Workflow and efficient use of technology

Workflow is one of those all encompassing topics that is thrown about. I think of it as human involved business processes. Pure technological processes can be optimized in a different way. Human processes are a source of a great deal of variance as far as a business is concerned. Variance can be bad since it means that a processes is not operating normally. Consider a cat scan(CT). If for any given type of study there is a great variance in the time it takes to complete a practice cannot determine with certainty how many studies can be completed in a day. If a business can reduce this variation it can limit the amount of time that the CT scanner is idle. As a very expensive piece of equipment its utilization should be approaching 100%. For the sake of discussion I am going to assume that if you can have more capacity that you will find a way to fill it. If your CT scanner could always be busy you would make a lot more money than you would otherwise.

used to scan patients and then bill for performing the study. This is direct revenue. For the 3D technology maybe it makes the radiologist more efficient. He can now read more complex studies faster and with fewer errors. This is indirect revenue. Remember that errors cost money such that the total cost of errors equals the sum of the probability of an error times the expected cost of an error or Cost = Sum( Pr(E) * C(E) ). Quantifiable reduction in errors does lead to decreased cost and decreased risk so that a piece of technology can be weighed as a risk reduction tool although I don’t think that you could justify it on a purely cost basis.

Questions like these need to be answered when buying a piece of equipment or technology. The questions related to variance, cost and revenue. The truth is that to answer these questions you need a deep understanding of your business. Most healthcare practices do not have this deep understanding of their business.

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