Staffing costs represent 50-60% of total operating costs for a typical medical practice. In the current era of increasing costs and decreasing reimbursements, a full understanding of staffing analytics is essential for driving practice performance.
Yet, while staffing analytics are critical to understanding the finances of any large practice, very few physicians ever receive training in the use of business intelligence data.
Even graduates of combined MD/MBA or MD/MHA programs rarely receive education on business intelligence as it pertains to the data that can be gleaned from staff schedules.
In fact, these schedules represent a treasure trove of information that practices can use to improve key areas of practice management, including patient care, policy and contract compliance, and efficiency.
1. Patient Care and Liability
Of utmost importance for any medical practice is, of course, patient care. When inefficient scheduling results in short-staffing, patient care is put at risk. The same is true when an inappropriately certified provider is assigned to the wrong case.
These types of scheduling errors represent a substantial liability risk for any practice. Yet, simply by collecting and monitoring the correct staffing data, this risk can be significantly reduced.
2. Union Policies, Employment Contracts, Grant Compliance
Patient care is not the only area where liability risk is impacted by staff scheduling. Large practices are bound to enforce a multitude of union policies and employment contracts, and academic medical centers must also address grant compliance.
By taking control of staffing analytics, a practice is able to use its schedules to stay on top of seniority rules, supervisory policies, as well as academic vs. clinical time commitments. Monitoring of these data is essential to helping a large practice verify its obligations are being met.
3. Practice Efficiency
Practices cannot afford to have exam rooms left empty or to have procedures and exams delayed. Nor can they afford to spend unnecessarily on overtime.
With careful tracking of staff schedules, in conjunction with room and procedure schedules, practices can ensure their resources are being allocated in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible.
The impact of staff scheduling goes far beyond knowing which physician is tasked with which assignment. The reality is, staff scheduling plays a critical role in a variety of practice management concerns, including a practice’s bottom line.