I am a medical ophthalmologist and I have a sweet part time job staffing hospital clinic, but there is so much pressure to increase patient numbers that I feel quality is falling by the wayside. How do I balance the quality of medical care with the financial reality of needing to double book all slots to (hopefully) adjust for no-shows? The politics in this hospital are killer so I am afraid of rocking the boat too much and losing this great job that allows me to spend loads of time with my kids after school.
Welcome, MoreThanMD! Is this a Medicaid mill or just a regular mill? I ask because I don't think there is any good solution to the Medicaid problem. They just don't pay enough to make a quality practice viable.
There are definitely ways to increase one's efficiency, and I'm sure other medical ophthalmologists will know some specialty-specific things you can do. You basically have to look at everything you're doing and decide whether you can delegate it to somebody else, omit it, do it differently, or do it faster. That's all! With paperwork, for example, if you can streamline things down to a single form (on paper or computer) that needs to be filled out, which has only what you need and in the order in which you do it, that will be more efficient than multiple forms where you have to jump back and forth. Delegation can be great if you are working with competent people, but if you do not trust their work, then you will either feel compelled to repeat it yourself or worry that something important was missed. Some people limit patients to one problem per visit, but then patients are not happy because they are busy, too, and they know that it is more efficient for them to address all their problems at the same time.
This is a huge problem in medicine because people want to maintain their incomes while reimbursements are going down. Everybody is trying to figure out ways to increase volume. Some of the ways are good and creative, but others are dangerous and scary. If you feel that you are being pushed to the point of compromising quality, then it is just not worth it, IMHO. It is good to feel that you could find a different job if you needed to. Then you are not at the mercy of one employer.
the whole system in this area depends on moving medicaid pts through. They make people come back every month for their stable BP meds just because the subsidized clinics get paid per pt (and there is no difference in reimbursement from a level 2 to a level 4 visit). I was actually asked if I could do eye exams without checking vision (when I complained that just checking a vision acurately could take up to 10 minutes in a child or a non-english speaking pt).
So many of our indigent patients get no counseling, no education on their medical problems. One patient today had a crazy list of heart and BP meds, so I started trying to clean it up. She admitted that she wasn't taking her meds when she didn't know what they were for. Then it came out that she CAN'T READ, so what was happening was that her primary doc just kept adding meds thinking that they weren't working and the patient would keep whole bottles of meds in her cabinet because she had no idea why they were prescribed.
Why is the medical ophthalmologist the one catching this stuff?
I've already streamlined my EHR as much as I could. I'm actually considering getting out of clinical medicine just because I see that the trend in medicine, as you have said in your last paragraph, is to increase volume even if quality of care goes down.
When I interviewed for med school, one attending looked up in disgust when I walked in and said "why do they keep sending me the girls? You all waste the medical education because you end up just wanting to stay home with the kids!"
needless to say, I did not attend that medical school. :/
But that memory begs the question: is my current disillusionment due to the economics of medicine or because I really do find I'd rather be enjoying my kids during their formative years?
my husband thinks that I'd be unhappy without the intellectual stimulation of clinic and is advising me to move towards a non-clinical position if I truly want to get out of the medicaid mills and yet still be in healthcare.