Time is Money… Literally

Time is money is a bit of a cliché, but when it comes to physicians that is often very much the case.  After all, a physician’s main resource is their time and unfortunately for everyone no amount of goodwill or dedication to medicine can change the finite nature of time.  The recent challenges of COVID have shown that utilization and management of time is now more important than ever.

As a continuation of last week’s post about provider efficiency, this week we wanted to focus on the same thing through the lens of 2020, and all of the changes that have emerged because of the pandemic and healthcare restrictions.   

Of course, it’s not only about what’s best for the providers, time management and utilization are often the biggest drivers of schedule availability or lack thereof.  Access to care can impact patients more than anyone.  When patients can’t get in to see a provider they can suffer unnecessarily or even worse, allow their illness or injury to progress.  We’ve all had the importance of early detection and treatment drilled into us for years, but both require open time on a practice’s schedule.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are several things a practice can do to improve conditions for both providers and patients. Getting patients routed to the provider who best meets their needs is key. Misrouting of patients can lead a variety of negative outcomes for the practice and the patient including unneeded delays getting care, patient aggravation, the need for a new insurance referral or loss of the patient to urgent care or the ER. As our blog included last week, there are ways that your practice can begin to improve patient routing even prior to any technology changes or implementations.

The health impact of Covid-19 on the nation is obvious but the impact to the business of medicine can’t be understated either. Staffing challenges related to sick staff or exposed staff quarantining, the constant flux in the ability to perform of elective procedures, patient cancelation rates varying with the latest headlines can all negatively impact the business facet of your organization. We’ve all heard about how “unprecedented” all of these challenges are, but there is some truth to it. It’s important to prepare for what’s to come as best we can without a whole lot of insight as to what that could be. The businesses that do will be the ones that are able to bounce back when this is all over.