Doctors are particularly sensitive to administrative burdens. In addition to patient care, doctors spend nine hours per week on administrative tasks (16.6% or nearly one-sixth of their time), according to a study published in the International Journal of Health Services. But how efficient are their efforts?
According to a comprehensive report commissioned by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the US spends 17.8 percent of its GDP on healthcare. In Australia, it’s just 9.8 percent.
Another comparison to consider: On average, administrative costs account for three percent of total healthcare spending in OECD countries. In the United States, administrative costs jump to eight percent.
What's driving high healthcare costs? High administrative expenses. The OECD acknowledges that implementing healthcare technology is key to boosting organizational efficiency. With the right tools and technology solutions, physicians can deliver patient care more safely and efficiently, resulting in better patient outcomes, reduced stress, and improved job satisfaction.
These are just a few ways advanced technology solutions can support physicians. This article looks at four ways technology can help physicians make their work more efficient.
How technology can help reduce administrative burden for practices and clinics
While there's a certain learning curve associated with any new tech tool, clever practice management solutions help reduce admin burden, significantly ease physician burnout, improve productivity, and greatly streamline documentation - all in one package. Let's take a closer look.
Revenue management and billing
Billing and insurance are the most cost-intensive administrative tasks for healthcare practices, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). Researchers found that processing billing for the average primary care visit takes 13 minutes and costs $20. Meanwhile, the paperwork required for an inpatient surgical procedure skyrockets to 100 minutes and over $210. Billing errors make this situation even worse.
To improve billing processes and integrate revenue management functionality into electronic health records, healthcare executives are turning to payment management software. This software can reduce billing errors, manual work, and inefficiencies. Organizations can use integrated payment management software to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and better serve their patients.
With ExpertBox’s payment management functionality, healthcare providers can easily take clients’ payments and simplify billing. First, you can embed a payment gateway directly into your practice’s website booking page to get paid instantly.
When someone books an appointment, an invoice is sent automatically — no need to chase payments! And you can clearly specify refund terms, so there's no confusion if someone cancels.
The payment management functionality also reduces administrative burden by quickly accessing all your financial history to view and download receipts if needed.
Stress is an inevitable part of being a doctor. While some stress is healthy, the law of diminishing returns applies if stress persists for too long or becomes too severe. Burnout can occur quickly when healthcare workers are frequently subjected to high anxiety. It can cause depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, depression, and suicidal thoughts. To keep up with the challenges of their practice, doctors must be able to rely on a solid team.
There's another reason why stress adds to poor team management. The team of researchers led by Harvard Business School calculated that physician burnout costs the healthcare industry $4.6 billion annually. There are many reasons for this, including reduced hours, physician turnover, and the cost of finding and hiring replacements.
Physicians face daily challenges in providing care to their patients, and burnout may be from increased stress levels in overworked physicians. Additionally, the healthcare system mandates physicians to keep a meticulous record of their physician-patient encounters along with clerical responsibilities. Physicians are not well-trained in managing clerical duties, and this might shift their focus from solely caring for their patients.
An effective team management strategy can identify and prevent burnout symptoms early. Having the right resources in the right places can help physicians do their jobs more efficiently and reduce stress. In addition to reducing administrative burden, team management solutions potentially minimize burnout.
To succeed, healthcare teams must be able to interact interdependently while maintaining a common purpose and work together towards measurable goals. They must also encourage having honest discussions and utilizing problem-solving techniques.
Team management functionality in next-gen practice management solutions such as ExpertBox helps physicians and other practitioners create and manage teams by:
- Defining clear roles and responsibilities to avoid conflicts
- Having a complete understanding of what each team member is allowed to do within the workspace
- Promoting teamwork and delegating responsibilities to team members
- Effectively optimizing team workload by managing team availability, profiles, assigned services, and scheduled appointments
- Allowing doctors to encourage discussions and watch video recordings of all meetings held within the workspace to share feedback and suggestions on how teams can improve.
Appointment booking and scheduling
Stemming from team management, appointment scheduling is another technique to reduce the administrative burden on healthcare professionals.
Patients' experiences play a pivotal role in healthcare organizations. Satisfied patients benefit the organization's clinical, financial, and research missions. Keeping patients in control of their care is one of the key drivers of patient satisfaction.
Control comes from finding a physician or specialist a patient is comfortable with and being able to manage appointments online. Patients can have greater control over their care with online scheduling capabilities, reducing the administrative burden on clinicians.
Using advanced practice management software such as ExpertBox, patients can schedule appointments when convenient for them. At the same time, physicians can utilize the scheduling and booking functionality to tailor and manage the schedules patients see. For example, physicians can:
- Have complete control over which times, services, and team members are available on the schedule
- Adjust personal or team daily and weekly availability in just one click
- Add extra time before and/or after appointments to give enough time to prepare or regroup
- Set a minimum scheduling notice to avoid unwanted last-minute changes
- Assign specific experts to specific services or appointments
- Send out appointment confirmations and reminder notifications to drastically reduce no-shows
Discover how to boost your practice's bottom line and reduce patient no-shows. Learn about best practices for reducing no-shows in our blog post.
Telemedicine solutions such as remote patient monitoring, virtual clinical trials, and virtual appointments have numerous benefits. Telemedicine can expand a single physician’s scope. Patient care can improve and become more available to underserved areas by connecting patients or their doctors with specialists in another location.
With telemedicine, patients and insurance companies can reduce the cost per visit. Telemedicine can also save doctors’ time by allowing an assistant to screen the patient before transferring the call to a doctor.
Implementing telehealth allows physicians to boost productivity and save time without constantly traveling for face-to-face communication. You can still have genuinely interactive meetings by adding visual content and screen-sharing capabilities to your telehealth appointments.
Healthcare providers and patients can exchange messages while on a call and ensure that the chat history is always saved in one place and is searchable. The software allows you to transfer text information directly during a video call while keeping everything secure due to Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.
To discover many of the telehealth benefits and the opportunity it has to reduce the administrative burden on physicians and clinical staff, read our recent article: Why Clinics Should Embrace Telehealth Right Now | Top 8 Reasons.
Administrative burden is a significant issue in the US healthcare sector. Thankfully, healthcare providers can reduce the administrative burden with technology.
However, this isn’t an overnight solution. Implementing telehealth requires providers to educate everyone in their practice about the benefits of embracing technological tools to improve patients' medical care. Automating workflows is another sensible way for medical organizations to increase efficiency while improving healthcare services and reducing costs. Healthcare leaders must reduce the administrative burden on their physicians wherever possible.
Administrative burden should not dampen your success. Request a demo today to learn more about how ExpertBox software solutions can help reduce the administrative strain on your organization’s doctors and encourage a culture of employee engagement from which all clinical staff can benefit.
Technology helps improve work processes in many ways. In particular, you can reduce the work burden by:
- Streamlining revenue management and billing
- Simplifying team management and encouraging feedback
- Implementing online appointment scheduling by patients and simplifying cancellations
- Moving to virtual care and telehealth when possible
Many argue that telemedicine solutions prevent the establishment of trust, which is essential in doctor-patient communication. But over time, telemedicine is bound to change the way healthcare works. In the future, patients and their doctors will decide what type of appointment is appropriate.