Shared Appointments Improve Census, Profit in Dermatology

More benefit seen with shared appointments for dermatology than for other specialties

TUESDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- In dermatology practices, shared medical appointments (SMAs) can increase patient access and productivity and be financially profitable, according to research published in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Tivon Sidorsky, of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., and colleagues conducted a cost-benefit analysis of SMAs in dermatology and determined the hourly adjusted census levels and profit differences between SMAs and mean provider census (MPC) for regular clinic appointments. They also compared the economic viability of dermatology SMAs with those in other medical fields.

The researchers found that the mean hourly census levels and profits for individual and departmental SMAs were significantly greater than the respective non-SMA MPC of the health care provider leading the SMA. In comparisons between SMAs and MPC for regular clinic appointments, all dermatology SMAs generated larger differences in hourly adjusted census levels and profit than the respective measures in all the other departments.

"The problem of exceedingly long wait times to schedule an appointment, stemming from limited availability of dermatologists nationwide, requires that access to dermatologic care be improved. Indeed, the study of SMAs in dermatology demonstrates that access, patient care, and the economic bottom line are by no means antithetical; SMAs may be a powerful tool to simultaneously improve each of these important measures," the authors write.

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