Why are Scheduling Operations Important to Optimization?
Scheduling Inaccuracy vs. Healthcare Optimization
Scheduling operations go hand-in-hand with healthcare optimization. But if there is much room for improvement, sometimes scheduling can actually work against the goals that the practice is trying to meet. It’s important to find a balance between patient care and the practice’s goals. A practice always wants to make sure providers are – as we say – the right kind of busy. The provider’s time is valuable and it’s crucial to have their clinic set up to run as efficiently as possible so that they can provide the best possible care to each patient.
There are many challenges that practices face when trying to create an effective scheduling team. Providers have many different rules for what types of patients they will treat, what insurances they accept, and many other individual preferences. These lists can sometimes fill binders or create what Opargo calls the “Sticky Note Matrix.” The preferences are ever-changing and can be very difficult to keep up with. Most of the time, it can make a person feel as though they are chasing their own tail.
Because of these challenges, scheduling operations needs healthcare optimization in order to more efficiently run a practice. Opargo does this by making sure high need patients don’t go to a practice down the street. While every practice’s goals might be different, treating patients that need care the most will always be something they have in common.
So, how does Opargo help to optimize?
Scheduling impacts more than just which appointments go in which time slots. If the patient is not scheduled correctly, their care and the practice’s revenue could be highly impacted. Patients will sometimes end up on the wrong schedule, get booked for the wrong appointment type or with the incorrect provider. This can affect when the patient gets seen as well as the revenue a practice receives from the visit. It can also contribute to a higher no-show and reschedule rate which can leave holes in the provider’s day. Opargo looks at past data to pinpoint where these issues happen. Allowing for double or triple books where these are common could reduce last-minute changes in a provider’s day.
Before and After Opargo
Before Opargo, practices are doing their best to keep up with the needs of the patient, as well as the rules and goals of the practice. Scheduling teams are busy getting the patient on the books while keeping in mind all of the provider rules and preferences. Providers can become upset that their schedules have too many, not enough, or the wrong types of patients. Administration does their best to make sure that all providers are booked correctly based on their stated rules or preferences. The administrators of a practice get called daily to the clinic to discuss what was not scheduled correctly, creating a seemingly endless cycle of unhappiness.
What I’ve seen after Opargo has been implemented is a wave of calmness over the clinic. The schedulers are able to confidently schedule a patient, allowing them to throw out all of the rules that were in their original binder or on their sticky notes. They are now baked directly into the backside of Opargo. It’s easy to see clinics filling up with optimized appointments which then reflects positively on revenue. Providers, along with their administration teams, start to really understand the most optimized way to tailor the schedule templates so that not only the high-need patients receive care, but also the providers’ goals are met. It is truly amazing that in one click Opargo’s engine is looking at provider rules, analyzing your practice’s past data, as well as the future goals and giving the scheduler a perfect list of appointments that would best fit all those needs.