For decades, every commercial air traveler was asked two standard questions:
- “Has your luggage been in your possession at all times?”
- “Has anyone given you anything or asked you to carry on or check any items for them?”
Eventually, this stopped after billions of passengers kept saying no. I remember the airlines and/or the Transportation Security Administration stopped asking these questions because they required resources (employee time) without adding to security. I couldn’t find much documentation about this process, so if you find some, please leave a comment.
I wish my doctor’s office would adopt this strategy. I recently had to verify my insurance information and identity three times for a simple doctor’s appointment:
- when making my appointment,
- upon check-in for my appointment,
- with the nurse who took my vitals during my visit,
I realize that my identity needs to be verified at each appointment to insure that my healthcare provider is treating the right person. However, most of the effort seems to be redundant checks to ensure that my insurance information is correct to facilitate billing.
The National Academies released a report entitled The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes: Workshop Series Summary. The chapter entitled “Excess Administrative Costs” starts as follows.
Administrative costs in the United States consumed an estimated $156 billion in 2007, with projections to reach $315 billion by 2018 (Collins et al., 2009). With the time, costs, and personnel necessary to process billing and insurance-related (BIR) activities from contracting to payment validation on the provider side and the needs of payers to process claims and credential providers, significant redundancy and inefficiency arises from healthcare administration.
The recommendations don’t specifically mention that my service provider should not ask me if my insurance has changed three times or more for each visit, but it’s definitely consistent with the part about “significant redundancy.”
I don’t have the solution. I am just pointing out that the healthcare industry seems to be slower in fixing its inefficiencies than other industries. If you have the solution, let me know.
What are other opportunities for improvement in healthcare operations?