It seems like just yesterday we were talking about last year's successes and making plans for 2016. Somehow, 12 months came and went, and here we are at the beginning of another new year!
Naturally, great medical RCM and financial leaders have likely been in budget and forecasting modes for the past weeks or months, so the changes that may come with the approaching new year aren't likely going to be a huge surprise to your practice. That said, it's not always about balance sheets and income statements if you're trying to set your medical practice up for a successful future. (Although, well-thought-out goals will absolutely facilitate financial happiness for your healthcare organization.)
Sometimes, you have to think beyond everyday tasks and existing workflows to see the bigger picture and improve existing processes. Here are a few medical billing resolutions for the new year that will help you ring in a prosperous 2017:
Gone are the days when you can invoice non-specific bills and expect them not to be questioned. Besides the fact that this is simply bad business, the trend toward value-based healthcare simply won't allow it. In today's medical economy, you need to be as transparent as possible. While much of this transparency resides in the role of educating patients about their individual health plans, wise leaders are putting strategies in place to implement preventative measures to patient misunderstandings. This process begins with dedicated team members who contact the insurance payers beforehand to acquire the information necessary to complete their patients' educational processes.
As reported in an interview conducted by healthleadersmedia.com, "There is a lot of regulatory pressure around price transparency..." For leaders of medical organizations, it's all about investing in technology "... to create transparency from a defensibility perspective as well as a market equilibrium perspective."
As part of the educational process, patients should be apprised of their benefits, co-pay, and potential costs at the onset of each visit. Administrative staff members should be trained to obtain relevant information from the moment an appointment is made. By understanding patients' obligations upfront, team members can more readily help them understand what may be required of them after the visit.
Physicians also hold a responsibility in communicating with administrative staff and patients to ensure all information is driven down the pipeline correctly.
If you're sending your invoices solely via the U.S. Postal Service, you're undoubtedly harming the bottom line of your practice's revenue cycle management. Today's patients are technologically savvy with high expectations revolving around convenience, paperless processes, and 24-hour options. Not to mention, many patients carry plastic, not paper checks.
To expedite the possibility of payment, open your practice to the possibility of expanded payment options. "[P]atients [are] now responsible for approximately 25-30 percent of all healthcare revenue," which means it is imperative that your office offer payment methods that speak to the masses. IVR systems are helpful, but today's patients are really looking for more convenient payment methods, such as patient portals and mobile apps.
Medical technology is here, and it can do amazing things for your organization. Patient portals, mobile apps, and self-check-in stations can do phenomenal things to facilitate growth in your organization by boosting engagement of patients and administrative staff alike. For example, self-check-in stations, such as kiosks and tablets, enable administrative staff members to accomplish more by freeing up their time from tedious registration paperwork. Technology also takes the pressure off of team members, as it reduces human errors and puts the onus of accurate information on the patients. Patients appreciate the fact that they don't have to stand in line and have control of their check-in processes. All in all, patient-friendly technology is a win-win.
Nobody ever said companies can't make new year's resolutions, too. In fact, they absolutely should! With patient-centric practices on the rise, you'll do your medical practice a great service by establishing medical billing resolutions that will improve the patient experience while making things easier for your physicians and the members of your administrative teams. When you put a great plan in place, you'll find that all of these medical billing resolutions go hand-in-hand.