Unlike most organizations, emergency medical services (EMS) providers are directly in the business of saving lives. However, like any other operation, ambulance and crew availability, as well as finances, have a very real impact on their ability to deliver emergency services and save lives.
If you’re interested in running a more efficient EMS organization, here are a few key areas you may want to optimize:
1.) Report Generation
Generating quality reports is a necessity for EMS providers because good reports can give a true and timely picture of how resources are being used. Poor or slow reporting can lead to data blindness, which, in turn, could decrease service quality levels.
Using a modern and efficient EMS reporting software can solve most of these issues by allowing EMS organizations to quickly generate insightful and actionable reports that can then be used to streamline internal processes.
These reports include utilization reports and scheduling reports, which allows staff to save lives in the most efficient manner.
2.) Ambulance Availability
Underutilized ambulances and empty ambulance rides can result in serious losses for EMS providers over time. Not only does it eat into the organization’s profits, these assets continue to require maintenance and fuel regardless of whether they’re carrying patients or not.
Thankfully, this can now be mostly avoided, thanks to integrated trip schedulers which can notify EMS providers of the loaded or unloaded states of their ambulances in real-time.
Using these solutions can dramatically minimize the incidents of empty rides and effectively increase the number of patients served without the need to acquire additional ambulances.
Some integrated trip schedulers also offer other features that increase trip availability, including AI and machine learning features that optimize route efficiency.
3.) Workflow Efficiency
EMS providers have to follow several protocols to ensure the delivery of safe pre-hospitalization healthcare. However, workflows tend to expand and become more and more convoluted over time, particularly if the processes are not periodically reviewed to remove unnecessary steps.
If the staff has a lot of idle time or has problems prioritizing different tasks, this could be a sign that there are improvements that have to be made in the organization’s day-to-day processes.
The solution, in most cases, is unintuitive. Additional documentation of current workflows may have to be done for a period of time, temporarily increasing the amount of paperwork but laying the foundation for efficiency later.
From there, managers can see which processes have to be adjusted or changed. Effective prioritization becomes possible and automatic scheduling and notifications can be implemented so no one has to worry about what to do next.
Documentation also enables the organization to use workflow management software effectively, removing the need to micromanage, reducing wasted time, and allowing maximum staff availability.
4.) Outdated Billing Processes
Traditional billing processes for EMS tend to require a substantial amount of paperwork, most of which has to be manually processed. This means that errors are unavoidable, particularly given the hectic nature of EMS.
Additionally, a lot of billing, insurer, and patient data that needs to be cross-referenced is often siloed in disparate systems that do not automatically integrate with each other.
This translates to more manual labor to reconcile all the data, which further results in more delays, errors, and potential losses.Using a modernized billing system designed for EMS providers can remove virtually all of these hiccups in the billing process, allowing for better data transparency, more accuracy, shorter delays, and higher staff availability.
All in all, this will result in better efficiency and cash flow without the EMS provider having to raise service rates.
5) Underutilized Equipment Warranties
A lot of the equipment used by EMS providers enjoy some kind of warranty coverage from the vendor or manufacturer. Unfortunately, this coverage is often underutilized because of non-existent tracking system, which results in unnecessary maintenance and replacement expenses as well as unneeded write-offs of lifesaving equipment. Luckily, most developers of EMS software have realized this need, and there are some excellent solutions on the market today that manage cash-saving warranty information.
6.) Communicating with Insurance Providers
Miscommunication with insurers can sometimes cause costly errors. Using EMS software that integrates with insurance providers’ systems can remove most of these problems.
This software can share accurate information with insurers, which removes the chance that the information will be sent to the wrong insurer and allows for timelier cashflows.
7.) Outdated Equipment Management
EMS services have to maintain a lot of complicated assets, including ambulances, field monitors, medical devices, medications, computers, and much more. Given the fast pace of work, it can be all too easy to forget scheduled maintenance and necessary asset replacements.
This will not only make the job harder down the line but it will also put lives at risk when equipment malfunctions during an emergency.
Of course, forgetting to do these will also increase maintenance costs and reduce asset availability, which will cause the provider to bleed out funds.
Using fleet management software designed for EMS can help providers save money by ensuring they never miss a scheduled maintenance and replacement. Having this software on hand will not only help reduce breakdowns, but it may be key to keeping lifesaving assets functioning for many more years and getting a positive return on investment.
EMS providers will find it harder to meet required service levels if they have problems with their cash flow. While it may be tempting to focus on improving collections, most EMS providers should look at implementing internal efficiency improvements first because they will boost cash flow, efficiency, and service availability.