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Provider Scheduling: Sound Practices Support Revenue Goals

At first glance, provider scheduling seems straightforward. A facility has shifts that must be filled, medical procedures that must be performed, on-call spots that must be assigned, or clinic hours that need coverage. But by simply slotting providers into a schedule, the facility misses the big picture, which is that provider scheduling has the potential to support revenue goals.

Optimizing Facility Usage

The move away from fee-for-service models and toward capitated reimbursements makes it crucial to optimize usage of facilities. A JAMA study found that the mean cost of California operating room time was $36 to $37 per minute. Of that, $13 to $14 per surgical minute was attributed to the cost of wages and benefits. Delays can result when the wrong on-call physician is contacted, or the right personnel are accessing an outdated schedule. Those delays can increase costs.

Similarly, clinics can quickly lose revenue by failing to optimize their available exam rooms. Hotel rooms that are not booked for the night are considered “perishable” because a hotelier can never recover the revenue lost. Similarly, a health system or clinic can never recover the revenue lost from an empty exam room and undelivered patient care. In contrast, flexible provider scheduling can ensure optimal exam room usage and increased revenue.

Plugging Patient Leakage

In a recent survey studying patient leakage, 48 percent of healthcare leaders cited competition from other health systems as a significant contributor to patient leakage, followed by lack of staff talent (35 percent). Lack of staff talent can result from hiring practices, staff retention issues, and provider scheduling. For example, if a hospital call center is working from an obsolete on-call schedule, it can take multiple phone calls to find the right physician. In the meantime, the community hospital or ambulance may opt to divert the patient to a competitor. In contrast, real-time schedules can ensure that providers are available to treat every patient transferred to the hospital.

Decreasing Provider Burnout

The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented levels of provider burnout. Medscape’s 2022 Physician Burnout and Depression report found that 60 percent of emergency medicine physicians, 56 percent of critical care physicians, and 53 percent of obstetrics and gynecology physicians reported feeling burned out. A 2021 study found that 49 percent of healthcare workers suffered from burnout. A meta-analysis found that 34 percent of nurses experienced emotional exhaustion.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality notes that offering flexible or part-time work schedules has the potential to reduce burnout among healthcare providers. When a facility or health system is able to reduce burnout, it has a knock-on effect of reducing provider turnover. According to the 2021 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report, the cost of turnover for a bedside nurse is $40,000. A study published in 2022 estimated that turnover of primary care physicians adds $979 million in annual payer expenditures. Of that, researchers attributed $260 million to burnout-related turnover.

When Provider Scheduling is More than a Schedule

All too often, healthcare facilities overlook the role that sound scheduling practices can play in achieving strategic goals. The key to implementing such practices is stellar provider scheduling software. MDsyncNET’s scheduling software enables real-time schedule changes that can be viewed from connected devices within or outside of the facility. It offers the immediacy needed to help prevent patient leakage, the flexibility that enhances provider satisfaction, and the linchpin for ensuring optimal usage of available facilities.

MDsyncNET’s cloud-based provider scheduling software delivers four advantages: low set-up fees, simple to learn, a single source of truth, and painless scheduling swaps. Call 888-506-5061 to see how MDsyncNET can help you integrate provider scheduling software into your facility.


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