategies like Six Sigma or lean manufacturing. While these may not be immediately applicable to your clinic, the process can be. Start by writing down all your workflows in flowchart form, such as:
- Rooming and initial review with MAs
- Provider exam
- Follow-up care
Each of these areas might have a few minutes (or more) of wasted time and bottlenecks. For example, if patients have to fill out intake paperwork when they arrive, even those that arrive on time for their appointment are in the waiting room 10-15 minutes filling out forms. Your staff then has to input that data into your practice management software. In total, that might be 20 to 30 minutes per patient. Sending the forms in advance via email could eliminate that time because the patient does it a day or more in advance, and your staff doesn’t have to do any manual input.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are plenty of technology tools out there designed to improve practice efficiency. Without strategy and implementation, though, these tools don’t always help you achieve the right goals for efficiency and cost savings. One area where many physicians and staff can benefit immediately is with effective EHR template tools. You need to document and chart your interactions with each patient in order to get paid. Rather than doing it from scratch each time, creating some templates for things that you repeat with multiple patients every day can save a lot of time. EHR Template Builders makes it easy to document and chart thoroughly and accurately without spending hours in your EHR every day. That means you can spend more time in appointments paying attention to your patients, and less time fiddling with the computer.
These tools can also help you get the supporting documentation you need for correct, accurate medical billing each time to avoid under-coding (and missing out on revenue) or over-coding (and potentially getting in legal trouble).
See More Patients
If you could eliminate 40 minutes of wasted time each day, that’s enough to fit in two additional 20-minute patient appointments, so you can see 10 more patients each week, and 40 more patients a month. For most practices, this is pure profit, since all your expenses are already covered. Improving efficiency is critical to survive in today’s small practice environment. Find out how the tools from AdvancedMD can help you get there.