With the worst of the COVID pandemic (hopefully) in the rear-view mirror, healthcare providers are picking up the pieces of one of the worst disasters any of them have ever witnessed. While physicians, nurses and medical technicians are trained to have a comforting and professional bedside manner, the pandemic changed everything for both the medical staff and business staff. As one healthcare marketing expert noted, “During COVID, providers were no longer just experts — they became patients, facing the same uncertainties as everyone else.”
The entire healthcare industry was literally traumatized by the effects of the COVID crisis. This caused many physicians, practice managers, hospital, and clinic management along with everyone else in this “ecosystem” to rethink their standard operating procedures. Many have realized the critical function that technology, such as custom software development, plays in getting healthcare back on its feet again!
Diagnosis: Personnel Burnout Can Be Crippling
According to James Rock, a Senior Consultant at Asinpa, “Nowhere is the Great Resignation more troubling than in the healthcare industry. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the number of healthcare workers in the US dropped 2.7% since the beginning of the pandemic. This created a lopsided patient-nurse staffing ratio that is accelerating the burnout rate of medical workers still working in the health sector. “While better Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions will not completely resolve burnout in the industry, the use of appropriate technology will reduce workplace stress by increasing efficiency and decreasing the time to manage patient records accurately, improving the quality of patient care.”
Gustavo (Tavo) Vasconcelos, founder and CEO of Asinpa adds, “The primary problem facing healthcare providers today is attracting and retaining good employees. This starts with a smooth application and hiring process that provides good communication and feedback, impressing candidates and creating a positive experience from the beginning.
“Once hired, providing flexible schedules, and promoting valuable company benefits will encourage employees to take advantage of those offerings, improving retention by reducing stress and preventing burnout. Each of these critical parts of the process can be managed by a good custom HCM solution.”
Efficient Patient Management is Key
Those professionals who work in the “trenches” of healthcare delivery know how challenging the management of data can be. Many patients have traditional or federally sponsored insurance coverage, and these “payers” have rigorous policies and regulations that must be met by the healthcare providers.
If an “I” is not dotted or a “T” is left uncrossed, patients are potentially liable for making payments that should have been covered by insurance. This is terrible for patients who must cover this expense and for the providers who might not receive payments for treatment delivered.
Asinpa’s James Rock highlights why accounting functions – billing and collections – are so challenging for most healthcare providers to manage.
“Incorrect coding and inaccurate data entry introduce potential processing errors,” James said. “This can delay provider reimbursement and increase the chances that something will be overlooked or fall through the cracks.
“Also, the use of more than one system to manage different areas of patient and billing data requires the same data to be entered multiple times, or clunky integrations that are often poorly configured. To add to the problem, often, the personnel responsible for these critical tasks haven’t been formally trained in these areas.”
“Traditional insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP (the federal children’s insurance program) all have policies and procedures that are non-negotiable for healthcare providers,” Tavo notes, “This is one of the bigger challenges facing healthcare providers because claims often get denied due to a perceived lack of documentation, which is up to the insurance company to decide.
“Additionally, national legislation such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what is popularly called “Obamacare,” changed the way providers get paid by moving towards a value-based compensation instead of a traditional payment. This accounting labyrinth is frustrating and potentially harmful to a provider’s profitability.
“Every healthcare specialty is impacted by these management demands,” James notes. “While billing and collection challenges exist in every specialty, certain procedures, such as surgery, are particularly vulnerable to costly mistakes. This is because the patient can stay for an extended period and the sheer number of minutia billing items can be difficult to manage and burdensome on the system.
“Small practices are also more affected because they do not necessarily have the internal resources and expertise necessary to properly manage billing.”
The Asinpa Technology Checkup
The technology experts at Asinpa have extensive experience in technology solutions for healthcare and this is critical when it comes to analysis of the challenges and opportunities of a healthcare technology diagnosis.
“Often, the management of a healthcare provider is aware of the concerns or problem areas their workforce faces,” James noted. “Other times they only have part of the picture. One of the most important exercises we go through is to listen to the provider and his/her business staff very closely. We strive to offer technology solutions that are based on knowing all concerns and understood by everyone involved.
“This is critical information, not only to ensure that Asinpa is able to identify an appropriate solution, but also to give workers the ability to voice concerns and suggestions in an honest way, without fearing repercussions.”