As technology improves, Americans are growing accustomed to increasingly cheap, fast and convenient services: Amazon delivers packages for free within two days; Uber offers fast and readily available transportation in most US cities; AirBnB delivers convenient and cost effective overnight hospitality. The healthcare industry, however, seems to still be mired in the 1990s world of faxes, outdated software and lots and lots of paper. In the end, the result of these outdated administrative processes is a poor service model.
Poor service at a doctor’s office is something most of us have experienced. A study by the Commonwealth Fund found that 52% of Americans could not “get a same- or next-day appointment with their provider when they were sick.”1 Once at the doctor’s office, the average waiting time is over 19 minutes according to the Physician Wait Time Report by Vitals.2 Practices with less access and longer waiting times will experience greater patient dissatisfaction, which ultimately may hurt their bottom line.
Administrative headaches may also lead to a lower standard of care. According to a Harvard Business Review article, doctors spend about 60% of their time seeing patients while 40% is spent on administrative tasks like completing paperwork and hunting down information.1 Today, physicians are encouraged to see more and more patients to cover overhead. As doctors rush to cover a packed schedule while forced to use antiquated administrative processes, the standard of care falls.
To improve business processes and speed up service times, leading healthcare organizations are using outsourcing to help create an efficient and profitable practice. BPO companies can provide a standard of service that puts the patient’s needs first. Innovations in tracking patient experience, managing insurance eligibility and providing 24/7 call support take the burden off the physician and their staff so they are free to provide the best care possible.
At ePlanet, our ultimate goal is to allow our clients to spend more time with their patients and less time performing administrative functions. By eliminating administrative work that provides no value to the patient, we are seeing benefits for both the patient and the practice. Outcomes of our services include increased patient satisfaction and retention, due to shorter waiting times and greater access, and increased efficiency leading to a reduction in operating expenses.
Services of a BPO company offer a cost effective way to reduce miscommunication, limit errors and improve efficiency. According to a Harvard Business Review survey of athenahealth’s network of providers, while 4.4% of physician appointments were reported as “available,” only 17.5% or appointment slots were filled, suggesting a huge disconnect between what current appointment management systems reflect and reality.1 Lack of access not only frustrates the patient, but causes the practice to lose money. In fact, $750 billion a year is wasted in the healthcare industry due, in part, to errors like this.
A good BPO provider will utilize analytics and technology to identify errors, making the process as seamless as possible. These innovative services allow you to continually monitor your practice for ways to increase volume and profitability while, at the same time, improving the patient’s personal experience.
In addition, with the advent of the Affordable Care Act and other new regulations, BPO companies can help healthcare organizations meet new requirements.3 New healthcare regulations can prove challenging to comply with at an administrative level. Outsourcing can help by gathering and analyzing the data needed to comply, helping clients meet deadlines and earn incentive payments as opposed to being hit with fines for non-compliance.
Managing healthcare costs through creating efficiencies and eliminating waste is becoming more and more important as the baby boomer population ages and healthcare costs skyrocket. According to Dr. Bruce Chernof, we will be living longer “with chronic medical conditions and some level of functional challenge” while still wishing to live independently and as we choose.4 In order to move towards a more efficient, cost saving model, the healthcare industry will need to adopt the business tenets of Uber, AirBnB and Amazon. This approach relies on data-driven metrics to deliver people-centric services that benefit both the patient (or customer) and the service provider.
About Asad Khan: Asad Khan is the President and founder of ePlanet Communications Inc. Being a founder and co-founder of multiple companies around the globe, ranging from banking to digital distribution, venture capitals, nutraceuticals, logistics, and BPOs, Khan is well versed with the dynamics of business trends and specifically the value in Business Process Outsourcing.
1. Bush, Jonathan, and John Fox. "Bringing the Power of Platforms to Health Care." Harvard Business Review. N.p., 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.
2. Rappleye, Emily. "How Long Is the Average Wait at a Physician's Office?" Becker’s Hospital Review. N.p., 26 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.
3. Bisk. "3 Big Ways BPM Is Being Used in the Healthcare Industry." Villanovau.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.
4. Chernof, Bruce. "Valuing The Person, Not Just The Patient, In Health Care." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Nov. 2016. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.
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