11 Tips To Reduce Your Medical Practice Expenses

Find new ways to reduce your practice’s expenses so you can serve patients more profitably.

Use A Patient Intake Kiosk

Use software, like Phreesia’s patient intake software, to drastically expdite patient check-in and reduce labor costs.

What’s a patient intake kiosk?

A patient kiosk allows your patients to check themselves in when they arrive at your practice. Kiosks can be their own hardware that is situated within your office or can be an application or website on a tablet or laptop. Putting checking in in the hands of patients can ensure greater accuracy in patient data and can take the check-in task off of administrative staff, reducing the office workload (and potentially the need for as many staff members).

Patient kiosks can handle patient check-in, checking insurance, asking patients to fill out forms and more. However, it may be more efficient to have lengthier processes such as reading and filling out forms as part of a patient portal instead in order to free up time. The longer it takes to check in, the more likely patients will have questions or will slow down the check-in process for other patients, resulting in patients asking to check in with your staff instead.

Patient kiosks from Phreesia

How will it save me money?

What are other doctors saying?

“Phreesia is like another employee who we don’t have to pay, and it has no problems asking patients for copays and balances. Our patient collections have increased and that has a domino effect throughout our whole group: more payments upfront, fewer statements and less staff time working accounts.” – Karen, The Podiatry Group of South Texas on using Phreesia

Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.

Avoid Ordering Through a Medical Supplier When Possible

In particular, make sure you’re not ordering non-medical supplies through a medical supplier. It’s convenient, but many suppliers will charge much more for goods sent to a medical practice.

“My practice found that we were paying five times as much for items such as hand soap by buying them through our medical supplier. We found those same things at Costco for a fraction of the price.” – Judy Bateman of the Oakland Arthritis Center.

Cut Cable for Your Waiting Room

Cable TV is expensive – the cheapest monthly plans begin in the low $20s and can range up to $100. In many areas, you also have to pay to rent the cable box, which can be $10 monthly or more.

There are cheaper options that can provide better television for your patients as they wait.

The cheaper options offer fewer channels, but a waiting room tv can really only show one channel at once anyway. A device such as the Fire Stick or Roku can host the app of a streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+, and then patients can choose their own content from what is available.

Everyone will be bringing their phone anyway, so minimal entertainment is required.

Fire Stick

A Fire Stick is a one-time cost starting at $39.99. It plugs into your tv and streams different apps through your Internet connection. There are over 15,000 different apps and games that can be downloaded. Some apps require a paid account with that app (like Netflix) while others are free. Plus, the Firestick may be able to work with Amazon Alexa, if you have that.

Roku

A Roku is a one-time cost starting at $29.99 and is also plugs into the tv to stream different apps. Some apps are paid while others are free.

Fire Stick vs. Roku For Your Waiting Room

Both have almost every app you could think of. They have different games (Roku’s tend to be more cutesy – perhaps a good choice for a waiting area that may have children). It’s easier to list the apps that they don’t have. Here is a good article comparing the two options.

The following apps are available on the Roku but not the Fire Stick:

  • YouTube
  • Vudu
  • Google Play Movies and TV

The Fire Stick is Amazon’s device, but Amazon’s streaming service – Amazon Prime Instant Video is available on both devices.

Netflix

Netflix has several plans, but the only one you’d need for an office waiting room is the $9 per month version – the more expensive plans increase the number of devices you can stream on. If you have more than one tv in your waiting room, the other plans go up to $16 per month.

Netflix is a good option if your practice has a lot of children – there’s a Kids profile on Netflix that will ensure that all streamed content is family-friendly.

Hulu

Hulu is now down to $5.99 per month for its cheapest plan – this plan has commercials, however. The commercial-free plan is $11.99.

Prime Video

If you have Amazon Prime already, you may be eligible for Prime Video for free. Prime costs $15.99 per month or $59 per year.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV costs $50 a month. It has a lot of tv channels on offer, but it’s more expensive than the more basic cable and may be more than is necessary for a waiting room.

Sling TV

Sling TV offers 25 tv channels, including ESPN, CNN, AMC, Disney, and TNT for $25 per month.

Disney+

For offices with many children, Disney+ may be a good option (not all content will be for children) for $6.99 monthly or $69.99 per year. Its library will be made up of Disney films and tv shows, including new original content for its larger properties such as Star Wars and Marvel.

Get a Scribe

What is a scribe?

How will it save money

In this JAMA Dermatology study, “79% reported willingness to increase patient volume with scribe support. Overall, there was a 7.7% increase in revenue comparing each physician’s scribe-supported sessions to unsupported sessions in the last quarters of 2016 to 2015 respectively, which more than off-set the cost of the scribes.”

“Overall, roughly 1 additional patient per session covered the hospital’s scribe costs.”

How do I go about getting a scribe?

Get a Cost Segregation Study on Your Building

If you’ve purchased your building, you’re looking at a pretty big chunk of taxes coming your way. Reducing your tax liability in any way becomes vital when you own a building. A cost segregation study allows you to reduce your tax liability right away by depreciating your assets earlier than is normally allowed.

Cost segregation helps you depreciate parts of your property faster, decreasing your tax liability and increasing your cash flow. Some assets of your property can be depreciated in 5, 10, or 15 years instead of the traditional 39 year or 27.5 year straight-line depreciation. This means that you get the money (tax breaks) in your pocket faster.

Bill Smith, a tax expert at ELB Consulting, says, “Hospitals have an abundance of specialty electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems that qualify under these guidelines. These deductions also reduce the tax liability and improve cash flow. The added benefit of a study to identify these tax incentives is a complete fixed asset detail to address (easily expense) future disposition and retirement of assets upon renovations, repairs and improvements.”

You Must Be a For-Profit Entity

Not-for-profit organizations don’t have tax liabilities, so they’re not able to take advantage of all of the tax benefits of a cost segregation study. Your company must be for-profit and have tax liabilities to qualify for a cost segregation study.

Use a Fully-Engineered Cost Segregation Study

A cost segregation study is really only worth it when it’s done correctly. Otherwise, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Without having trained engineers and tax professionals performing your study, they will almost certainly miss many depreciable items and not break down your building into all of the optimal parts for the most tax deduction possible.

Reclaim Missed Deductions

Even if you’ve owned your building for 5-15 years, you don’t have to amend your previous year tax forms to benefit fully from a cost segregation study. A cost segregation expert can look back at previous deductions over the past few years and make up for any tax breaks that you may have missed at the time.

Qualify For Tax Deductions Through Energy Tax Credits

The government wants your practice’s building to be energy efficient, so they incentivize you to make strides towards that with tax breaks. To determine if your building qualifies for an energy tax credit, they will compare it to a computer generated model from 2001. Essentially, they create a fake 2001-version of your building to see how it would have been built back then. If yours uses less than 50% of the energy of the 2001 version, you qualify for the credit and get more money in your pocket.

Bill Smith is a tax expert with ELB Consulting. He says, “Like larger operations, a medical practice can take steps to reduce its energy consumption through efficient lighting and managing its resource consumption systems properly. The capacity of usage is substantially smaller than a large hospital, though control systems (or programmable panels) to efficiently manage the HVAC, hot water and lighting can make a noticeable difference – especially when the practice is closed.”

Use Tools to Monitor Your Building’s Energy Use in Real Time

Like an ‘alarm services’ for your business’s energy use, there are tools available that can help you manage your energy and resource usage to be more efficient and save money. A dashboard can be created for your specific practice to help you save as much money as possible because it’s based around your practice’s systems and equipment. ELB Consulting is a reputable and knowledgeable company that can create this exact type of dashboard for your practice and get more money in your pocket.