The best medical practices ensure that they evaluate their current workflows and take steps toward continuous improvements for patients, staff, and their bottom line. Here are five tips that will help you learn how to run a medical office efficiently.
1. Assess patient flow and take action
Patient flow is key to operating efficiently and maximizing time with your patients. The process for a patient begins with scheduling an appointment and ends after payment. You should measure and chart how much time each segment of a patient’s visit takes and record the total cycle time from patient’s arrival to departure. Once you’ve identified areas of improvement, you can start making adjustments to your office schedule.
Visit Planning – determine if all necessary information is available in patient charts, and ensure that required documentation has been or is ready to be filled out. Use an effective appointment scheduler, or an online patient portal so the visit runs smoothly.
Office Structure – the layout of the medical office can impact patient flow. Consider the design of the reception area. Is it easy to navigate?
Practice Management System – an efficient Practice Management System (PMS) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) solution will help you get your insurance claims paid fast, and reduce administrative tasks, manual data entry, and claim rejections.
2. Improve communication and set clear expectations
Clear communication between staff members is critical to a practice’s function. If you find that a patient has repeated the same information to multiple people, then this is an indicator that there is a break in the communication or workflow process. Consider a PMS that allows you to set tasks, and send secure messages so employees can stay organized and efficient.
3. Evaluate workflow and productivity
Having a streamlined workflow will help improve employee productivity. Do all staff members have clearly defined roles? Are there clear procedures and policies in place? Is work being repeated or delayed? Once you’ve identified any issues in your workflows or patient flow, then you brainstorm changes. You and your team can eliminate any steps that are causing bottlenecks in the system.
4. Manage the revenue cycle and maximize reimbursements
The fastest ways to increase cash flow and improve collection rates and insurance reimbursements are to:
Verify eligibility and insurance prior to appointments.
Collect patient payments upfront.
Accurately code and submit clean claims the first time.
Proactively track and follow-up on claims
Review payments and address inconsistencies promptly.
Technology is a great resource to run an efficient practice. Having a skilled staff that is trained on the technology that’s used in the office can eliminate errors, lessen administrative tasks, improve patient access, and save time.
If you can identify deficiencies in your workflow you can uncover new ways to increase revenue, and provide quality patient care.
With these steps, you can run a medical office efficiently and provide the best experience for your patients.