Kelli Turner | March 8, 2018

10 Ways to Improve Efficiency [& Start Saving Money] Today!

Do you struggle trying to improve operational efficiencies within your EMS or Fire agency? Are you driven by trying to squeeze every dollar out of each new investment in technology? ZOLL has been focused on improving efficiency for decades. Here are some areas of your business you can evaluate and see if you are losing some money and by fixing them, you can improve efficiencies and start saving money today.

 

  1. Schedule Smarter. Scheduling is an area that takes up a large portion of operating costs. Many organizations schedule based on availability, which isn’t necessarily the smart choice when it comes to your bottom line. Did you know that by scheduling a staff member who is just $1 less than any available crew member, you can save around $100 per shift/week? Now multiply that by 52 and you can save $5,200 over a year’s time. Also, if you cut the number of shifts with overtime in half, you cans save money. Suppose you have 14 shifts per week and four of them include overtime costs, if you reduce the amount of shifts with overtime from four to one, you can save more than $8,000 per month. Use a basic cost saving calculator to see how much you could start saving today.

 

  1. No Patient Care Report (PCR) Means No Bill. Ensure the value of your services isn’t lost in the field along with your paper care forms. With all the technology available today, there is no reason that all EMS providers can’t record patient care data electronically. There are solutions to fit all budgets including apps for Smartphones. On average Medicaid pays out $400 per claim. If you have 150 denied claims or missing reports per year, you would miss out on $60,000… ouch.

 

  1. Ensure Accurate & Complete PCRs to Avoid Denied Claims. Incomplete reports that lead to denied claims is a reoccurring theme. Whether your organization uses paper PCRs or electronic PCRs (ePCR), you should evaluate your patient care reporting process to see how efficient it is when it comes to complete reports. If you spend too much time tracking down the right information, you are losing money in the form of man hours. ePCR software helps with reducing data entry and eliminates the ineligible paper report issues. Some software solutions take it a step further and allow you to set up rules so that the medic can't close out a report until it is fully complete.

 

  1. Comply with All the Latest Medicare/Medicaid Rules. If you are using a billing clearinghouse, they will provide this function, but if you handle your billing in-house, make sure that you are up to date on the many rules associated with billing claims. Most software providers have expertise in this area so choose one who will make sure you’re complying with the latest rules. Denied claims mean lost revenue.

 

Learn How to Streamline Your Billing Processes

 

  1. Don’t Short Change Your Services. Many agencies tend to short change themselves or services. When asked the anticipated time expected for a service, there is a tendency to lowball. Make sure you have a checks/balances process in place to monitor and track trips to ensure that you are accurately billing for all loaded mileage and that time stamps are correct. If you are reimbursed $7 per mile for a trip, and you short change yourself three miles for that outing, because of incorrect time stamps, you could lose $21 of revenue. Avoid this financial loss by using a software or process that accurately tracks mileage and time.

 

  1. Are You Over Staffing Certain Areas & Understaffing Others? Certain geographic areas and times during the day have increased call volumes. By using historical data you can staff for appropriate call demand and eliminate areas of the schedule where staffing is higher than demand. Overstaffing costs money. Accurate staffing saves money.

 

  1. Lower Insurance Rates. Maybe now is the time to crack down on risky driving? Are your insurance rates high? What about tickets or fender benders? Implement an insurance-approved driver safety program to reduce insurance rates. Reducing your insurance rates by $500 per month will generate $6,000 over a year.

 Learn How Road Safety Helps Increase Safe Driving

 

  1. Routine Maintenance or Burning through Brake Pads? This goes hand-in-hand with your driver behavior. If your drivers tend to be aggressive, the wear and tear on your vehicles is suffering. Fast acceleration, hard braking, taking corners too fast – all takes a big toll on maintenance. By implementing a driver safety program you can dramatically reduce maintenance costs associated with your fleet. If you saved $1,000 a year per on vehicle maintenance and you had a fleet of 10 units, you would save up to $10,000 on basic maintenance fees in just one year.

 

  1. Do More with Less. How many times have we all heard that? By automating processes it's possible to be more lean and efficient. Fire inspections for example, if you have a manual process in place and you can only complete 10 inspections per week because of the time associated with manual paperwork and other administration tasks. Consider automating the process, which will allow you to perform more inspections and lower the amount of paperwork associated with the service.

 

  1. Embrace Technology. Streamline your office with automations that ensure your staff aren’t wasting valuable time on simple and repeatable tasks that software solutions can perform faster and more effectively. This can free up staff to focus on other areas of the business... and allow you to grow.

*This article was originally published in June 2013

 

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More About the Author:

Kelli Turner

Kelli Turner is the Director of Marketing Communications for ZOLL’s Data Division. She began her public safety career in 2001 as Communication, Public Affairs and Education Manager for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, before joining ZOLL in 2006. Prior to ZOLL, Kelli served on multiple statewide task forces, was a member of the Joint Information Center Public Affairs team, and received numerous awards for her efforts in public outreach. Currently, Kelli focuses on helping Fire and EMS agencies utilize their data to make smart business decisions through educational efforts like ZOLL’s annual user conference (SUMMIT), educational webinars, and the ZOLL Blog.