Medical Office Staff Efficiency – A Thought Experiment

Medical Office Staff Efficiency

During our annual company retreat in beautiful Panama City Beach, we split the team up and had a pitch competition. It turned out to be a great lesson how to improve medical office staff efficiency.

The Prompt

You are the administrator of a 10 provider medical practice who is not allowed to hire any other medical office staff, nor work at the medical office yourself. You can build any healthcare technology you want, what would your doctor’s office look like?

I wanted to share some of the ideas the teams came up with and the commonalities we independently arrived at.

The Craziest Idea


One team created a tube delivery device that would enable the office to deliver any inventory or drug instantly to the exam room. It was meant to satisfy patients with quick service and to create a “just-in-time” inventory system. Unfortunately, tubes/hyperloops aren’t there yet.


While the teams differed in their approaches and pitches, there were five main commonalties that came up.

1) The All Powerful, Diagnosing Machine

robots will be one way to enhance medical office staff efficiency in the future

Both teams came up with an all-seeing, all-knowing diagnosing machine. One team came up with a pill ingested at birth that would consistently measure vitals. Another team came up with a wrist band sent prior to the appointment that would accomplish the same thing while eliminating the 5 minutes spent at every appointment measuring vitals.

These tools served third purposes. First, they expand the data available to providers prior to the appointment. That way, the doctor isn’t relying on a snapshot of a person during a 15 minute window. Second, the tool enables diagnoses before a patient knows what’s wrong. Third, it sounds amazing and is very futuristic.

Read about the future with The Definitive Guide to Healthcare Automation

2) Intelligent Voice to Enhance Medical Office Staff Efficiency

Painting Pictures with Words

Voice played a large role for both teams in solving the issue of providers having to enter notes and wasting time in the patient appointment. We aren’t the only ones excited about voice! Voice speakers in the office would allow doctors to record the visit without staring at a screen. Earpieces for the doctors would also feed them 30-60 second summaries of a patient’s last visit before they came in so the doctor is up to speed. Here are startups focused on voice right now.

3) The Reward for Better Medical Office Staff Efficiency: Time with Providers

Maximizing Time is the reward for enhancing medical office staff efficiency

Both teams focused heavily on eliminating steps that got in the way of providers and patients talking. The teams accomplished this by
a) Eliminating note taking for providers via voice recording
b) Dynamically adjusting appointment types durations so patients wouldn’t arrive too early and find a rushing provider
c) Using communication to make sure that patients arrived on time

4) Transparent billing and insurance companies


Both teams tackled the issue of billing and the complexity of dealing with insurance companies. One did this by creating a subscription model that replaced insurance. The other did extensive deals with the insurance companies incentivizing them to share data and records in exchange for simple pricing.

5) Robotics and Medical Office Staff Efficiency


Without staff there, both teams turned slightly to robotics, but not as much as one would think. The robot played the role of a greeter, bringing patients to their room and escorting them out.

A Key Takeaway

Many tools mentioned here are already in the market. Utilizing the right tools to create an integrated solution will pay huge dividends in increasing office productivity.