As we have recently been launched into a new year, now is a good opportunity to find new areas for improvement. Reviewing and reflecting on performance allows specialty practices to identify areas in which they can work better, as well as determine ways to make processes more streamlined, reliable and patient-friendly.
How should specialty practices figure out if their current operations have room for improvement? Here are three areas that can reveal potential opportunities.
Patient satisfaction data
When patients aren’t happy, it can negatively impact a practice’s revenue as well as its reputation. If a practice has less-than-optimal satisfaction scores, it should look for potential causes. Is it hard to schedule an appointment? Are new patients enduring long wait times and/or burdened with cumbersome paperwork? Do patients have difficulty communicating with the practice outside of regular office hours? When patients are dissatisfied, they may choose to take their business elsewhere, negatively impacting organization revenue.
The good news is that many patient concerns can be addressed by optimizing the use of practice management technology. For example, a system that offers first available appointment finders can ease scheduling. Similarly, online registration can expedite appointment check-in, and HIPAA-compliant messaging can facilitate communication outside the appointment. Taken together, these tools can smooth access and keep patients happy.
Staff satisfaction data
Chances are if patients aren’t satisfied, staff aren’t too happy either. Perhaps they feel overwhelmed with administrative tasks or frustrated because they are not working at the top of their licenses. Schedules may be too tight, preventing staff from spending enough time with patients to deliver optimal care or requiring providers to work off hours to keep up with administrative tasks. Technology that allows staff to streamline scheduling can give providers more control over their day. Drag and drop features, for example, allow staff to easily rearrange appointments if necessary.
In addition, synching the schedule to the providers’ mobile devices allows physicians to better plan for the day, anticipating possible bottlenecks and identifying opportunities for downtime that can be used to take care of other tasks.
There are multiple spots where a practice could be losing revenue or missing chances to increase it. For example, inaccurate or incomplete billing can lead to delayed cash flow and revenue shortfalls. Similarly, last minute appointment cancellations that aren’t rescheduled can result in lost income. Even missed marketing opportunities, such as when a practice doesn’t target patient referrals, can stall revenue growth. Organizations can improve performance in all these areas and more by taking advantage of practice management system reporting tools.
By generating custom reports, organizations can access real-time business intelligence based on patient demographics, appointments, procedures, referral sources and financials. Organizations can easily drill down into data and compare year-over-year performance to identify trends and areas of improvement and discover opportunities for growth.
The new decade promises to be full of innovation and change in the healthcare space. Organizations that take the time now to review current operations, determine improvement opportunities and implement change can lay the foundation for strong practice performance no matter what the future brings.