It’s an age-old adage, usually used in the context of sports, but broadly applicable: control the controllables. It means to focus on controlling the variables within a situation that are capable of being controlled. As an example, with the goal of getting good grades, don’t bet on the good graces of your teacher to give you extra time on your paper (uncontrollable); instead focus on completing your assignments on time (controllable). This same principle holds true when running a medical practice.
However, when it comes to running a medical practice, there is MUCH that is out of our control. How much payers are willing to pay for services? How timely will you be reimbursed? What new hurdles will they impose this quarter? While there are certainly tactics and strategies you can use to try to optimize your results here – ultimately, insurance changes may be largely out of your control.
One element solely within your control, however, is staying on top of provider enrollment. While enrollment-related tasks are often fairly simple they are varied. Also, the disaggregated nature of the various portals, spreadsheets and steps required to complete them cause delay and confusion in getting these tasks done. These delays and not staying on top of tasks, in turn, may lead to negative downstream effects on your revenue cycle.
Studies have found that consistent or repetitive tasks can be completed more quickly and efficiently than inconsistent or varied tasks. One study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology examined the effect of task variability on productivity. The study found that people who performed a consistent task (sorting colored chips) were able to complete the task faster and with fewer errors than those who performed a variable task (sorting differently colored chips). The researchers suggested that this was due to the fact that people were able to develop a consistent strategy for the consistent task, whereas the variable task required constant adaptation and adjustment.
Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that people who performed a repetitive task (entering numbers into a spreadsheet) were able to complete the task more quickly and accurately than those who performed a varied task (entering numbers and letters into a spreadsheet). The researchers suggested that this was due to the fact that people were able to develop a consistent mental representation of the repetitive task, whereas the varied task required constant switching between different mental representations.
Overall, these studies suggest that consistent or repetitive tasks can be completed more quickly and efficiently than inconsistent or varied tasks. However, it is important to note that there may be other factors at play, such as motivation and engagement, that can also impact productivity and task performance.
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