Inoculating Your Practice: Immunity Against Changes in Healthcare Laws

Bob Conrad Healthcare

The terms inoculation, vaccination and immunization are often used synonymously to refer to artificial induction of immunity against various infectious diseases. These inoculations are important to ensure people are healthy and don’t succumb to infectious diseases that exist in our world.

Have you ever stopped to think how to inoculate your Practice from the many changes we are currently experiencing in healthcare? With all of the recent changes in the last 10 years, EMRs, MACRA, Meaningful Use, ICD 10, ObamaCare, etc., no wonder many of our physicians are ready to bolt and run. How do you keep up each year?

Do we sit around and do the status quo? Do we allow deadly policy changes to attack us and hope we can survive? Just as we have a list of vaccinations for our children, there are vaccinations that bring immunity to the changes in healthcare policy.

Vaccination of Knowledge

The most often occurring statement today is, “I don’t understand MACRA and I have no idea how it is going to impact my Practice.” There are so many physician offices in this country in the same position. I talked with one office that was very proactive in acquiring the knowledge needed to be ready for the 1/1/2017 changes MACRA brings. They hired an outside expert who understands MACRA and the challenges the final ruling in October brought. This expert helps them understand what they need to do as a Practice and how to put systems in place to identify gaps to ensure maximum pay out for the coming years. If you don’t know something then educate yourselves and find the experts who can transfer that knowledge to your Practice Managers.

Vaccination of Voice

Your employees are the voice of ideas, thoughts, and change. They are the horsepower needed to adapt to changing policies. They see all the maladies that erode patient satisfaction, loss of money, and inefficiencies in your everyday processes. It is important to tap into their knowledge and experiences. Many Practice managers and physicians can be paralyzed by the employee voice if it is not channeled appropriately. It can be very intimidating to ask people what is wrong and ask ‘what do we need to do to change?’. A structured system for channeling this information into a proactive and productive session is crucial for positive change to happen. This drives real change –  the first step to inoculating your Practice from constant changing environmental factors.

Vaccination of Roles

We have worked in many specialty clinics and practice offices across the US helping them improve workflow and focus on increasing the Physician’s time with the patient. We found that roles within the practice are not clearly defined, and employees are not working to the top of their license. Physicians are moving patients, setting up rooms and are inundated with tasks that should be done by other members of the team. Once everyone from the front desk, Medical Assistants, RN’s and Physicians understand their role and how it performs in the process, then we can free up needed time for diagnosing patients.

Vaccination of Planning

The huddle is a very effective method for planning tomorrow’s schedule. Gather your team each morning for a brief meeting. Look over the schedule, note any necessary preparations (any special equipment that may be needed), predictable no-shows, and opportunities for add-ons. Always conclude the huddle with a quick review of the previous day’s mistakes—and how to avoid them in the future. These brief overviews will help instill the spirit of performance improvement that, over time, will become embedded throughout your practice.

There are many other measures that can be taken, but with these 4 vaccinations you can start to inoculate your practice from the many changes that have happened and will happen with healthcare policy.