Magazine article Medical Economics

Get Efficient, Save Money

Magazine article Medical Economics

Get Efficient, Save Money

Article excerpt

To maintain incomes in the fece of declining collections, doctors are obsessing about overhead. But cutting costs isn't the only way- or even the best way- to preserve the bottom line; it's a handicap to avoid spending that leads to greater productivity. With that in mind, here are some efficiency basics:

Don't do work that others can do. Patient-care functions such as data collection and patient education can be delegated to trained assistants. Another common waste of doctor time: deciding, case-bycase, when patients can be seen. Specify the rules for add-on patients and let your staff make the call.

Communication is more reliable when written than when spoken. Instead of "telling" your medical assistant what you need, use your fee ticket/route slip as an order form.

Don't write repetitively. Even without electronic medical records, you can be more productive using forms with check-boxes, items that can be circled, or blanks to be filled in. Common applications: test orders, prescription refill messages, and the like.

Don't do work that machines can do faster and better. Examples: computerized employee timekeeping to figure elapsed time, sheet-fed photocopiers with a collating and stapling feature, computer-generated superbills with account history printed on them and reference numbers for tracking lost charge slips, or voicemail test-result delivery.

Don't wait for patients or staff. Give new patients the demographics/registration form to fill out first. Only when they are done, hand them the health history questionnaire. …

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