How to handle a post-Covid dating surge – the smart way

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During the pandemic, most people delayed in-person care that they didn’t feel was strictly necessary. Worse still, cases of chronic diseases have increased during the pandemic: surveys show that millions of us have gained weightcaught on bad habitsdeveloped acute psychological stress and neglected our care in everything from cholesterol checks to cancer screenings. If you’re anything like me, we always catch up on those post-Covid appointments with my GP, dermatologist, dentist, etc.

The good news is that we are starting to show up in droves again at the doctor’s office to address these critical and persistent health issues. The challenge for many supplier groups is managing more capacity than they were built for in the midst of a labor shortage. Sadly, it’s not a short-term problem: ‘Healthcare workers are quitting in droves’, the Atlantic reports, noting that about one in five healthcare workers have left their jobs since the start of the pandemic. Over the next five years, the United States is expected to face a shortage of more than 3.2 million low-wage healthcare workersand that doesn’t even take into account the projection shortage of 124,000 doctors nationwide by 2034.

Keep doctors’ schedules full with the right appointments

For many healthcare organizations struggling with increased demand, provider shortages, overworked staff, and long patient wait times for appointments, solving some of the fundamental problems with Patient scheduling and appointment management can go a long way in alleviating these challenges. The key is to ensure providers’ time is optimized for the best and right appointments on an ongoing basis.

Here are some ways innovative clinics are using smart scheduling technology to maximize physician capacity, ensure physicians are practicing at the top of the license, and optimize physician efficiency.

  • Ensure greater utilization of physicians by integrating contingencies into appointment scheduling. Many provider organizations tell us that they regularly lose between 15 and 30 percent of their doctors’ productivity due to unfilled time, either because they failed to book enough patients in the right conditions to match doctors’ availability or because they lose scheduled appointments due to no shows. Some vendors simply accept this as a cost of doing business. However, implementing dynamic rules to monitor patient populations can help offset this quite dramatically. Knowing which patients are likely to respond to reminders and confirmation requests helps. The same goes for overbookings and carefully and strategically managed waiting lists. Aggregating more patient data, analyzing demand, and carefully building dynamic decision tree automation can dramatically increase the productive use of time to ensure time slots don’t stick around. unused.
  • Incorporate metrics more fully into clinic planning. Most scheduling systems are configured to consider physician time availability as generic, i.e. it does not vary by time of day, day of week, season of the week, etc. year, geographic location or, more importantly, doctors’ rules and preferences. That said, all we’ve learned from working with over 50 million unique patient appointments each year is that these factors do make a difference! Smart scheduling should accommodate specific physician rules and preferences and also anticipate that a physician is often more likely to quickly book time at busy central location A versus rural location B and strategize differently. to fill in the time when the doctor is at location B. Day time can make a huge The difference in patient interest and availability as well, and matching patient preference data with physician rules and preferences allows structuring discrete plans and automation rules to maximize booking in different situations is essential to maximize physician capacity.
  • Build insight into patient needs and likely provider services they will need in planning. A patient with hip pain may benefit from a physiotherapist or a hip surgeon, depending on the clinical characteristics, and sending that patient to the wrong place wastes everyone’s time and money. It is also a loss for the consumer experience, which has been shown to be linked to the perceived quality of care. Instead, build triage directly into the planning process. Gather patient data ahead of time so you know you’ve done everything possible to ensure that an office visit is as helpful as possible for both patient and provider.
  • Save money and add convenience by involving patients more in the appointment process. Talking to a patient on the phone to schedule – and possibly re-schedule – an appointment can cost a clinic $5-8, not to mention taking up valuable administrative time that could be used for more useful activities. Create a digital self-service capability so that your practice’s default strategy is for patients to book and reschedule appointments themselves or with the help of an asynchronous chat. This not only saves organizations money, but gives patients extra flexibility, as many prefer to book after hours, either late at night or early in the morning, when your reservation may not be readily available. An additional bonus? More and more patients are starting to demand this kind of self-service technology. A recent KLAS survey found that 67% wanted the ability to schedule appointments online or through an app, but most healthcare organizations lack the capability.
  • Extend planning to multiple geographic locations and aggregate data from multiple models. As insurance payment and industry compliance rules multiply and the number of medical subspecialties proliferates, many healthcare providers have begun to use highly detailed templates for scheduling appointments. you location-specific for each doctor in their network. That’s fine as far as it goes. But too often, there’s no visibility into location patterns, so managers can’t see if time is available in different locations or in different specialties. Moreover, even when they box see if time is available, they often do not have the necessary and appropriate administrative rights to initiate or modify reservations. A flexible scheduling system with smart rules provides both visibility and access across the organization, while meeting necessary insurance and compliance regulations as well as the clinician’s personal preferences for appointment scheduling . Don’t let your organization become too compartmentalized.

Today, for many healthcare groups and providers, long-term barriers (staff shortages, physician burnout, rising costs, lower reimbursements, increased competition, growing demand, consumption) are front and center. and have an impact on performance and profitability.

For these provider groups, the ability to provide timely, consistent and convenient access to patients in ambulatory care settings has become an increasingly important differentiator. Leveraging state-of-the-art scheduling technology to redefine and reinvent the patient experience has proven to be an important way to delight customers, operate clinics at maximum efficiency, and grow business.
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Photo: Pixel Embargo, Getty Images

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