You spend a lot of time as a healthcare provider worrying about the health of your patients. If you run a small or independent practice, you probably also spend a significant amount of time worrying about the health of your practice overall, and the first place to start when it comes to evaluating practice health is to check how well your revenue cycle is working. Here are some ways you can improve the health of your revenue cycle.
One of the first and most important things you can do to improve the health of your revenue cycle is streamline the exchange of information. That means integrating your EHR with your medical practice management software, so information is immediately accessible by your billing staff or your medical billing service when a patient’s appointment is complete. Integrated systems also reduce the chance of errors in the process, limiting denied claims or billing errors that can significantly slow down your ability to collect on outstanding accounts.
Automating the Process
Reducing claims denials starts with your process to check insurance eligibility and get pre-approvals before the patient arrives for an appointment. Having the right practice management software system and creating workflows to check this information in advance ensures that any errors can be addressed early on and the claims will go through on the first submission.
Efficient Use of Data
As practices implement more technology, there is greater opportunity to collect and use data to your advantage. Reviewing your data regularly, and comparing it to industry benchmarks, can help you see if your practice is above, at, or below average for key metrics such as:
- Days in A/R
- Collection as a percent of net patient services revenue
- Claim denial rates
- Final denial (bad debt) write-offs
- Cost to collect
Then you can use this information to improve your revenue cycle. For example, if you’re only collecting 60% of billed charges and the industry average is 80%, you are missing out on a significant amount of revenue. Once you identify where you are lagging, you can figure out why and take steps to address the problem.
Outsourcing vs In-House Billing Services
Sometimes for smaller or independent practices, you may know that you have a problem with your revenue cycle, but you don’t have the resources of the time to address it. In that case, the best option may be to outsource your billing services. Outsourced medical billing can provide you with a lot of benefits, including:
- Experienced and highly trained medical billing staff
- Lower rates of initial claims denials
- Understanding of claims denial and appeals processes
- Higher collection rates as a percent of net patient services revenue
- Follow-up with patients and payers to improve collection rates
- Overall reduction for days in A/R before collection