Monday, April 23, 2007
Overcoming Bureaucratic Costs at the Point of Care
What people mean by bureaucracy, and rightly condemn, is a management that has come to misconceive itself as an end and the institution as a means. This is the degenerative disease to which managements are prone. To prevent this disease, to arrest it, and, if possible, to cure it, must be a first purpose of any effective manager.
Peter F. Drucker, 1909-2005
How can physicians overcome that terribly exorbitant expense,
of complying with rules and regulations without recompense?
That’s a very large, complicated, and hard- to-answer question.
Administration makes up half the cost of each medical session.
But it’s plainly evident,
it’s how well you document.
It’s how accurately and comprehensively you code,
and how you charge for your own practice mode.
It’s how fast you can make your practice flow,
that determines how great your revenues grow.
It’s all about expense and time of data entry,
how patients’ roles can be made elementary.
When patients can electronically create their own histories,
they can document complexity and remove all mysteries.
When patients can swipe an HSA and personal smartcard,
they immediately become part of the consumer avant-garde.
Then the expense of all matters bureaucratic,
May go away in a manner that’s automatic.
What do Walmart, other retail outlets, banks, gas stations, airports, telephone companies, and the Internet share in common?
1) They have the customer enter the data and minimize data entry expense.
2) They replace “processing personnel” – clerks, receptionists, tellers – with computerized data triage systems.
3) They conserve bureaucratic energy and time by delegating data collection to the rest of us.
4) They drive the rest of us crazy by replacing responsive personal human contact with unresponsive, often incomprehensible “systems.”
Innovators succeed by getting the “human-systems” mix right. Personally I prefer to deal with menu-less companies in which a human voice is one click away and with individuals who answer their own phone.