Medical Practice: Ways to Provide Excellent Patient Care and Cut Costs
Any doctor who has their own practice will tell you that they struggle to keep costs down and the quality of patient care up. It makes sense that, to make your business profitable, you must reduce costs across the board. However, it's a delicate balancing act, as the first priority is to provide excellent patient care. The good news is that you can accomplish both.
Small businesses discovered many years ago that, in order to turn a profit each year, they had to utilize their existing employees. Instead of hiring 10 employees to perform every function individually in an office, they hire 5 or 6 people at a higher salary to perform all the duties. Doctors with their own practices can do the same. Cross-training allows you to keep your staff happy with a better salary. It also keeps your business running smoothly and cost-effectively. For example, with multiple people able to perform a single job, there's time available to find a medical supply company that offers the best rates. It also means that when an employee is out sick, paperwork and patient's will not suffer.
The Insurance Dilemma
Today there aren't a lot of choices for patients when it comes to healthcare insurance and, as a result, many are on state or government health care. The problem with this is that the rates chargeable are, on average, much lower for doctors versus private insurance companies. This will drastically affect the bottom line. Many doctors in private practice no longer accept new patients on Medicare and some are even going as far as to accept only cash for services, avoiding the endless paperwork and dilemma of trying to collect money.
Training for Employees
In order for doctors to keep their business practices operational, for the existing patients on Medicare and other insurance companies, they must eliminate the need for resubmissions to insurance companies due to preventable errors. One way to stay on top of costs and free up valuable time is to provide monthly training for staff members on the new rules for submissions and any changes in codes. This can prove especially beneficial for those who submit to insurance companies for payments. In the end, as a result, you'll receive payments quicker and free up many hours that you can dedicate to the care of your patients.
Improving Patient Care
A visit to the doctor's office these days is usually about fixing a current problem. Most doctors simply ask their patients what's wrong and about any symptoms they may have. Then, the doctor either prescribes medication or refers them to a specialist. A new approach by doctors to improve their patient care is the adoption of integrative medicine. Instead of simply treating their current condition, doctors now find out more about their patient's lives and lifestyles. It enables doctors to play a more active role in the overall management of their patients’ health and wellness.
The Human Element
One of the complaints patients most often have when going to the doctor's office is the long wait in a less than desirable environment. Many doctors, even those in practice for decades, have at best a make-shift waiting room that is in desperate need of a makeover. The lighting is inefficient; the area is dull and outdated. Thankfully, a few changes to the space will make a world of difference that will pay off in content patients. Introduce the human element by updating the chairs, improving lighting and putting up a few pictures on the wall is a good start. You want patients to come in, sit down, and wait their turn without checking the clock every 3 minutes. Newer waiting rooms have comfortable chairs and seating areas, flat-screen TVs and a vast assortment of modern magazines.
The primary care doctor is a necessary fixture that provides comfort to people who live in their community. Luckily, if you are a doctor who wants to keep your practice open, there are ways to cut costs and improve the quality of care of your patients.