Improve Healthcare Practice Efficiency: Addressing Post-Pandemic Administrative Challenges.
As we close in on the first quarter of 2023, the challenges of staffing during the pandemic have shifted into challenges of post-pandemic cost concerns. Specifically, physicians are increasingly concerned about rising administrative costs along with continued inflation worries.
We can all agree that administrative costs are not only related to staffing costs, but as well as I.T., EMR systems and management, which are critical in keeping current in order to facilitate efficient patient scheduling and throughput. In addition, as we are delivering healthcare, we are also managing a business which includes professional liability insurance costs, accountants, legal, and additional professional fees to ensure the viability of the practice.
In order to take a measured approach to administrative expenses, it is important to look at where administrative time is spent. Now, more than ever, it is absolutely critical to focus on the key items which translate to getting patients scheduled with maximum efficiency, but also measuring the patient time in the office from a time-flow perspective. Patient throughput in the office is not only about seeing greater numbers of patients, but also about having satisfied patients who are able to navigate quickly through the stages of their visit without administrative bottlenecks in the process. Administrative bottlenecks can be related to time spent on EMR tasks or even I.T. inefficiencies.
Another place to examine administrative costs is in the registration process, which begins at the first phone call and continues through the claims filing process. All well-managed practices should periodically review their denials trends and know the rate of failure with that process. Nearly all modern billing processes now have claims edits in the billing system, but also at the claims clearinghouse and also when the claim reaches the payer. Billing and claims have large administrative costs when clean claims are not at their highest possible levels.
Finally, if it’s been a while since costs have been reviewed, it’s time to review major vendor expenses such as EMR and connectivity expenses, IT costs and related outdated paper workflows that can be automated and, of course, staff pay scales should be utilized in a well-managed practice.