SPONSORED CONTENT by Lindsay Bennett, COO, Ravin Consultants
Many organizations take a siloed approach to 340B. If you’re treating your 340B program as strictly a pharmacy program, you’re probably missing out on savings. The reality is that 340B performance is inextricably linked to other areas of operations. Operational workflows, financial reporting, and human resources procedures can profoundly impact 340B savings. Ravin Consultants has outlined several “operational hacks” that Covered Entities can deploy, today, to maximize their 340B savings.
Phones: The Gateway to Your Clinic
To grow your clinic, and maximize 340B savings, patients must be able to pass through the “gateways” to your clinics instantly, with minimal friction. Yet many patients find it difficult to squeeze through the main gateway: the phones. Put simply, patient access problems result in the loss of potential 340B-qualified patients and the related savings.
By staffing your phones based on actual patient demand, you ensure that patients are not deflected by busy phone lines, voice mail, or long hold times. If new patients wanting to schedule are ending up in voicemail, chances are that your clinic is losing valuable business.
Make sure your scheduling team prioritizes revenue generating calls. If new patients must compete with vendors and other callers, your organization is likely losing new business. Calls for refills, medical records, and other types of requests can be routed away from schedulers by using online forms and offering other ways to communicate with the practice.
What do your callers hear when they are on hold? Instead of playing music during hold times, consider recording promotions. Hold times can be an opportunity to promote pharmacy services, program participation, and other services available.
Alternatives to Phone Calls
How many of your day-to-day interactions are by phone, versus text message, email, or other means of communication?
Imagine someone who is nervous about their HIV status. It’s late at night, and they have to be at work at 8:00 A.M. the next morning. This potential patient does not want to wait for a clinic to open, just to get a busy signal or wait on hold. Covered entities that allow online self-registration and scheduling have a competitive advantage over those that do not. By offering alternatives to the phone, they can book new patients 24/7, even when the clinic is closed.
Utilization of EMR/PM Systems
Few organizations use their EMRs optimally. Many fail to take advantage of all the features. Some commonly underutilized EMR features which can be harnessed to increase 340B savings include:
- Automated lab reminders. Labs are often essential to keeping patients on their 340B drug regimen.
- Reports. Clinics often fail to use the reports available to them. For example, “no show” reports can help you identify opportunities for targeted outreach to patients who are at risk of falling out of care. Report writers in the EMR can help your team develop reports to see which pharmacies patients are utilizing, to help identify potential contract pharmacy partners.
- After visit summaries. These can be a good way to promote medication adherence and provide education about risky behaviors.
Meeting Customer Expectations
Organizations that cling to an outdated, paternalistic approach to healthcare will lose patients—including 340B eligible patients. The consumerism trends outside of healthcare have reshaped patient expectations. 340B clinics now compete with nontraditional providers, such as CVS and Walgreens retail clinics, online providers such as Plushcare and NuRx, and urgent care centers.
Covered entities should take a hard look at their competitiveness in terms of convenience and accessibility. Are you offering weekend or walk-in appointments? Can patients self-schedule online? Can they get a same-day prescription? If not, how could your covered entity reconfigure operations to be more competitive?
A Covered Entity’s approach to Human Resources can also impact its 340B success. Onboarding and orientation programs play an important role in ensuring 340B compliance. If all team members understand the program and its benefits, chances are your team will do a better job promoting the program and qualifying 340B patients.
Scripting is another valuable tool to standardize—and optimize—the communications various team members have with potential 340B patients, in order to maximize participation.
Managing Your 340B KPIs
Regular, timely visibility into 340B key performance indicators (KPIs) provides insights which can be used to enhance savings. For example, KPIs can include:
- Capture rate
- Participation rate
- Provider productivity
- Medication adherence
Covered entities also use reporting to compare multiple clinics, or view performance trends. By eliminating wasted time on manual processes with long lag times, and implementing 340B dashboard reporting, organizations can increase their savings.
From the patient’s first contact with your practice, to the collection of claims, there are opportunities to maximize your 340B savings by optimizing workflows and processes across multiple departments.