Healthcare… a big, broad term with so many things falling under its umbrella. Whether you work in it as a physician, insurance provider, billing professional, administrator, technician, nurse, consultant, attorney, etc… whatever your role may be, we are all seeing and feeling the rough seas ahead. Some would say happily that there has been continual, forward progress, while others will tell you we have taken giant, disappointing steps in the wrong direction. Whatever your feelings or opinions are as to where the industry is heading, I think that we can all agree that it is headed for a very large transition that might not be agreeable to many. This industry has been in a constant state of change and those changes seem to be growing in complexity. So how do we handle all the moving parts? How do we stay abreast? How do we make educated, strategic business decisions to align ourselves with the changes that healthcare is bringing about? These are the challenges that many healthcare businesses and physicians alike will need face in the coming years. A very big transition is ahead of us, but the real question is how do we prepare to embrace and adopt this method of change and properly navigate the rough waters ahead.

My strategy focuses on four core ideas that help to keep my business on course throughout any transition:

1. Build your bench: You need to have educated people surrounding you and acting as a sounding board for all of your ideas and suggestions. Have these people in your back pocket; resources that don’t mind a quick call or an email. Make this bench in and out of house. People that you pay and ones that you don’t. They may not have experience in healthcare at all, but they can offer sound advice and suggestions that you can take anywhere. Don’t reinvent the wheel, bring in talent, people that know what they are doing and can help you streamline processes and educate you about what might happen next. Work smarter, not harder.

2. You get what you pay for: It may be tough right now to swallow another expense…..but the truth is you do get what you pay for. Whatever project that you may be working on (adopting an EHR, an office remodel to help in patient flow or even hiring that next employee), don’t shortcut it. You will pay double in the end. The cost in both time lost and money to train and then re-train, due to a wrong hire, is waste that cannot be afforded. Hire the best, expect the best and get the best.

3. Embrace technology: Educating yourself on all that is out there in the world of technology can be very overwhelming. However, finding exactly what you need for your practice is important and can add an entire new dimension of ease and efficiency to your daily workflow. I am currently getting ready to work on my 5th EHR adoption in the last year and this adoption will be with all iPads. My second project that is about to begin is the design of an electronic front office/check-in kiosk for a large 6 doctor practice. All with the goal of increasing the ease of patient and practice flow. Look for technology that will add value to your workflow, eliminate waste and increase productivity.

4. Think LEAN: A great example that we, at PMDS, had was the introduction of a single scanner at each of our client sites, solely dedicated to medical billing related documentation. When we were defining our inefficiencies in one of our LEAN projects, we found that we could save PMDS and our clients thousands per year in supplies, staff time, courier fees, and postage, all while making administrative documentation electronic and shared. This was just another process that was overlooked and wasn’t being handled by technology. Something as simple as the addition of an $800 scanner to each of our client sites, proved to create tighter integration in process management and offered reduced costs to every party involved.