VA could save $1.6B by balancing patient-provider ratio

According to a new study from Lightning Bolt, providers of automated physician scheduling, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) could save $1.6 billion annually if the organization could balance patient and physician volumes.

The study compared patient and physician volumes from Kaiser Permanente and the VA to evaluate the ratio between the two organizations. At Kaiser Permanente, there were 554 patients per physician, a 55 percent higher ratio then the 356 patients per physician at the VA.

While the two organizations are similar in size, the VA sees a significantly fewer patients a day. If the VA were able to balance the patient-provider ratio, the study estimates the VA health system could save $1.6 billion annually. The savings could then be used to increase the VA physician’s salaries to reach the national average, bringing in more talent and reducing turnovers, while still saving over $400 million a year.

“To catch up to Kaiser Permanente, the VA can start by using AI technology to optimize physician work schedules,” said Suvas Vajracharya, PhD, CEO of Lightning Bolt Solutions. “Patient access technology now allows health systems to match the right patient, to the right provider, at the right time—more efficiently using physician clinical expertise and reducing patient wait times.”