Quality Where it Counts -- Focusing on Care & Patient Satisfaction

Posted by Michael Renzi, DO, FACP on Dec 20, 2016 1:59:00 PM

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Hispanic male doctor with male patient.jpgThe amount of change hitting the healthcare industry is enough to make any provider dizzy. For primary care providers especially, implementing and optimizing new workflows and
technology to capture every healthcare dollar you’ve earned can easily make you lose focus on the single most important aspect of your practice: patient satisfaction.

New alternative payment models (APMs) are supposed to refocus patient care by incentivizing for the quality and cost of care delivered. To succeed in the new healthcare world, providers need to ask themselves: how can they help their local healthcare network deliver high quality care to their patients, when and where the patients need it, at the right price? We’ve put together a list of three key factors to help providers—and patients—make the most of APMs.

  1. Cultivate an excellent preferred provider list. Providers have to be able to trust their partners—oncologists, orthopedists, cardiologists, and the like—to deliver the kind of care that meets established quality standards. Focus on cost and quality in the referral network and make sure accurate physician documentation is in place to support every treatment the specialist is giving patients.
  2. Focus on access. Provide the same access every day, and give patients the ability to speak to a provider 24/7 though a qualified calling center. Many patients now hope for, or even expect, same-day access to providers, electronic access to health data and care teams, and an appealing aesthetic across offices. Studies have shown that implementing an effective and well-balanced open access solution can help more effectively engage more patients. Developing approaches and standards for engaging with patients using multiple channels will help engage the patient as a customer and make them feel like a part of the care team.
  3. Don’t let process get in the way of customer service. This requires some critical changes. For example, consider staffing the phones to an on-hold wait time of less than 60 seconds. Providers should call their own practice weekly and see how long it takes the staff to answer the appointment line. If providers lack the ability to bring more staff on, look to increasing the capacity of existing staff by improving workflows and ensuring everyone is operating at the top of their capabilities.

These factors all raise a question—how can practice leaders invest the right amount of time and energy to ensure these things succeed? The truth is, they can’t afford not to. New APMs are designed to help increase margins, but that’s dependent on effectively reinvesting part of your value-based revenue back into your practice infrastructure and staff.

Black male doctor with female patient.jpgLook for ways to invest in innovative processes and workflows in addition to new technology. With every single decision you make as you transform the practice, ask: will this improve the quality of care delivered to the patient and give them a positive experience? If the answer is anything less than a resounding “yes,” rethink that strategy.

For more about how to build the top of capability practice and industrialize the healthcare system, take a look at our recent white paper, “Industrial Strength: Powering the Next Generation Physician Enterprise”.

To learn how our value-based team can help your practice operate at peak performance, please call (856) 782-3300 x2419 or email us at info@challc.net.

Topics: quality of care, patient experience


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