Private practices have faced a few tough years. First, the pandemic challenged us all to find new ways to deliver care to patients who could not physically come to the office for an in-person visit. Providers figured that out, and boosted their use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring.
Now, inflation is working to drive up costs, without a balancing increase in revenue or reimbursements. With increased labor costs, utility expenses, and supply shortages, every dollar is tight. In addition to providing high levels of patient care, the American Medical Association (AMA) has identified eight threats facing physician private practices in 2022:
- Increasing administrative burdens
- Low and falling payment rates
- Lack of negotiating leverage
- Costly and challenging recruitment
- Difficulty of obtaining and analyzing patient population data
- Need for increased support from IT partners
- Feelings of professional isolation
- Difficulty transitioning from medical school/training to private practice
In response to these difficulties, many physicians now experience stress and burnout, and some decide to leave private practice altogether. It can be very difficult to increase the patient load to bring in more dollars, so the answer must lie in improving efficiency. Amazing Charts previously provided an overview of “Private Practice Success Strategies for 2022 and Beyond,” but this article looks at specific steps to take in private practice management that can quickly help to boost efficiency.
Why is Practice Management Important?
Practice management is important for primary care providers because it addresses these challenges and looks for solutions that help to manage all of the business aspects of a private medical practice. This may include such diverse areas as information technology, human resources, compliance, finance, marketing and operations. In most cases, practice management involves the use of technology and software to manage these various functions. When the support systems function well, the practice is able to run efficiently, but inefficient systems only add to the level of stress and frustration.
How can Improving Private Practice Efficiency Lead to Growth?
The use of sophisticated practice management software tools to streamline practice systems leads to better organization, and frees critical time for healthcare providers to focus on patient care. EHRs can help to improve patient charting, while other systems provide support in handling patient appointments and staying on top of claims management.
When the day-to-day operations of the business side of the practice run smoothly, patients and providers feel better. This leads to higher levels of patient satisfaction, and opens the door to the possibility of bringing in even more patients. An efficient private practice is one that is likely to not just survive, but also to thrive.
How to Improve Private Practice Efficiency with Patients
AMA has developed a series of Private Practice Simple Solutions, rapid learning cycles that provide opportunities to implement actionable changes to immediately increase private practice efficiency. Topics covered include E/M documentation, team documentation, and recruiting. While these sessions are helpful in providing overall tactics, specific actions private practices can take to increase practice efficiency with patients include:
Create an Easy Charting System
Much time is wasted on inefficient charting methods. Use an EHR that supports your providers with easy-to-use templates and helps gather and input key patient data.
Better Use of Telemedicine Capabilities
During the pandemic, providers and patients learned to take advantage of the benefits of telemedicine and virtual care. Telemedicine saves time for patients and practitioners, by improving communications and making sure virtual visits run smoothly. Many administrative functions can be handled through the system, so the visit itself can focus on patient care, treatment, and education. Better use of telemedicine also means that in-person appointments are more efficient.
Increase Online Efficiency
There is a great deal of information and services your private practice can make available on your website to support the efficiency of the office itself. Use this technology to assist in appointment management and manage administrative tasks such as updating insurance information and completing medical histories. For medications, e-Prescription capabilities can help to make sure medications are updated and filled as necessary. A high-functioning patient portal can enable providers to quickly monitor patient activities and answer questions. Interoperability functions provide for better viewing and sharing of test results and reports from other specialists. An efficient online system reduces time spent on managing telephone calls, and frees up administrative staff to do other important tasks.
Billing and Claims Management
One of the most frustrating aspects of running a private practice is billing and claims management. A fully integrated Revenue Cycle Management service can handle the hassles of billing at an affordable rate, while your practice experiences an increase in collections, a higher rate of claims paid on first submission, and a quicker time to payment with payers and patients. Online payment capabilities can take a lot of the hassle out of collecting money from patients.
Much of the medical world still focuses on redundant and inefficient paper forms to gather patient medical and insurance information. Time is wasted as patients have to complete these forms, and staff members have to either transpose or file the information. This process can easily be adapted by using digital versions of all forms that patients can complete online. Integrate them into your office software so the information is available and accessible.
Quit using your administrative team’s valuable time to manage patient appointments. Automate the booking process so patients can schedule and manage their own appointments, and then send out email or text reminders as the appointment date gets closer.
Key Takeaway for Boosting Efficiency in Your Private Practice
The key takeaway for efficiency is automation – the more efficient a private practice is, the more it can grow. Improving efficiency at your independent practice means that you are finding ways to deliver patient care most effectively. Advances in administrative, charting and communication technology can play a huge role in making your independent practice more efficient, but these systems must be implemented in a way that they integrate smoothly with each other, and reduce the amount of manual labor for staff and providers. With everything that can be done to boost the efficiency of your private medical practice, make sure that the digital tools you use are HIPAA-compliant and provide a solid return on your investment.
Amazing Charts Helps Independent Practices Boost Efficiency
To find the best ways of quickly boosting efficiency in your private practice, look for a provider that understands the needs of small- to medium-size private practices and has an established track record of innovative and helpful digital solutions. Amazing Charts was founded in 2001 by a practicing family physician, who was all-too-familiar with the challenges clinicians encounter on a daily basis.
We have grown consistently by creating easy-to-use solutions specifically designed to boost efficiency. Today, we offer a variety of capabilities to help small, independent practices function smoothly, including Electronic Health Records (EHR), Practice Management, Medical Billing Services, Population Health, Telehealth, and Remote Care. Call 866-382-5932 or visit our website to learn about our products, schedule a practice consultation, arrange a free trial, and find more information on how your private practice can use our technology to boost efficiency and enhance patient care.