A study from the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that EMR and other HIT matters were a central factor in physicians’ increased stress levels and burnout. While technology can bring new learning curves and disciplines, we wonder if it’s the technology driving malcontent or the steady progression of increasing regulation and the associated explosion of clerical activities. A physician’s time is often a zero-sum game, and more administrative responsibilities may steal time from providing direct patient care.
HIT Doesn’t Have to Be the Symptom of an Illness; It Can Be Therapeutic
Providers (ASC’s specifically) often make the minimum viable investment in HIT to remain compliant rather than acquiring the right technology to maximize productivity and improve operating margins. This approach often leads to layers of technology activities that don’t “talk” to each other, redundant processes, and ever-changing administrative functions required to keep the bits and bytes functioning. Oddly, there is nowhere else in a successful practice where you would take a “minimum viable” approach to care. Imagine a minimum viable facility or medical equipment or minimum viable office staff.
“We are so focused on the delivery of care that we’ve treated our HIT as a bit of an afterthought—which has likely cost us in every way from loss of quality physicians and staff to more money than I would care to imagine.”
– Managing Partner of Southwest Network of ASCs
While HIT can positively impact any provider’s efficient operations when executed well in a variety of ways, let’s take a simple look at scheduling. By employing the right scheduling software either as part of or as a bidirectional integration with your practice management system, you can quickly expand schedule accessibility. Surgeons, Specialists, Vendors, and even Patients can have real-time information on complicated and fast-moving workflows to easily book procedures and dramatically reduce the administrative time required to herd participants through phone, email, or other more traditional means. Benefits from an integrated scheduling tool go beyond booking. When one participant is running behind or a patient is running late, real-time alerts can reduce bottlenecks and allow other participants to re-allocate their time accordingly.
Consistent and adaptable scheduling reduces administrative burden, maximizes quality care, and enables physicians to effectively manage their most precious resource — time. It can even enhance staff’s work-life balance, allowing everyone to stay connected even when in hard-to-reach locations.
Three Steps to Making HIT Work for Your Practice
Understanding all the different software applications and how they can benefit your practice is time-consuming and candidly not your core competency. The first step to making HIT work for your practice is making it a priority. Develop a cross-functional HIT team that is responsible for identifying solutions and talk to those vendors. Over time you’ll develop a team of folks well-versed in the trends and opportunities HIT can bring to your practice.
Second, eliminate the “minimum viable” thinking in your approach to HIT. With innovations that use AI to predict outcomes and recommend actions, the opportunities for efficiencies, more time for direct patient care, and even happier physicians and staff are tremendous.
Finally, budget for the investment. These technologies are not inexpensive, but they can provide an impressive long-term ROI. Reduce up-front capital outlays by leveraging creative financing. Think of it as a subscription-type approach where you can always stay on the cutting edge for a predictable monthly allocation. Whether the HIT investment requires equipment, software, or both from one or multiple vendors, a single monthly payment can ease cash flows and preserve capital while the organization is building these new efficiencies.
Lower Your Stress Levels
Increased regulation around the delivery of care has undoubtedly increased the time required to comply and the frustrations of execution. But with a more proactive approach to new healthcare technologies, you can drive greater productivity, enhance the quality of care, and lower your staff’s stress levels.
LEAF Can Help
From national provider networks to local ASCs and multi-line imaging manufacturers to local equipment suppliers, LEAF’s healthcare team takes the complexity out of healthcare equipment and technology investments. We leverage a full complement of asset financing capabilities and extensive capital resources to help make the most of limited budgets, ease the procurement process, and power the growth of equipment sellers nationwide.