Thursday, February 11, 2010

Babies R' Us?

Economic downturn reduce birth rates. According to the Population Reference Bureau, The Great Depression and the deep recession of the 1970s both saw declines in the numbers of babies born. It may be too early to say whether our current recession will have a similar impact, but considering the of the economy, it may have already begun to influence people's fertility choices. 

Snip Snap
Whats the last thing a guy wants to hear when his 401k has been chopped down to a 201k and his job, along with his with his family's health coverage is on a clif? That his wife is pregnant, with twins. As a result, urologists are noticing an increase in the number of vasectomy consults since November 2008. Many of them due to the fact they don't have the long-term financial security and can't afford to have any more children in this economy. 

Supplemental Income
As the economy worsens, young women are being increasingly drawn to egg donation as a way to make extra money. The average healthy donor in her 20s can expect to be paid $7,000 and $10,000 per donation. The center for Egg Options in Northbrook, Ill., has seen a 30 percent increase in donations over the past year, with some donors coming back up to four times! 

Fertility businesses are seeking creative ways to boost revenue. The LA Fertility Institute had to back off its recent announcement that it planned to offer prospective parents "trait selection" after public denunciation convinced it of the idea's "negative societal impacts." However, the clinic will continue offering sex selection to paying customers.

Random Medical Fact #1

The average person takes about 10,000 steps every day, which over the course of a lifetime calculates to enough steps to circle the planet four times.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to Build Teamwork

Teamwork - one of those concepts that can be hard to implement, but if done effectively creates a level of productivity and efficiency that cannot be matched. The symptoms of this every-man-for-himself mentality include higher levels of turnover, chronic morale problems, higher patient complaints, and lower productivity; all which produce a drag on profit which medical practices today can ill afford.

Developing a staff that is effective, highly functional, and puts practice performance first, is easier said than done. To a large extent, this is due to the fact that a practice a comprised of many small groups of people who work together but perform very different roles. Here are a few tips to get you closer to building that teamwork environment you wished for.

Lead By Example
The first source of teamwork begins and starts from the top down. As practice administrator, you encourage teamwork by modeling good business behavior yourself. There is nothing worse than having someone talk the talk, but not walking it. Teamwork should be approached as a unified front, making it clear to all layers of staff that teamwork is a top priority. 

Positive Reinforcement
Sometimes as administrators we do not see all things happening on the ground. To keep employees accountable to their coworkers, asking each person to highlight or bring to attention things they've witnessed their peers doing in the positive is a great form to reciprocate positive feedback for the work they've done. 

If they receive their evaluation back and they notice they didn't have much positive feedback in one or two of the 10 categories, they might say "I think I do this well, but maybe I could do better." This is meant to be a positive feedback tool to help the employee develop professionally.

Jacks of All Trades
In the quest for better teamwork, the American Medical Association's guide to "Managing the Medical Practice" notes it's also important to cross train your staff to perform multiple jobs. Doing so makes them more valuable to the practice and also gives your employees the opportunity to walk in their coworker's shoes. Train your medical assistants to answer phones, use the computer, check in patients, make appointments, and file charts. The administrative staff should be shown how to take vital signs, chaperone patients to the exam room, schedule lab tests or surgery, and preparing an exam room for the next patient. 

Administrative employees may be a bit harder to cross train with the medical staff, but by doing so they can begin to understand each other's needs and develop an appreciation for the problems that exist on both sides of the invisible line which seems to separate both clinical and administrative personnel. "For fully functioning teams to operate smoothly, employees must understand their own roles and how their roles interact with and affect others." the AMA writes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Paving the Way to Efficient Healthcare

Physicians everywhere are in a rush to see more patients every day. In fact, some are so overworked that they very well end up sleeping on the office sofa to get an early jump on the previous day's paperwork. Such a story was the case with Charles Whitney who states he felt so overworked that he didn't have any emotional energy left for his family.

Whitney decided to change his work habits and make some simple changes to help him provide the care he feels he should be providing. You don't need to to have to implement all suggestions, but a little goes a long way considering you're willing to create sound work habits.

Here are a few items to help you on the road to becoming more efficient and increasing your cashflow:

Use Your Staff
I wouldn't recommend putting all the burden on your staff, but you should definitely make sure your nonphysician staff is trained at completing key tasks that will make best use of your time with the patient. Hilton Family Practice, out of Newport News, VA has developed such a plan in which they trained their nurses and medical assistants to conduct thorough patient histories, resulting in a seeing 40 patients a day, up from a previous of 24 patients a day. Doctors on average now also work 45 hours a week, down from 50; and have now also seen an increase of income per provider by $70,000 a year.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

ROI with Automating the Documentation and Coding Process

As medical practices make the jump towards electronic medical records, they will notice a temporary decline in the ability to see the same number of patients as before. Many factors go into the decreased number of patients, ranging from the physicians' ability and knowledge of computers to the way they govern their patient workflow. All new aspects of your EHR system flow downstream and affect the efficient of your billing and reimbursement.

Even if a physician is very comfortable with computers and has fully grasped their new EHR system, a key hindrance to efficient charting is rooted in the requirement of manual input during and after the patient interaction. Accurate documentation and coding is essential. Unfortunately most documentation systems are manual and even after the documentation is complete the physician must apply the proper CPT and ICD codes to send to the billing office.

Automation can reduce the inefficiencies and human errors that plague most documentation and coding processes, mitigating the risk of lost revenue, and speed the revenue cycle by eliminating the delays that occur due to missing or incomplete documentation. Automation can also reduce costs associated with transcription, chart storage, and streamline your documentation directly to your billing office.

Friday, July 17, 2009

< Hello World! >

To all those, welcome to my blog. This is my first blog entry and I'm sure it will take much time and writing. This will contain many short blogs of the things I read from health & business practice management to information for business startups and much more. I hope you find the information valuable and hope that you continue to come back or subscribe to my blog as I will have a diverse category listing to read from...

I have always wanted to write more and this will give me the chance to do so. Hopefully improving my skills and growing a group of followers to the point that I will some day be able to write my own book. The road is long and narrow, but few are the ones that make the first step.

Lets see where this journey takes me and I thank those that come along for the ride. ;)