Increase Your Bariatric Program Revenue

If you think business process mapping (BPM) has no application in your medical practice for quickly increasing revenue, you could not be more wrong. In this article we look at the rationale for applying BPM to the one process that will immediately affect your income.

Summary

  • Basic BPM has a place in your bariatric practice.
  • If applied properly, BPM mapping will increase revenue.
  • There are a host of additional benefits from BPM besides increasing practice revenue.
  • Using BPM before you undertake additional marketing or outreach strategies will boost results.

Most medical practice owners and managers are familiar with BPM within the context of quality improvement and its relationship with managed care or joint commission accreditation. Some may even recognize that BPM is employed across all industries using methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma. One thing we can probably all agree on is that these mammoth projects of mapping the internal processes of healthcare organizations are mind-bogglingly tedious, and it is difficult to find a short-term payoff.

But what if you could take one process, map it properly, and then adjust it incrementally to see an increase in revenue that continues to build with time. Would that make BPM more appealing?

Most manager resistance to BPM comes from not being able to see an immediate benefit to the exercise. This is usually because the processes being mapped do not affect the bottom line. So let us start with one that does and see what you can reasonably expect if you undertake the challenge. We will look at your lead management process and what would happen if you could improve it.

You Will Increase Revenue

How many times have you heard this claim from people trying to convince you of something? As they say, money talks, and you are in business to earn more of it (along with other things, of course). When trying to increase revenue most people look at a couple of things: getting more patients and being paid more by each patient. For the sake of argument, let us assume that you cannot affect these two things. Let us also assume that your marketing budget is maximized, and reimbursement is capped. The only thing left to increase revenue is to turn more of the leads generated by your marketing into patients and, in doing so, increase your revenue by having more patients.

You Will Reduce Costs

If you are engaged in cost forecasting based on new patients, then the accuracy accrued through a measurable and predictable intake process will allow you to allocate resources in a more cost-effective way. It is more difficult to quantify cost savings when it comes to fixed costs such as staff. However, it is fair to say that the transparency that occurs when a process is made measurable contributes to employee performance or highlights areas where improvement is required.

You Will Improve Efficiency and Reduce Errors

An inefficient process is frustrating for staff and patients alike. It results in missteps and delays that interfere with a smooth office workflow. The simple act of documenting a process and applying accountability and transparency will result in improvement. It is a well-known implication of the Hawthorne effect that individuals often improve simply because they are aware that their performance is being observed.

You Will Improve Quality

While our primary objective is to increase your practice’s income, the increase in quality that often comes from standardizing a process is an enormous benefit to your practice’s long-term marketing efforts. Improving response times, standardizing the messaging, and ensuring that important information is received by everyone involved reduces stress on your staff and improves the perception of quality service within your customer cohort.

This is, obviously, not an exhaustive list. Customer satisfaction improvements, reduced staff turnover, the perception of great management, reduced employee training costs, improvements in communication, and the development of a competitive edge all have a place in this discussion. However, improving your lead intake process is an essential first step for immediate financial improvement and to serve as a platform for further changes