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 created to expand the amount of people who will be covered under health benefits by 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 less than six million applying. Of these, most haven’t yet been granted confirmation of coverage. A large majority of them have switched from insurance plans they had but they were denied coverage and then required to sign up in the new program.
The value of the net gain for the enrollees who were previously uninsured is not known, but we can be sure that the numbers are low. So, how do we know if demand for diagnostic imaging is expected to increase or decrease? What should we do to deal with this uncertainty?
Also, we must take into consideration the decrease in reimbursements for the majority of diagnostic procedures. The AHCA has developed procedures guidelines as well as acceptable reimbursement schedules. The reimbursement schedules are being used by both private and public insurance companies too.
There’s no reason for them to offer coverages which are more than the ones required by the government. The question is ourselves if we can reduce the quantity and types of tests we take 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 highest quality of healthcare available around the globe? What if this results in the increase, or reduction in the resources required?
Another problem is the constant decrease in available doctors. The reductions in Medicare or 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 large amount of physicians have decided to retire early or in other occupations.
Does the lower number of doctors available affect the need for tests that are not available? doctors are overwhelmed and may not dedicate enough time to patients to make the most efficient diagnosis?
The options are complex and nobody really knows when this will be over however we can make decent estimates. In the first place, if those who lost their insurance can sign up and obtain coverage, the loss for that group is small. If those who weren’t insured before, but have now been insured, a tiny increase could occur.
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So, when we evaluate the possibility of gaining or losing of patients, we could think that the numbers won’t change significantly (even when they were meant to). The reimbursements are decreasing, however when other costs are also reduced like the cost of living being lower 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 effective in diagnosing heart conditions, cancer, and other deadly diseases.
However, the efficacy of these devices could 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 process of delivery to alleviate the usual problems that arise from the increased volume of patients.
Six Sigma in health care centers is a great way of solutions to common issues such as the delay of diagnosis or treatment bottlenecks in departmental processes and longer stays patients are dissatisfied with their treatment, referring physician dissatisfaction, loss outpatient business , and loss of potential revenue.
Although it is important to use the latest diagnostic imaging equipment to maximize the efficiency of health facilities, they must also have appropriate processes and systems in place to ensure high-quality and cost-effective care for patients.
The most commonly used approach is the use using Lean Six Sigma tools and methods, as well as tools for process improvement that speed up the process and create acceptance. If Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques are used in the field of diagnostic imaging, they aid in the optimization of time as well as human and equipment resource optimization, enhancement of the structures for service delivery efficiency, and cost optimization.
All of these are essential for a healthcare institution which is striving to offer high-quality services and boost its profits while at the same time.
Another well-known 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 efficiency of current technologies like diagnostic imaging. In the initial stage, most prevalent issues that arise from a delivery procedure are defined and identified. In the next stage, issues specific to the health care organization are evaluated to determine its impact on overall quality of the services provided.
In the “analyze” phase process, the business processes that are related are scrutinized to pinpoint the root of the issue. This assists management to make the needed changes to the delivery method. In the next step, 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 stage the most effective controls are set into place to ensure the consistency of the services. Control systems are also helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of the brand new service delivery models, which were developed in the initial stages of implementation of Six Sigma.