You’ve probably heard people say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That’s not actually the definition — Merriam Webster defines insanity as “extreme folly or unreasonableness; something utterly foolish or unreasonable” — but the point is well taken that doing something that hasn’t worked in the past is unlikely to suddenly start working in the future.
If you’ve been doing the same things forever and you need to find ways to improve, you have to make adjustments to your workflows. The good news is that improving efficiency doesn’t require drastic changes most of the time. In fact, some simple tweaks can help a lot.
1: Verify insurance coverage, then verify again.
Insurance verification should be the first step you take after a patient schedules an appointment, but just once isn’t enough. Check again the day before the patient is scheduled to confirm they still have the same coverage. Run a batch report of your appointments at the end of the day, and use a practice management software that will automate verifications to avoid adding more work for your staff. Skipping this step can lead to much larger issues later if you have claims denied and your billing staff has to track down updated insurance information to resubmit a claim.
2: Send out automated appointment reminders.
No-show appointments can hurt your revenue by leaving gaps in your schedule, but calling each patient and reminding them about upcoming appointments is not an effective use of your staff’s time. Instead, use a combination of text messages, emails, and phone calls if necessary (when a patient doesn’t have a cell phone or email) with an automated system to reduce no-shows and keep your schedule full.
3: Promote & use your patient portal.
Patient portals offer a lot of opportunities for clinics to reduce inefficient workflows by eliminating manual tasks and phone calls for you and your staff. You can:
- Notify patients of normal lab results without playing phone tag
- Get medication refill requests, approve them, and send them to the pharmacy
- Send and receive quick messages from patients instead of filling your schedule with appointments for things that could be easily done over secure messaging
- Offer online bill pay and invoicing to increase total collections
Clinics need to promote the use of portals and make sure each patient is signed up. You can automatically sign them up at the time of their first appointment to make it even easier.
4: Use an integrated practice management software system.
Using a practice management software that is fully integrated with your scheduling, EHR, and medical billing can reduce manual data transfer. Not only does that free up your staff for more time to work with patients, but it also reduces errors in data entry that could lead to gaps in a patient’s medical record or errors in billing that slow down your ability to collect.
To find out more about how easy it is to take these steps in your small or independent practice, talk to AdvancedMD today.