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Ask the Expert: Quantifying the Benefits

Q: Can you quantify the benefits of SMAs?

A: Yes!  There are clear benefits to SMAs in the areas of operational efficiency, financial results, and quality metrics when they are implemented effectively.  The benefit calculator on this website will help you quantify them for your specific situation.  I’ll touch on a few examples here.

Physician Productivity

If a physician consistently sees 10 patients during a 90 minute SMA, she will increase productivity by over 100%.  How?  She would see a maximum of 6 patients in 15-minute appointments during that same 90 minutes, but more likely only 4.8 patients on average with a 20% no show/late cancellation rate.  That’s 5.2 more patients (10 in the SMA – 4.8 normally) for a 108% increase in productivity (5.2/4.8 = 108%).  At a frequency of once a month or even better once a week, that can have a huge impact on access issues and practice profitability.


Appointment Backlog

If a physician does a SMA for physicals, he can readily do 6 or more within the 90-minute timeframe and have time to respond to all questions from the participants.  If his normal time for a complete physical is 30 minutes and he has a 60-day appointment backlog, he should be able to reduce his backlog by over 30% to 41 days if he does 1 physical SMA per week.  If he can do 8 physicals instead of 6 during the 90 minutes, his backlog should drop by 48% to 31 days.

SMA Contribution

The increase in physician productivity more than covers the variable costs of conducting a shared medical appointment.  Those variable costs may include the time of extra personnel such as a facilitator and a documenter/scribe and miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses for food and written materials.  Let’s say a medical practice introduces 3 shared medical appointments, each offered once a week, with an average census of 12.  If the typical regular appointment length is 15 minutes with a per visit fee of $150, the medical practice will generate an additional contribution or profit of $128,000 per year. That’s over 80% of the extra revenue collected.

If you want to try your own scenarios, try out our value calculator.