You want to grow your medical practice. You want to have it run as efficiently as possible. You know that the best way to do this is to set up systems that allow you to automate much of what is done in your office. However medicine is different from most businesses. The doctor patient relationship is a highly personal one. Introducing automation into this relationship may feel as if takes away some of this personal touch. So how can you maintain the appropriate doctor-patient relationship while automating your practice so that runs efficiently and you can grow it to be extremely successful?
Determine what can be automated
First decide which areas of your medical practice can be automated. Obviously the direct doctor-patient relationship cannot be replaced by a machine or process. However there are many processes that occur in your office that can be automated and therefore done more expensively and more efficiently.
Break your practice down into general parts.
Look at each area of your medical practice from the reception, to the nursing interaction, to the doctor-patient interaction, to check out and even the billing and follow up. Make a list of all of the processes that each of these areas perform, with an eye toward which processes would be most easily automated. For example, one of the tasks of the front office staff may be to call patient and remind them of upcoming appointments. Look into ways to automate this process either through automated telephone calls or online reminders. Determined two or three automation that might work in each of the departments of your practice.
Implement your changes
Next review this list of procedures and decided to implement one procedure in each of your departments, from reception to clinical to financial and collections. Depending on the process you may implement this in a complete manner or just partially. For example in the clinical area you may try to automate the follow up on laboratory results. Rather than automating the entire process, test it out on a small number of patients. Perhaps the patients with normal results can be contacted automatically initially, until you work out the kinks in your process
Analyze and make adjustments
The final step is to analyze the processes after they are implemented and make the necessary adjustments to fine-tune their efficiency. For example if you decided to institute an automated calling system to remind patients of their upcoming appointments, you need to follow up on the no-show rate. It makes no sense to save money on staff time by not having them do the phone calls, if your no-show rate has increased considerably. Determine which processes are working well and which are not. For the systems that are not working as well as you plan, do not simply abandon them. Determine which parts of the process can be continued to be automated and which parts need to be adjusted to work in a more efficient manner. During this analysis be sure to get input from staff and patients to see their overall satisfaction with the automated process.
It may not be possible to automate your entire practice. It may take a little creativity to adapt automation to the medical model. However it is possible to use automation to improve your practice’s efficiency and improve your lifestyle. How have you used automated processes in your medical practice? How have they been received by your patients and staff? Let us know by commenting sharing below.
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