Better Patient Flow Boosts Physicians Group Revenue by $3.5M

Managed Contracting & Reimbursement Advisor Staff , November 13, 2012

This article appears in the December 2012 issue of Managed Contracting & Reimbursement Advisor Staff.

If you want to get serious about improving revenue in your practice, you may have to consider an entire culture change. That was the experience of Atrius Health in Auburndale, Mass., the largest primary care physician group in the state, which is enjoying increased revenue of $1.75 million per year, after a gain in the first year of $3.5 million.

The improvements were the result of an ongoing cultural transformation, says Chief Medical Officer ­Michael Pinnolis, MD. Taking a page from Toyota Motor Group, FedEx, and the manufacturing world, Atrius is applying the tenets of Lean management to healthcare to identify and seek out waste. The results have been steady and are accelerating as more of the organization is trained. Best of all, Atrius' first-year return was achieved while simultaneously improving patient care.

By improving patient flow, the MRI suite at Atrius Health has decreased turnaround time, yielding a net gain of more than $750,000 per year and decreasing patient wait time. The endoscopy suite has improved capacity and access for patients without increasing overhead or staffing costs, which resulted in a gain of almost $1 million per year to the practice.

The effort started four years ago at Atrius's 15 practice sites in the Boston area.

"We take a lot of managed care contracts and we're at just over 50% capitated," Pinnolis says. "Something over 80% of our revenue comes from risk-based contracts, and when we looked down the road at where Massachusetts and the rest of the country were headed, we wanted to do something that would help us improve our practice efficiency and lower our medical expenses."

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