Medical facilities are trying to figure out how to deal with the uncertainty that surrounds the current health care crisis. It is the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) was enacted to expand the number of people who could be covered under healthcare benefits, around 30 million people, which is increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging services.
However, the initial applications for these benefits has been a bit disappointing, with less than six million who applied, of whom most haven’t yet been granted verified coverage. Additionally, a large majority of them are switching to new policies they have, but they were denied coverage and then required to sign up in the new program.
The value of the net gain for 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 demand for diagnostic imaging is expected to increase 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 as well as acceptable reimbursement schedules. These reimbursement schedules are being used by both private and public insurance companies as well.
There is no need for them to offer coverages that are higher than those required by the government. The question is ourselves if we can reduce the amount and types of tests we take and then come up with a method to make them available at a lower price do we provide the same level of healthcare as is essential to ensure the top quality healthcare available anywhere in the world? What if this results in either a decrease or increase in needed resources?
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Another problem is the continuing decrease in the number of doctors. The reductions in Medicare as well as Medicaid reimbursements for medical services has also led to a decrease. Take those reductions in combination with the reductions which both private and public insurance companies have implemented, and a substantial number of doctors have chosen to retire early or in other careers.
Does the lower number of available doctors affect the necessity of having tests that are not available? doctors are overwhelmed and do not dedicate enough time to patients to make the most efficient diagnosis?
The solution is complex and nobody is sure where the process will take place however we can make decent 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 a portion of those who weren’t insured before, but currently are, a small increase could occur.
When evaluating the possibility of gaining or losing of patients, we could believe that the numbers aren’t changing significantly (even even though they were supposed to). The reimbursements are decreasing, however should other costs be 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. In addition, the growth of the number of Physician Assistants as well as Professional Nurse Practitioners can 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 instruments have proved helpful in the diagnosis of heart conditions, cancer, and other deadly diseases.
However, the efficiency of these devices may be diminished because of 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 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 and patient dissatisfaction, referral physician dissatisfaction, loss outpatient business , and loss of potential revenue.
Although it is important to use the latest diagnostic imaging tools to optimize the efficiency of health facilities, they should also have appropriate processes and systems in place to ensure high-quality and cost-effective care for patients.
The most popular approach is the application the use of 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 used to diagnostic imaging, they aid in the optimization of time as well as human and equipment resource optimization, enhancement of the service delivery structures as well as cost reduction and revenue optimization.
All of these are vital for a healthcare institution which is striving to offer high-quality services and boost its revenue simultaneously.
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, and control. This method is intended to be applied to processes already in place.
It has been extremely successful in enhancing the utilization of technology that is already in use like diagnostic imaging. In the initial stage, most frequent issues that arise from a 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 its impact on quality of services that are provided.
In the “analyze” stage process, the business processes that are related are examined to determine the precise cause of the issue. This assists the manager make needed changes to the delivery method. In the next step, alternatives are analyzed and the best solution is chosen.
This choice is based on its capability to increase the efficiency of the services offered 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 the evaluation of the efficacy of the new delivery models, which were developed in the initial stages of implementation of Six Sigma.