Medical facilities are trying to figure out how to deal with the uncertainty that surrounds our current healthcare crisis. It is the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) was enacted to boost the number of people who could be covered by healthcare benefits, around 30 million, thus increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging services.
The initial enrollment for these benefits has been a bit disappointing, with just six million who applied, of whom the majority have not yet received verified coverage. Additionally, a large amount of those have switched from policies they have, however, they were had to be enrolled in the new program.
The total gain from newly insured and previously uninsured enrollees is not known, but it is safe to assume that the numbers are low. So, how do we determine whether the demand for diagnostic imaging will rise or decrease? What should we do to deal with this uncertainty?
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We must also consider the decrease in reimbursements 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 to provide insurance coverage 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 make them available at a cost that is lower will we be able to provide the same level of healthcare as is required to provide the top quality healthcare available around the globe? What if this results in either a decrease or increase in needed resources?
Another problem is the constant decrease in available doctors. Reduced Medicare as well as Medicaid reimbursements for medical services have also reduced. Add those reductions to the cuts in the amount of insurance that both public and private companies have implemented, and a large amount of physicians have decided for early retirement or other occupations.
Does the lower number of available doctors affect the necessity of having more tests available? As the remaining 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 estimates. First, if people who are no longer covered by insurance can sign up and obtain coverage, the loss for this group is very minimal. If those who weren’t insured before, but currently are, a small gain could be seen.
When evaluating the possibility of gaining or losing of patients, we could believe that the numbers aren’t changing in any significant way (even when they were meant 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 cost of equipment due to improved technology, reduced reimbursements could be manageable. Additionally, the rise in physician assistances, and professional nurse practitioners could help to reduce the number of doctors available.
Diagnostic imaging is the use 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 efficiency of these devices may be diminished because of the increasing number of patients that undergo such diagnostic tests. Health centers have the possibility of incorporating Six Sigma concepts in their procedures for delivery, in order to avoid the usual problems that arise from the increased volume of patients.
Six Sigma in health care centers can be used for solving common issues like the delay of diagnosis or treatment bottlenecks in departmental processes and longer stays patients are dissatisfied with their treatment, referring physician dissatisfaction, loss outpatients and potential revenue.
Although it is important to use the latest diagnostic imaging equipment to maximize the efficiency of health facilities, they should also have appropriate processes and systems in place to provide high-quality and cost-effective care for patients.
The most commonly used approach is the use the use of Lean Six Sigma tools and methods, as well as tools to improve processes that help speed the process and create acceptance. If Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques are utilized to diagnostic imaging, it aids in the optimization of time as well as human and equipment resource optimization, improving the service delivery structures efficiency, and cost optimization.
All of these are essential for a healthcare institution which is striving to offer top-quality services and grow its revenue simultaneously.
Another well-known Six Sigma methodology used for improving diagnostic imaging is known as the DMAIC method. DMAIC refers to define and analyze, measure, and control. This approach is designed to be used to be applied to processes already in place.
It has proven to be extremely effective in enhancing the utilization of current technologies like diagnostic imaging. In the first section, all the frequent issues associated with a particular delivery procedure are defined and identified. In the next stage, issues specific to the health care organization are evaluated to evaluate how they impact the overall quality of the services that are provided.
In the “analyze” stage process, the business processes that are related are scrutinized to pinpoint the root 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.
The reason for this is its capacity to enhance the effectiveness of services provided by the diagnostic imaging equipment. In the final phase efficient controls are set into place to ensure the consistency of the services. Control systems also aid in the evaluation of the efficacy of the brand new service delivery models, which were developed in the initial stages of implementation of Six Sigma.