You want to deliver the highest quality care and still thrive as a profitable business. Integrating physician and patient tasks and workflow via technology is the first step toward improved office productivity and accelerated payment. Consider these tips:
1. Review tasks and workflows of clinicians and staff in your front and back office. How do patients move through and experience the practice? How well does the practice gather, store, and recover clinical, business and financial information?
Have you adopted the electronic health record (EHR) and electronic scheduling and practice management systems to automate the tasks or does your staff spend a lot of time making copies, faxing information to other providers and doing paperwork filing? Do you have an option to schedule a few extra revenue-generating appointments each day as you manage waitlists, search for appointment openings or set recurring appointments? Do you use cloud technology so that you and your staff you can access and manage your schedule from any location?
2. Take on the front and back office. You can free up front office staff time and streamline workflow through one of two front-office options:
- Invite patients to complete forms via a secure patient portal prior to their appointment, or
- Offer patients iPads to complete forms once they’ve checked in at the practice
And don’t forget the back office! Turn to cloud-based services that allow staff to review charts or renew prescriptions securely from a laptop or mobile device.
3. Don’t compromise on system integration. A technology system able to deliver a comprehensive integrated physician and patient workflow will have the maximum impact on your practice’s bottom line and patient health and satisfaction. Such a system would include an EHR, mobile and cloud applications and full integration with scheduling and billing systems. The benefits include a streamlined workflow, more holistic views of patients and secure exchange of patient health information (PHI) with hospitals, labs, imaging centers, immunization registries, pharmacies and HIEs.
Additionally, managing your claims in a single location will optimize billing and accelerate payment. Look for systems that allow the practice to generate worklists, track claims status, centralize billing for multiple providers and sites, and scrub claims for errors before submission to payers. The result could be a first-pass claims acceptance rate of close to 100 percent.
4. Abandon paper. Steer clear of paper-based payment systems and the time-wasting challenges of incomplete, error-filled charge slips. Instead, invest in technology that allows charges to automatically flow from the EHR into a system that initiates billing immediately after a patient encounter—without the burden of double data entry.
The bottom line
Automating as many front and back office and billing tasks as possible and achieving integrated workflow will improve office productivity, accelerate payment, and leave more time for patient care. The future of private practice technology is not an awkwardly connected EHR, practice management and patient engagement tools but a single, cloud-based solution that delivers a seamless workflow to enhance the patient experience, improve care quality and ensure the ongoing financial success of your practice.