Streamline--but don't forget the patient

Friday, June 30, 2006

Q. Streamlining operations is all the rage, but where does the client/patient fit into the equation?

A. Patient/client care must be the primary objective of any organization in order to have a company that meets the intent of accreditation. Before a company decides to sacrifice its client/patient services to gain profitability, time is well spent counting the cost.
- Determine the cost per patient for each of the services provided using a basic delivery and minimal instruction model. Don't forget the cost of delivery, gasoline, time, salaries and supplies, etc.
- Next, determine what a high-quality service would look like if clinicians were to do the setups and full service training was offered. Then calculate the cost per patient for this service.
- Subtract the difference in cost between the minimal service and high-quality service models. This number can be used to determine change in profit from one service model over another.
- Once the profitability of each model is known, it is easy to determine whether or not the possibility of increased business from the increase in service is feasible, and if the increase in client/patient servicesis warranted.
The difference in profit for each service model will probably not be as great as expected. Offering a higher-quality product may not be costly after all and could provide a valuable sales advantage. Attracting and keeping new client/patients and referral sources, when they know they can depend on the company's superior service, will increase.
Is streamlining and automating certain aspects of the business wrong? Utilizing technology to improve the business is advisable; however, it should not be used as a substitute for high quality, personalized client/patient services.


Julie Bowman is a consultant and founder/president of HME Solutions in Atlanta. Reach her at (770) 270-681- or