For any medical practice, there will always be tasks that are not directly tied to generating revenue. However, there are actions a physician can take to improve productivity, ultimately decreasing the chance for physician burnout and increasing overall practice income.
- Explore the Use of a Medical Scribe
According to a study published in the “Annals of Internal Medicine,” physicians spend more time on paperwork than they do talking to patients. Study participants included 57 U.S. physicians in family medicine, internal medicine, cardiology and orthopedics; it measured time spent on four activities: direct clinical face time, electronic health record (EHR) and desk work, administrative tasks and other tasks.
Although there’s a percentage of time providers will inevitably spend on administrative tasks, there are documentation support options to consider. Hiring a medical scribe is a great way to limit time spent on clerical paperwork, resulting in more face time with patients. Additionally, having the ability to spend more time with patients could open the door for a practice to see new patients, increasing practice productivity, and thus, revenue.
- Motivate Employees
It’s no secret that a motivated employee is a more productive employee. In turn, productive employees tend to create a more productive work environment.
Showing gratitude toward employees, even in the smallest of ways, is a good way to keep staff motivated and, thereby, increase practice productivity. According to two practice-management consultants, here are six keys to motivating medical practice staff:
- Encourage and fund offsite training
- Praise publically, correct privately
- Hire slowly, fire quickly
- Take some time to get to know your staff and their jobs
- Avoid nepotism and strive to be fair and consistent
- Improve Patient Communication
As the healthcare landscape shifts toward a focus on value-based care, patient communication is becoming exceedingly important for medical practice productivity. Communicating with patients saves time, and streamlines communication. A few ways to implement a better patient communication strategy include incorporating automated telephone messages, implementing secure text messaging and introducing a patient portal.
Automated telephone and text messages allow a practice to easily send appointment reminders, practice updates and even welcome messages to new patients. Implementing a patient portal can take communication one step further, giving patients the ability to pay their bills online, check into their appointment when they arrive at the office and easily view medical documents. When implementing a patient portal, making the most of the portal is also important, and can result in reclaiming time that medical practice staff can use to focus on other tasks.
Medical practice productivity is imperative to your bottom line. Streamlining documentation methods, motivating employees and improving patient communication are great places to start when looking for ways to do so.