Three executives on driving strategic growth without hiring more staff
Executives from Reid Health, Castell, and Good Shepherd are driving growth even through economic challenges using intelligent automation
Hospital operating margins have remained negative for all of 2022 so far, and despite an overall upward trend, October fared slightly worse than September. Costs continue to be high — labor in particular. By the end of this year, labor expenses will have risen more than all non-labor costs combined.
And as inflation impacts costs, revenue has not kept pace. Niyum Gandhi, the CFO at Mass General Brigham, stated, “The biggest financial challenge facing health systems right now is inflation. While our costs increase with inflation like those of any organization, our revenues are not indexed to inflation.”
Given these challenges, about 75% of health system CFOs plan to decrease their operating spend this year. But as Michael Dowling, President & CEO of Northwell Health, notes, efficiency alone isn’t enough to protect margins. “Realize that you will never cut yourself to success. Improving efficiency and productivity is superlative but so is profitable revenue growth. It's the only way to sustain a necessary margin and maintain a commitment to our social mission.”
In fact, Notable’s original research has found that not investing in the patient-facing digital experience comes with a cost. 61% of patients have skipped going to the doctor in the past year because scheduling an appointment was too much of a hassle, and 41% of patients have switched providers due to a poor digital experience.
An article from Deloitte confirms that technology debt — continued investment in outdated and inefficient technology — costs more in the long-run than investing in digital technology that creates a more competitive and more efficient experience.
To succeed in today’s economic environment, healthcare organizations should invest a disproportionate amount of resources in revenue growth via patient acquisition and retention.
Learn how the following three healthcare executives developed and implemented strategies to drive growth, without hiring more staff.
Make registration a differentiator – without adding more staff
“How many of you remember when you had your first iPhone? I said to the sales person, ‘Okay, where's the instruction book?’ And he laughed at me and said ‘Go home and use it for 10 minutes.’ That's what Notable is like for our patients. No one has needed instructions. It was an overnight implementation."
Chief Experience Officer and Vice President,
Like many organizations, Reid Health struggled with redundant work bogging down the front desk and creating a poor patient experience. More than 70% of Reid Health’s patients are Medicare patients, which comes with additional layers of complexity and documentation. Patients and caregivers alike found it frustrating to complete the lengthy MSPQ at check-in every visit.
This also meant longer wait times. Dissatisfaction with time spent waiting can impact patients’ overall satisfaction with their healthcare provider, and 20% of patients will change providers due to long wait times.
Reid Health saw an opportunity to automate an antiquated process, and turn registration into a differentiator to better attract and retain patients.
Reid Health worked with Notable to remind patients of their upcoming appointments and prompt them to fill out their intake forms digitally. For established patients, answers are pre-populated whenever possible for the patient to confirm.
The change was well-received. Patients left positive feedback such as, “Very convenient and easier to use,” and “I didn’t feel rushed in the waiting room.” The service line director of orthopedics remarked, “We absolutely love Notable. It has decreased the amount of time the patient has to stand at the check-in desk by as much as 10 minutes now that the MSPQ questions are being completed digitally prior to arrival.”
At their geriatrics clinic, the appointment reminders helped drive down patient no-shows by nearly 30%, with a patient satisfaction rating of 96%. Reid Health then expanded Intelligent Intake to their other clinics, achieving an increase of 1,318 additional visits over 6 months.
Automating registration alone saved 3,500 hours of work for the front desk, boosting employee satisfaction while helping Reid established a foundation for growth — without hiring more staff.
Reach more patients through automated care gap closure
“We realized we were in a capacity crisis, we just couldn’t hire enough FTE to meet our growing demand and we needed to move quickly. Through our partnership with Notable, we have extended the capacity of our current workforce and armed them with actionable insights to deliver the highest quality care to each and every patient. Now, they spend less time clicking and searching and more time working with patients.”
VP of Clinical Operations,
Health systems often find moving to value-based care can be prohibitively burdensome as long as they rely on antiquated, manual workflows. To identify patients with open care gaps, highly specialized clinical care coordinators have to spend hours each day scrubbing charts. Then members of the care team have to call the patient to close the care gap. Assuming a 30% call answer rate, the care team has to call patients about 3.3 times to get the patient to schedule care.
This is a lot of work being done in high-turnover roles. Costs quickly stack and far surpass the financial gains. To maximize revenue from value-based care, Castell recognized the value of using automation to more quickly and easily reach patients.
Instead of relying on people to scrub charts and outreach to patients, Castell decided to use intelligent automation to scrub charts and identify open care gaps, and then digitally prompt patients to schedule the care they need.
Through Notable’s Intelligent Population Health solution, Castell made it possible to review the charts of 3,362 additional patients each day — closing more care gaps, and as a result, saving more lives. Intelligent automation has effectively taken on the work that would otherwise require an additional 34 full time care coordinators and take more than 190 hours to complete, making it possible for value-based care to be viable.
Maximize patient engagement and increase visit volumes
“We are investing heavily in intelligent automation because we have seen firsthand its potential to maximize patient engagement and extend the capacity of our workforce, without disrupting legacy technology infrastructure.”
At a rehabilitation center, patients often book multiple hours of therapy at once — meaning just one no-show can have a major impact, sometimes even affecting multiple therapists. Like many organizations, Good Shepherd relied only on manual methods to cancel or reschedule appointments.
Patients, not wanting to make a phone call, would simply not show up. Good Shepherd knew they needed to provide patients with an intuitive, easy way to engage in order to reduce no-shows and increase their visit volumes.
Good Shepherd used Notable to send appointment reminders and intake forms to patients digitally in advance of their appointment. “Patients are so satisfied with the digital appointment reminders, they double check to make sure they will receive one on their way out of the clinic,” said Karen Long, Vice President of Operations for Outpatient Services.
As a result, Good Shepherd’s no-show rate decreased by 32%, amounting to $93,360 of increased revenue capture over the course of 3 months. At the Hyland Center alone, a clinic which schedules as many as 400 visits per day, they reported 426 fewer no-shows in four months, and 2,000 more appointments compared to the same time span the prior year.
Growth is an imperative
With 53% of hospitals are projected to have negative operating margins by the end of the year, the outlook is bleak. While many are decreasing their operating budgets, lasting success depends on investing more into patient acquisition and retention — not less.
Healthcare organizations must develop strategies to keep growing even through today’s economic challenges, without adding more staff. Intelligent automation can help healthcare organizations reach and serve more patients without hiring anyone new.
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