Healthcare Business DEMYSTIFIED

de mys ti fy - to make less mysterious, clarify

Why is my doctor so busy?

Patients often lament that they went to see their doctor and their doctor acted rushed.  This trend in healthcare continues to be an issue and this is an attempt to explain how we got to this place. 

In many primary care practices (family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB-Gyn) there has been a full blown attempt to get these practices to work more efficiently and cost effectively.  Many efficiency models are being tested in the healthcare setting including the model called Six Sigma that Toyota made famous in their manufacturing plants.  We are all well aware that medical costs are skyrocketing and it is believed that if more efficiencies can be introduced into the medical office that costs can be held in check or reduced.

As with manufacturing, the more widgets you can produce, the more cost efficient you will become.  This idea is being transferred to the medical practice.  If you are paying your office rent for the month, it makes sense that the more patients you see in a month, the less your per patient rent will be.  This holds true with a variety of expenses including one of the most costly - the office staff.  They are there 8 hours a day so it makes sense to see the most patients you can possibly see to decrease the per patient office staff salaries expense.  Basically, if the office staff can see more patients with the same resources (office space, staff, lighting, etc.) the cost per patient can be lowered. 

In a world where we are trying desperately to lower the costs of medical care, you can see that this solution could be an attractive model.  It is currently the trend and we are all part of the experiment to see if this is a viable way to gain control over costs.  Time will tell if this model serves the patient well as well as the physician and their office staff.