Four Ways to Increase Medical Practice Revenue
Medical practices and health system face obstacles with patient access and physician shortages so they need to be smart with how they manage their schedule. By correctly managing the schedule is the best way one can increase medical practice revenue. That’s why we focus on missed patient appointments, reducing patient no-shows, and physician utilization. All of this tied together makes up Unscheduled Provider Capacity (UPC), which is defined as open appointments in a provider’s schedule where a provider is available to see a patient but no one is scheduled.
Filling missed appointments represents an important opportunity to increase medical practice revenue. These open times on your providers’ schedules result in unrealized revenue, and cost healthcare companies roughly $150B annually. They also represent a lost opportunity to shorten patient wait times, one of the biggest patient complaints.
There are two ways UPC happens.
- Front office staff did not book patients appointments in an appointment slot due to a staff oversight, lagging demand, or provider preference.
- A patient appointment was cancelled or a patient no-showed.
Four Ways to Increase Medical Practice Revenue by Filling UPC
This is the most manual process to fill UPC and requires staff to call patients who want an earlier appointment. The idea is simple, but the execution is hard. Asking an already overworked staff to call patients (who don’t answer their phones) to try and fill appointments with a short lead time. If your staff does get a patient on the phone it takes an average of 8 minutes to reschedule their appointment. One customer reported it taking 14 phone calls to fill a cancelled patient appointment. Moving that patient earlier, just created another appointment that needs to be filled. This process is not scalable. Some EHR’s offer options to help alleviate the burden of managing a waitlist by flagging patients who want to be seen earlier but 90% of practices who have waitlists, do not use them daily.
The Patient No-Show List
another manual process designed to fill UPC. Staff keep the no-show list consisting of patients who no-show appointments. Practices attempt to fill the UPC with no-show patients. Schedulers find the patient no-show list very ineffective and inefficient. Front office staff still have to call the list, but the patients are generally not as eager to be seen when compared to those who request to be on a waitlist.
This is what I would consider the most passive way to reduce UPC, when patients call to schedule an appointment, always check to see if there is any UPC available and when patients request an earlier appointment, ask them to call back each morning to see if anything has opened up. This can cause a big increase in call volume and creates extra work for both your staff and your patients.
Autonomous Patient Access/Healthcare Schedule Management
Healthcare Schedule Management solutions will manage the patient in the time between when the appointment is scheduled and when the patient comes in for their visit. Autonomous Patient Access scheduling reduces UPC by monitoring your scheduled 24/7 and identifying UPC. These online scheduling solutions query patients appointment booked further in the future. They then find the patients that are the most eligible to fill the open appointment. Then, the scheduling solution texts eligible patients, the first patient to respond claims the appointment. The Autonomous Patient Access scheduling solution will then move the original appointment into the new appointment opening in your EHR and send a confirmation to the patient. Autonomous patient access solutions do not require any staff involvement, automatically improving patient access.
Your schedule should be fluid. When patients are dropping off or moving there are patients to fill that UPC. With the nation facing a provider shortage and patients demanding more, you need to make sure you are maximizing every minute of the day.