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The Challenges of Economic Instability Within the Healthcare Industry

In 2022, the United States faces a high level of economic instability and uncertainty. The healthcare industry has been impacted, forcing practices to reduce office hours or even completely close. This is particularly true for smaller practices with one or more locations. Practitioners are admitting that the cost of people is the most expensive line item on their profit and loss statement. Many providers are sharing that to reduce the rising costs of running their practice, they are forced to implement what can be considered cost-control measures. 

Cost-Control Areas

The first cost-control area is reducing office hours. Some providers are going as far as to be fully closed at the end of a work week, usually on Fridays when they see the lowest volume of patient intake. By reducing operational hours, the practice can control costs by saving on overhead expenses such as electricity and paying staff to work in the office.

With inflation on the rise, the second cost-control area practitioners consider is to increase the cost of specific procedures in their practice incrementally. 

The third cost-control area asks office staff and personnel to wear multiple hats while balancing their daily responsibilities to keep the offices functioning. These cost-control measures point to unprecedented tactics during these challenging economic times.

What’s the price of cost control?

Current conditions stress healthcare professionals to their mental and emotional limits, whether due to working long, grueling hours to care for patients or the psychological impact of dramatically reduced or shuttered practices. These issues further exacerbate psychological and financial stresses, leading to severe burnout and even professionals switching careers.

Despite increased patient intake and COVID-19 vaccinations, these type of measures causes a lot of stress on the practices and the providers. There’s been an increased demand for practices and practitioners in hiring and retaining qualified professionals due to early retirement and changes in personnel triggered by pandemic burnout. This issue ranges from front and back-office staff to medical professionals and larger practices with deeper pockets. But this is true for small- to medium- businesses.

Often, smaller practice employees are being lured away for their talents by these larger practices, making it difficult for smaller practices to compete. Many provider-owned practices report that after monthly expenses are paid, notably their payroll and other overhead, they are left with little to no pay for themselves.

Compounding losing talent with the issue of patients putting off or not being able to afford medical care, practices are going into the red. Increasing costs and inflation, with dramatically reduced cash flows, force practitioners to make more challenging decisions to remain profitable and operational.

What are they doing differently, and how can you incorporate their advice into your practice?

In today’s economy, particularly healthcare, increased competition and turnover in practices and asking staff to wear multiple hats has become the norm. How can your practice improve employee retention, despite the changes that cause workplace burnout?

First, practices are improving employee retention through automation. Practice Management Bridge® (PMB) software does that for all sizes of these practices. It scales with both need and demand for small and medium businesses and our enterprise practices. Some examples of practices strategically using the software to leverage automation are texting and emailing patients ahead of their scheduled visits. Electronic forms, for example, allow the practices to capture key information like insurance-related information for pre-authorization.  Patients can securely store their preferred payment method on file with the practice, which creates ease for the practice and the patient.

Second, text messaging is becoming a tremendously powerful tool in healthcare and is the preferred medium through which patients want to engage with the provider. Giving the practice the ability through our PMB solution to send patients and in-office texts with a URL link for fast and easy payments is becoming a popular way to leverage technology to get paid promptly and in a contactless manner. 

Third, one of the highest costs to practices is spending tremendous amounts of time printing and mailing paper statements to patients. Rectangle Health can allow practices to send balances through text e-statements, which include an embedded URL link for online bill pay. PMB enables the patient to safely and securely pay for any balances owed or due for care quickly and easily. Improving operational efficiencies in the form of time and money helps improve the cash flow of these practices, which many desperately need in these challenging economic times. 

But finally, the economic hardships facing many families in America, inflation increasing the costs of virtually everything from food to gas, can be alleviated by offering financing options that provide a powerful tool that allows patients to afford care and practices to receive payment. 

How Rectangle Health Can Help

Rectangle Health’s partnership with an industry leader in healthcare financing gives practices the ability to offer their patients financing as part of our patient financing program. This approach helps patients receive the care they need with affordable options and terms that work within their budget. Patient financing allows providers to deliver care while getting paid for it over time.

Managing the cash flow is the heartbeat of any business, and our technology is doing just that. Practices implementing automation into their workflows are seeing less burnout and greater satisfaction from their patients and their employees due to staff not having to spend an inordinate amount of time manually logging patient payments into their patient ledger. These practices are not printing statements, mailing them, or having the cost of going to the post office and managing the cost of the postage machine. Rectangle Health’s Practice Management Bridge® (PMB) is the tool practices use to improve office workflows. PMB will help engage patients, so practices can get paid more effectively and give them the tools to afford care during these difficult economic times.

Rectangle Health’s Practice Management Bridge software can improve your efficiency and enhance the patient experience. From payment solutions to communication capabilities, our software helps in various ways. You can easily integrate our platform with your current technology to get started in no time.

Due to rising costs in the United States, many practices are taking cost control measures. These measures can negatively impact the provider and practice. Rectangle Health can help you temper the need for cost control by implementing Practice Management Bridge’s time-saving solutions like contactless pay, appointment reminders, and online registration forms. These solutions will help relieve the stress on your staff, freeing up their schedule so they can complete their most important role…helping patients be healthy.

 

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