Category: Blog

10 May 2016
Reduce your discharge delays

6 Things You Can Do Now To Reduce Your Discharge Delays Dramatically

Things you can implement right away to eliminate the bottlenecks in your discharge process and improve revenues.

We understand that as the CXO of a leading hospital,offering enhanced patient care while maximizing revenues, cutting costs and achieving operational efficiency are some your top priorities.

One of the primary factors that affect the operational efficiency is the delays that occur in the patient discharge process. The average time taken to discharge patients in most hospitals isin the order of 5-6 hours. While the delays seem inevitable at the time of discharge, they are a direct result of poor bed management, lack of proper coordination between the medical staff and lack of efficient planning from the time of patient admission.

The good news is that it can be changed. An efficient hospital discharge system can be as fast as a hotel check out with the right tools.

Here we list 6 process changes you can implement right away to eliminate delays in discharge and admit new patients faster.

1. Efficient billing system

Make sure your discharge process is designed such that consumables and procedures are charged at the time of consumption itself. This will ensure correct and transparent billing without confusion at the time of discharge. Having a centralized billing system between the various departments and facilities will allow easy real-time billing, making this process much easier. Most importantly, your billing department can provide details about interim pending amount at any point that the patient wants to know. Interim bill payments will also ensure that the patient does not ask for a discount at the point of final payment, expediting the discharge process.

2. Electronic charts and medical records

One big reason for delays in patient discharges is the discharge summary completion. Usually, junior doctors fill the discharge summary at the last minute, after the consultant has confirmed patient discharge. Updating the patient file on a regular basis will ensure that the complete information from the time patient is admitted is recorded, allowing faster discharge summary dictation. One way to automate this step is to maintain central electronic patient charts and adopt an efficient EMR system. This will allow the medical staff to update observations, medication, treatment plans etc. directly to the chart making the discharge summary process much easier.

3. Discharge planning during admission

Emphasize on a care plan – even if your clinical team says there may be uncertainty due to variations and a tentative discharge date cannot be put down. A care plan is the planned blueprint of a patient’s medical care that also predicts the expected outcome and tentative discharge date. Things may go a bit out of plan at times, but still everyone in the system is ready for a discharge, which ensures that the time taken is minimal.

4. Improve care coordination

The discharge process is lengthy and requires clearance from several departments once the consultant approves the patient for discharge. This is usually the longest step in the process and on an average takes well over 2 hours. Instead of running from pillar to post getting approval, one way to ensure all teams process discharge fast is to automate. Having an effective hospital information system will connect the various departments in the hospital on a central platform, making the communication between the different departments seamless. When the consultant triggers the discharge, the concerned departments will be notified right away, and can give clearance at the earliest time. This will slash the delays and make it possible to prepare the final bill in a matter of minutes.

5. Better bed management

There is usually a lot of confusion surrounding bed management in hospitals. A new patient who needs to be admitted has to typically wait for hours sometimes before being assigned a bed in the in-patient ward. One way to tackle this problem is to establish a central management system that triggers bed cleaning notice during discharge itself. This way, there is no delay between a patient leaving the hospital and a new patient being admitted. Further, having a centralized bed management system provides a quick snapshot on which beds are available making room and bed assignments to new patients more efficient.

6. Ensure Discharge Medication Reaches the Ward ASAP

Another step in the discharge process that may cause delays is getting discharge medication from the pharmacy. Confirming the discharge in advance and establishing automated inventory management systems in place ensures the excess medication return and discharge medication issue to the wards can be completed well ahead of time, easing out a major bend in the discharge process.

BONUS POINT: Deploy a robust insurance claims management process

Processing insurance claims is often a major area of time delay, and therefore patient dissatisfaction, at hospitals. What many people don’t realise is that the process for insurance claims and patient discharge actually starts right from the time the patient arrives at the hospital. Improving efficiency at each step in this activity by using a hospital insurance claims management solution can go a long way in avoiding delays and ensuring a fast, hassle-free patient discharge.

Patient discharge from the hospital involves both medical and non-medical teams working in tandem to ensure smooth operation. Even minor glitches can result in a very dissatisfied patient in spite of the top notch patient care at the hospital. These tweaks in your discharge process can work wonders for your patient satisfaction and make the operation seamless.

By implementing the above changes in the process and automating a large part of the hospital systems, it is possible to eliminate delays and bring down the entire discharge process to a bare minimum. The exit is as important as the entry.

05 May 2016
Ways to Make Your Staff IT Smart

6 Ways to Make Your Staff IT Smart

Inspiring your team to change habits to improve productivity and increase efficiency.

Hospitals and Labs are so IT dependent and yet sometimes so IT defiant. That is the case with most healthcare delivery organizations. While as a CXO, you are taking your hospital ahead by acquiring state-of-the-art technology and the latest HIS software you are also struggling with a workforce that consists of a mix of the highly tech savvy generation and the non-tech friendly. This is one of the biggest technology challenges that most hospitals are facing today.

While every hospital needs the experience of the non-tech generation, it also needs the energy of the tech savvy workforce.

Here is a list of practices you can adopt in your hospital and turn the tide in your favor.

1. Insist on Internal Collaboration Tools

While communication on paper is comfortable, convenient and something everyone is so used to, send out the message loud and clear in your organization that the management cares for the environment. Insist on the use of Instant Messenger (IM), Emails and Skype etc. for internal as well as external communication.

2. Form Groups with Influencers

Use the complex mix of tech savvy and tech scared workforce to your advantage. Having a workforce with mixed reaction to technology means while some want to embrace the efficiency that IT brings, the others don’t. Form mixed groups from this mixed workforce. Zero in on a tech-savvy employee in each group who is also popular with other employees. Train her to be the trainer. Nothing is more effective than peer learning.

3. Keep it Competitive

Nothing works like competition. Keep the learning environment competitive; in a healthy way. Have ongoing competitions between the groups formed (as suggested in point no. 2) or create a policy to reward employees when they come up with ideas for better use of an existing technology or a cost saving idea using technology. Public recognition is a huge motivator. Just ensure that it is not always the tech savvy employee who wins. If that happens then the whole purpose of the endeavor will be defeated.

4. Make it a Routine

Insist on the dominant use of IT in the hospital and make it a routine. The training provided at the time of acquiring a new technology/ equipment or software should not be a one-time-affair. It should be an ongoing routine with regular post-training tests, checking for effectiveness of the training. Link the post training effectively to the performance and in turn to their appraisal. This will induce an element of seriousness to the whole initiative, and ensure you get the most out of your automation.

5. Train Only For Specific Functional Areas

Ensure you train employees to get IT competency for their specific roles. Making everyone learn everything is sure to discourage people from participating. IT training for your employees should never include something that they are not going to use at work. For example, ensure the front desk staff are trained on the patient registration and billing modules. Even if you are planning to train the employees to multi-task, train them on relevant modules of the software.

6. Do Not Make IT Optional

To make your employees IT smart, the golden practice is to never make the use of IT optional. When given an option, humans always tend to choose something that is already in their comfort zone.Also, it gives a message to the employees that the management is flexible on use of IT in the hospital. Make the system mandatory and don’t send out the wrong message.

Use of IT is the easiest way to adopt time-saving practices and most importantly to effectively combat the shortfall of skilled and efficient manpower in the industry. Making your staff IT smart and will help you streamline you operations better for improved revenues. To know more about automation software, click here.

03 May 2016
losing-revenue-5-16

7 Surprising Ways in Which You are Losing Revenue in your Practice

Simple tips to stop doing things that is taking a bite out of your revenue.

There are multiple ways to improve your revenues. Similarly there are also multiple ways in which practices are losing revenue unknown to themselves. We list out the 7 common things, which in spite of a roaring practice you may or may not be doing that are leading to revenue losses.

A quick glance through this list can sort that out for you. Here you go:

1.Not Having a Website

We don’t mean a fancy and high investment website but a basic website is an essential requirement for your practice.

More than ever, patients are now looking to web for answers to their medical questions. With some good SEO, Google will show your website right on the first page to bring prospective patients to your website – this is your first chance to gain attention. Without the patient stepping into your clinic, you get to tell them about your services, team as well as achievements. It will help if you list the rates and most importantly a simple form that will help the patient schedule an appointment.

2.Not Having Referral Tie-Ins

Why not be the referrer than the referred? Complete patient care is not something that starts and ends with a visit to the clinic. Develop tie-ins with all kind of service providers that your patients may require. Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Pathologist, Optometrist and many more. The revenue that comes in from the referrals is what you are missing. Go for it.

3.Not Expanding Your Service Mix

If you are an Endocrinologist, you know there are many specialties and super specialties that would be connected with your branch of science. Likewise for all specialties. Expand the service mix of your clinic. Many times a patient coming for a knee ache may want his wife to consult a gynecologist.

4.Not Having a Central Control

You are the brain at your clinic, the big boss. You need to be in the know how of how things are working at every corner in your clinic. There are no controls like numbers. As a practicing doctor, you don’t have a lot of time to spare for administrative concerns, yet you need to have complete control of your operations at your fingertips. A great way to track the day to day operations of your single or multiple clinics is automation. Get an automation solution based on the requirements of your clinic and train yourself to understand what the numbers spell out.

5.Not Keeping an Eye on Inventory

Treat your clinic like a mini-hospital and make sure that you practice all possible inventory control practices. Material is money. Train your staff to keep simple logs to track inventory and make the concerned person accountable for. Check the logs at fixed intervals and also have some surprise checks at times. Make sure that every procured material is accounted for.

6.Not Keeping Strict Financial Practices

Manual billing and manual ledgers invariably lead to mistakes as well as to chances of financial pilferage. When the incoming can be manipulated the outcome can be manipulated too. Get a software solution that suits your clinic’s needs and make sure that patient registration and payment is made through the software only. Every penny saved from pilferage is a penny earned.

7.Not Having an Automated Solution for Patient Registration

A software patient registration solution will not only regulate the financial practices of correct collection and correct deposition, it will also provide greater efficiency in terms of linking online and telephonic registrations, old registration recalls, better time utility and better patient relationships.

These simple tips are the foundation of good business practice and will help you streamline you operations better for improved revenues. To know more about automation software, click here.

27 Apr 2016
clinics-patients

5 Ways to Get Higher Number of Walk-ins to Your Clinic

Top Marketing Tips to Improve your Practice.

It is an incredible feeling to run your own practice, but it comes with its own stress. The pressure to generate more revenue, treat more patients and attain greater presence in your circles is really high. We understand what it means to keep thinking of innovative ways to popularize your practice and spread the word without being too much of a marketer.

While you already are doing great work, offering enhanced patient care, implementing all the right practices and marketing the traditional way, you also know that will not change much – it will not take you flying ahead to beat the competition as they are also doing the same, maybe even better.

We have been studying how some clinics are successfully able to attract more patients than others, and we have come up with 5 marketing tips for you.

1.Get Yourself on Various Directories

There are several service directories which showcase doctors and their services. From the traditional ones like Yellow Pages to the recent online directories like www.practo.com, www.desimd.com, www.doctorsdirectoryindia.com and www.medindia.net, these handbooks list the details of your practices and what you have to offer. These websites are very popular and listing your practice on them with positive feedback from your patients will list you right at the top of any google search, which is what potential consumers do whenever they want to search for anything.

2.Use Social Media Well

The world is on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the likes are the virtual places where you can reach to create brand awareness with potential customers as well as attract good talent. Appearing on social newsfeeds often will go a long way in keeping you in the mind of the users. Interesting posts keep people interested. And people remember useful tips and their source.

3.Invest on Building a Network

Spend time meeting your colleagues and build a good rapport with them. Community meet-ups and events are some of the best places to build a strong professional network as well as to impress the community about your existence as a brand. These also present great situations for you to highlight your skills and achievements. Be ready to talk about your cases and the exemplary work you are doing.

4.Network with Allied Services Professionals

Do limit your networking only to your fraternity. Reach out to other healthcare professionals too. Complete medical care to patients does not only involve doctors. It involves other stakeholders – pharmacists, physiotherapists, counselors, pathologists and many others. Depending on your specialty, network with professionals in allied medical services and form a team – a mutually referring well-established team.

5.Develop Your Presence

Coming in the morning to your clinic, treating patients the whole day and going back home in the evening will develop your social presence. But this is an extremely slow process and might take many years for people to take notice of your practice. There are other avenues you could explore.

Write for your local newspapers, contribute articles to websites that provide content on your area of expertise, connect with your local radio and let them know that you are available for expert opinions or even call-in health shows or write for healthcare magazines. Basically, don’t wait for anyone to notice you and ask you for opinion or contribution. Step forward and offer. This will give you a lot of reach and of course patients too.

Implementing these steps will put you on the map and give a public presence to your practice. Further, streamlining your operations through automation will go a long way in enhancing patient care, allowing you to be recognized for your outstanding service.

Try these simple marketing tips and let us know what worked best for you.

22 Mar 2016
7-ways-770x390-op

7 Ways to Stop Revenue Leakage in Your Hospital

Instant fix to plug the drips affecting your profitability.

Every hospital faces financial leakage in some form or the other which is a cause for losing significant revenue and profitability. You already have enough concerns on your plate ranging from competition to new trends to worry about these process and system issues too. But can you afford to ignore it?

We have studied the common revenue leak points in a hospital and here we list 7 ways to stop revenue leakage from your hospital and make the profit and loss statement look more promising than ever:

1. Get Your Inventory Systemized

We are not just referring to your main store but the sub-stores too wherever material is stored including pharmacy. A proper systematic inventory can show you a lot of trends and help you understand the usage and wastage much more clearly than the ambiguous answers your store in charge or even your operations head maybe giving you. Get the inventory from main store and sub stores automated and ask your IT team for weekly reports.

2. Get a Grip on Your Maintenance Cost

Tighten the approvals of maintenance requests and bills. Let your operations head take all approvals in writing with a reason why the maintenance is required in the first place. You will notice a considerable dip in the maintenance bills very soon. Small drip this is but a continuous one. Plugging this one will go a long way in the P&L statement.

3. Quantify Utilization Rates of Equipment

Make this one a quality indicator, not just in OT or ICU but all diagnostic departments too. A lot of your investment has gone into those state-of-the-art equipment. The HODs of the respective departments may have followed up a lot with you to get your approval to buy the equipment, now make them accountable for the ROI too. Make reports on utilizations rates of heavy equipment mandatory. Target 80% utilization and make your department heads work towards it.

4. Focus on Moving Non-Moving Items

Once your hospital is automated with a simple click of a button you can now know all about your inventory movement. Make sure to get a Non-Moving items report; not just weekly but monthly and also an accumulated report like last 3 months or last 6 months. Get the movement of each item analyzed and take a call on it. It either needs to move within the hospital or needs to move out of the hospital inventory.

5. Say Bye to the Non-Performers

Non-Performers be it material, machinery or men need to be identified, given a chance to perform and in cases of failures be replaced. No one comes to your hospital to work for free; you have to pay a salary and that salary is money. Invest it on the right manpower and resource. Get your HR to design your appraisal system in such a way that you are able to identify your contributors and non-contributors correctly. Be ready to take some harsh decisions once in a while.

6. Put a Cork on Pilferage in all Forms

The message should sound loud and clear in your hospital – taking anything from the hospital for personal use is not allowed, be it a paper clip or whole pad of cotton gauss. Pilferages don’t just happen in the form of stealing money from finances or material from stores in a hospital, it happens in much smaller forms too. The cumulative impact of this may in reality be much more than the financial or material pilferage. Tighten your security to cut pilferages. Your infrastructure should have the least number of outlets and your operations team should be trained extensively. Nothing works like the sense of ownership added with a healthy amount of accountability.

7. Set Tight Limits to Your Credit Giving Policy

Though hospitals work on a pay and take service model, credit giving does become inevitable at times especially with patients from insurance, TPA and government schemes forming a large chunk of your patient inflow. Also while catering to patients from different strata’s of the society credit becomes unavoidable. Formulate a watertight policy about credit and make sure your operations team follows it to the T. A deviation from this policy can cost a lot over a period of time.

Taking all these measures can be quite simple when your hospital is automated. A single screen at the end of the day can give you all the insights you need to stop leakage and manage your operations smarter.  To know more, click here.

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