BEI Commentary: There are many ways to use technology to improve business processes and workflows. Collecting your money is one of them!
With all of the changes that practices have instituted, practices generally are only collecting 30 percent of the 30 percent that is responsible by the patient. I never knew there was something magical about 30 percent until now! So, how does a practice increase their percentage of collection? Two words: USE TECHNOLOGY. Technology is actually not a bad word. I’ve seen many practices feel that if the Internet is available, the employees will surf the web instead of working. Since there is technology available to limit where anyone can go, this is really not the issue it may have been many years ago.
There is technology available to log onto different insurance company websites providing a close approximation of what the patient share will be. Or, you can use even better technology and have one software product that will do that for you with all insurances that are capable of this type of electronic transaction. Then you know exactly how much to charge the patient while they are still standing in front of you. As we all know, it is easier to collect while they are still there versus after the visit when they forgot how much they needed your services! Here is where training front desk staff on how to be professional, firm, and soundly patient-centric is of paramount importance. I really can’t stress enough how important that “first person that meets the patient and the last person they see before they leave” is. Your practice can literally thrive or decline on that one person, alone. Read More
BEI Commentary: There are plenty of opportunities to use EHRs, PMs and Patient Portals to improve productivity in your office. And there are things that you can do that do not rely upon technology. The following article gives a good overview of how you can accomplish a lot with minimal effort.
Mastering the ins and outs of patient flow is a delicate balance, but it can be done with a little forethought.
When it comes to managing patient flow, most practices could take a few cues from the House of Mouse. Despite the tens of thousands of visitors who flock to Disney World on a daily basis, the world’s most popular theme park is uniquely adept at funneling patrons into the gate, through the elaborate maze of rides, and past the parade route with nary a bottleneck in sight. “You have to think about your practice as if it were a ride at Disney World,” suggests Murray Cote, associate professor and director at Texas A&M’s Health Science Center. “They’re very deliberate about where you go in and where you go out. You have a clear point of entry, they move you through the line where they provide entertainment while you wait, and they dump you out at the end. The people coming in never see the people going out.” A similar efficiency should be the goal of every private practice, he says. Read More
BEI Commentary: While a portal is not the only method of communication to patients (nor should it be), it can be very effective. Here is some good information from a physician who has thought a lot about provider – patient communications.
Our practice is constantly striving to meet and exceed our patients’ expectations on a daily basis. One aspect of our care that patients continuously rave about is the communication they receive from our office.
Let’s face it folks, if we cannot effectively communicate with our patients, the years and years of reading, studying, residency training, etc. is all for nothing. For new patient visits to our office, I routinely poll them as to why they decided to change the location for their care. I would say that nine out of 10 patients say that their last doctor(s) just did not give them the opportunity to ask questions, did not contact them regarding test results, and so on. Read More
BEI Commentary: Everyone one should have their HIPAA security policies in place. Even for phones. Do you?
Behind every cool gadget and mammoth-size EHR system, HIPAA looms like a large sleeping animal. One false move by a provider (for example, sending an unsecured e-mail) will awaken the beast and potentially unleash dire consequences.
The consequences of data breaches are becoming even more obvious these days to practices now that a growing number of providers are adopting various sorts of mobile technology.
Just the other day, in fact, I listened to a “how-to” webinar on mobile devices and HIPAA compliance, co-sponsored by HIMSS and BoxTone, which makes mobile device management technology. Even though the broadcast mainly focused more on how enterprise-size healthcare organizations can deploy large-scale IT security solutions, the topic of mobile devices and HIPAA does raise some important — and still largely unaddressed — questions for small practices. Read More
BEI Commentary: Perhaps the most important parts of installing an EHR: expectations and planning.
It is not uncommon to read commentaries from healthcare thought leaders about healthcare IT projects that fail, either failing to meet objectives, failing to come in on time/on budget, or failing entirely. Within the provider community there seems to be an abundance of anecdotal stories of EHR and other technology failures. Some of these stories are perpetuated by the EHR software vendors themselves. Right after a practice has had a very promising demo from software vendor A, software vendor B comes in and says, righteously, “Oh, we just deinstalled system A in a practice. It was a disaster but now they are very happy.”
These stories, some no doubt real and some perhaps not, tend to stir up angst about healthcare IT projects in general and EHRs in particular. Read More
Having an old website is worse than having no website. While you may be missing out on the best marketing opportunity of your life by having no website, an old online presence is just not sitting there doing nothing — it’s eroding your referral sources and turning away potential new patients.
Referral patterns are tough to break and probably have not changed. The same doctors and referral sources, even if just word of mouth, are getting you the same attention as before, but patient behavior has changed. Read More
After months of preparation, family physician Douglas Foreman was one of thousands of physicians to go online today and make his case to CMS that he was in fact achieving “meaningful use” of his EHR.
While Medicaid incentive checks began arriving at practices earlier this year, CMS opened its attestation phase for Medicare payments today (April 18) for physicians and hospitals to prove that they have met the core and additional requirements of Stage One meaningful use. Doing so can result in federal reimbursements of $18,000 this year and up to $44,000 over a five-year period under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The overall goal is to get physicians and hospitals to use EHRs to better track their patients’ care. Read More
What is your biggest HIPAA Security threat? Is it some social misfit working in his mom’s basement (ala “Wolfman” in the movie, “Live Free or Die Hard”), or small armies of hackers working in Chechnya or Malaysia or Mumbai? No, it’s your business and/or clinical staff, going about their normal, day-to-day functions.
A recent report from the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) shows that the biggest cause of HIPAA data breaches is theft and loss of laptops and other portable media, not hackers. The perps are most likely not after the health data, they are after the devices themselves, and your staff unfortunately makes it relatively easy for them to gain access to the critical HIPAA data just came along for the ride. Read More