1. Keeping Up With Modern Compliance
One of the most expensive and time consuming problems physicians are facing in 2015 is being in compliance with all the new laws and regulations that started this year. Whether it is the new OSHA regulations, switching over to ICD-10, or HIPAA training, these are all necessary and costly regulations to implement and follow.
The Cost of Being Non-Compliant
The American Medical Association estimates that ICD-10 implementation alone could cost anywhere from $56,639-$226,105 for small practices! Not only do you have to pay for training and testing, but it also costs you time that could be better spent treating your patients.
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Even if an employee doesn’t know they are committing a HIPAA violation you can still be fined anywhere from $100 to $50,000. Something as simple as, say, taking a picture with a patient file in view can end up being a very costly mistake. Make sure your employees are fully aware of all HIPAA guidelines in order to stop them from accidentally sharing patient information and costing you money.
2. Rising Costs
Every year your overhead increases. Whether it’s because employee salaries rise, rent goes up, or insurance costs keep getting higher, these are all things that should be accounted for every year. So what is different in 2015?
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
According to a study done by the Urban Institute, in 2015 doctors will face an average of 42.8 percent reduction in fees for primary care services under the ACA. That is almost a 43% loss of revenue per patient!
Compliance Training and Implementation
As I mentioned above, switching over to ICD-10 could cost small practices up to $226,105, medium practices $824,735, and large practices as much as 8 million dollars. These costs are for just one of the regulations practices have will have to comply with this year. When you add in new HIPAA training, switching over to electronic health records, and other changes this year the costs really start adding up.
3. Stressed Employees
No matter the job employees are always going to have some amount of workplace caused stress. However, jobs in healthcare are generally more stressful than average for a variety of reasons. According to a study by Cochrane, being over stressed at work may lead to distress, burnout and psychosomatic problems, and deterioration in quality of life and service provision.
First, there is a lot on the line if you make a mistake. Your patient’s health could suffer, you could get sued, or you could even lose your ability to practice medicine. Second, many healthcare workers feel responsible for many different roles in their workplace. Because of this they may feel like they are being stretched too thin, leading to stress. Finally, working long hours on your feet all day is very physically demanding.
How Can Physicians Avoid These Problems?
So now that you know what the top three problems physicians are facing in 2015, how can you avoid or fix these problems?
In order to reduce the amount of money spent and time wasted training and implementing compliance training, you should consider hiring a low cost 3rd party who specializes in this process. By doing sooner rather than later you will save money and time by being able to test and work out any kinks in your new systems.
The most important thing to keep in mind when looking to lower your overhead is what NOT to do. Namely, do not fire employees just to keep costs down, do not cut corners on patient treatment, and do not overwork your employees.
What you should do is find the most cost effective ways to refine your current processes, try to save money on compliance training, and consider expanding your current office hours. Not only would this let you take on more patients, but it would also be more convenient for your current patients.
Changing work schedules (from continuous to having weekend breaks and from a four-week to a two-week schedule) reduced stress
According to the Cochrane study mentioned above, the most effective way to reduce workplace related stress is to change work schedules. For example, going from a continuous schedule to having weekend breaks and from a four-week to a two-week schedule seemed to reduce stress the most.
The other two less effective strategies are physical and mental relaxation. Some examples would be getting a massage once a week, and practicing meditation. While these are less effective than changing work schedules, physical and mental relaxation still showed a 23% reduction in workplace stress.
What are the biggest challenges your workplace is facing this year? Let me know in the comments!
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