Medical facilities are trying to figure out how to deal with the uncertainties surrounding our current healthcare crisis. In the Affordable Health Act (AHCA) was enacted to expand the number of people who could be covered by healthcare benefits, up to 30 million, thus increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging services.
However, the initial applications for these benefits has been a bit disappointing, with just six million applying. Of these, the majority have not yet received verified coverage. Additionally, a large amount of those have switched from insurance plans they had but they were denied coverage and then required to sign up under the new plan.
The total gain from newly insured and previously uninsured enrollees are not yet known, however, it is safe to assume that this number is very low. So, how can we determine whether the demand for diagnostic imaging will rise or decrease? What should we do to deal with this uncertainty?
We must also consider the lower reimbursements that are available for the majority of diagnostic procedures. The AHCA has developed procedures guidelines and acceptable reimbursement schedules. The reimbursement schedules are being implemented by both private and public insurance companies as well.
There’s no reason for them to offer coverages which are more than the ones required by the government. We must ask ourself if reducing the amount and types of tests we conduct and then figure out a way to offer them at a lower price will we be able to provide the same level of healthcare as is essential to ensure the highest quality of healthcare available anywhere in the world? Will this lead to the increase, or reduction in the resources required?
Another problem is the constant decrease in available doctors. Reduced Medicare as well as Medicaid reimbursements for medical services has also led to a decrease. Add those reductions to the cuts in the amount of insurance that both public and private companies have implemented, and a substantial amount of physicians have decided for early retirement or other careers.
Do the fewer doctors available affect the need for tests that are not available? doctors are overwhelmed and may not devote enough time to patients to make the most efficient diagnosis?
The options are complex and nobody knows when this will be over however, we can make reasonable predictions. In the first place, if those who lost their insurance can sign up and obtain insurance, the net loss for this group is very minimal. If those who weren’t insured before, but currently are, a small increase could occur.
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When evaluating the possibility of gaining or losing of patients, it is possible to believe that the numbers aren’t changing significantly (even even though they were supposed to).
The reimbursements are decreasing, however when other costs are also reduced include the less expensive cost of living as well as stable taxes and lower expenses for equipment through improved technology, the reduced reimbursements might be manageable. In addition, the growth of physician assistances, and professional nurse practitioners could be able to accommodate the decrease in doctors available.
Diagnostic imaging is the utilization of medical equipment such as X-rays MRI or ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging as well as CT scans. These tools have proven to be helpful in the diagnosis of heart diseases, cancer and other deadly diseases.
However, the efficacy of these devices may be diminished due to the increasing amount of patients who undergo these diagnostic tests. Health centers are now offered the possibility of incorporating Six Sigma concepts in their procedures for delivery, in order to avoid the typical issues associated with an increase in patient traffic.
Six Sigma in health care centers can be used for solutions to common issues such as delay in diagnosing and treating, bottlenecks in departmental processes as well as the increased length of stay patients are dissatisfied with their treatment, referring physician dissatisfaction, loss outpatient business , and loss of potential revenue.
While it is essential to have the latest diagnostic imaging equipment to maximize the efficiency of health facilities, they must also have appropriate processes and systems in place to provide secure and cost-effective treatment to patients.
The most commonly used approach is the application using Lean Six Sigma tools and methods, in conjunction with tools for process improvement that speed up changes and increase acceptance. In the event that Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques are utilized in the field of diagnostic imaging, it aids in the optimization of time in human and equipment resources optimization, improving the structures for service delivery as well as cost reduction and revenue optimization.
All of these are essential for any healthcare company which is striving to offer top-quality services and grow its revenue simultaneously.
Another popular Six Sigma methodology used for improving diagnostic imaging is known as the DMAIC method. DMAIC refers to define the process, analyze, measure, improve and control. This method is intended to be applied to processes already in operation.
It has been extremely successful in enhancing the utilization of current technologies like diagnostic imaging. In the first stage, most frequent issues associated with a particular delivery method are defined and identified. The next step is to identify the specific issues that affect the health care organization are evaluated to evaluate how they impact the quality of services provided.
In the “analyze” phase the related business processes are examined to determine the precise cause of the issue. This assists management to make the necessary adjustments to the delivery method. The next phase is when different solutions are examined and the most suitable solution is chosen.
This choice is based on its capacity to enhance the effectiveness of services provided via diagnostic imaging equipment. In the final stage the most effective controls are set into place to ensure the consistency of the services. Control systems also aid in evaluating the effectiveness of the brand new service delivery models that were created during the process of implementing Six Sigma.